13 Business Productivity Apps for the Real-World Entrepreneur
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You're busy--you have a business to run, payroll to make, products to refine, innovations to ... well, innovate.
Marketing is what happens between all that--which is why it makes sense to get help from mobile applications that can simplify and organize your efforts. Here's a baker's dozen of my favorite supersmart business productivity and marketing apps for the real-world entrepreneur.
Do you know the 30/30 rule? If you're struggling to accomplish a difficult task, give it your full attention for 30 minutes, then take a 30-minute break to recover and refocus. The 30/30 app uses that rule to increase productivity by helping you organize and manage your tasks and timing so you stay on track.
Great for: writing content or copy, responding to e-mails or doing anything you tend to put off.
Sick of your jumbled iPhone calendar? An upgrade to your phone's built-in calendar, Cal offers an aesthetically pleasing interface with integrated functions that tie in your contacts and social media accounts.
Great for: keeping a packed schedule organized, without feeling overwhelmed.
Content overload isn't just a clich?; it's a real problem. Use Pocket to save interesting articles, videos and more from the web to read or watch later. Once saved to the app, the list of content is visible on any device, at any time--even when you're offline.
Great for: staying up to speed on news and industry issues. It also allows you to share an article you're reading on Pocket directly to Twitter, with no need to go back to the original link or to the Twitter app.
Buffer allows you to easily manage your social media accounts from one interface. Share news and links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ in real time, or use it to schedule tweets and retweets. It offers a nice analytics back-end, as well.
Great for: easily managing social profiles with an all-in-one interface (though I'm not really a fan of scheduled tweets).
Mention (free for one alert, $9.99 per month for two)
An alternative to Google Alerts, Mention ensures that you don't miss a thing on the web or social media. It tracks keywords and delivers instant updates to help you quickly react, collaborate and analyze your online presence in real time.
Great for: a robust view of who's talking about you or the things you care about.
This popular app is a way to capture and organize ideas, links and notes--like a virtual Moleskine. But unlike its paper brethren, Evernote syncs across your desktop and mobile devices to give you ready access to your stuff.
Great for: collecting things. A caveat: It's so easy to use that you might find yourself becoming a digital pack rat, with too much stuff. I've learned to resist the urge to save everything to Evernote.
Dropbox (free or subscription)
The ubiquitous collaboration and file-sharing tool, for both mobile and desktop.
Great for: moving large files around and sharing them within your own devices or with others on your team. Also great for keeping track of and accessing files.
Snap a photo of a business card, and CardMunch will turn it into a contact. Owned by LinkedIn, the service even adds the person's full profile, when possible.
Great for: networking, and it's especially handy for trade shows, when you're dealing with a large volume of business cards.
If you frequently find yourself needing to update Google Docs when you're away from your computer, give this app a go. GoDocs lets you sort, edit and upload new docs to your Google Drive from your phone.
Great for: convenience. This isn't a Google product, but it feels like one, because it allows for easy access and updating to any document, including spreadsheets.
I'm a big fan of Instagram as a way to tell your story. This app offers back-end data, aggregating Likes and Comments, as well as advanced analytics, to help guide your Instagram strategy.
Great for: performance insights into your Instagram accounts (it's the secret weapon for visual-content creators).
Analytics Pro 2 ($7.99)
The best mobile Google Analytics experience, Analytics Pro 2 has what you need to view data on the move, dividing reports into eight sections: summary, visitors, traffic sources, social, content, goals,
e-commerce and app tracking.
Great for: optimizing your site's performance. It may sound like a lot of information to absorb, but you'll revel in the richness.
GoToMeeting has allowed for virtual collaboration via desktop since forever. The app lets you do the same thing when you're on the go.
Great for: calling in to a meeting or webinar from an inconvenient location. I've even used it from the car.
Waze is the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Other drivers share real-time traffic and road info, crowdsourcing your commute.
Great for: road warriors. If you spend a lot of time on the road in unfamiliar cities, it's a lifesaver. And it's got you covered even on those days when your challenge is just finding the fastest route to the office.