There's Just Not an App for That

We get it: Apps are hip. But they also run on cell phones that can barely make calls--much less find where we are, track our spending or run our day-to-day ops. Here's a list of apps not yet ready for small-business prime time.
3 min read

This story appears in the June 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Navigation apps

What they're supposed to do: Get you and your team from Point A to Point B.

What they really do: Get you and your team utterly and completely lost.

Why they don't work: Because most map apps aren't maps at all--they're location-based media services based on stuff such as outdated phone book listings. Rely on them to get you to your pitch meeting, and you're likely to end up in the driveway of your VC's ex-wife's former roommate's place.

What to do instead: Cough up a mere $90 for a real portable GPS system from a legit nav outfit like Garmin or Magellan. Then you'll be able to find us to hand-deliver our thank-you note.


Banking and financial services apps

What they're supposed to do: Banish billing and collections to the virtual woodshed.

What they really do: Banish billing and collections from working with our horse-and-buggy banking system.

Why they don't work: Because most banks still think extending their Saturday hours is cutting edge. Just watch as the collision between your bank's IT department and your sexy app sends the invoices of Client A to the payables department of Competitor B, thus killing two customers with one glitch.

What to do instead: We're talking about your money. Manage it on a secure computer in an office you control. You'll sleep better.

Business process management apps

What they're supposed to do: Let you rule your business empire from the palm of your hand.

What they really do: Allow you to blow every piece of your business empire into oblivion (from the palm of your hand).

Why they don't work: Because trying to run the thousands of tasks and process all the data that make up your business from a screen smaller than a playing card could never be a good idea.

What to do instead: Leave Salesforce, Basecamp or Liquid Planner where they were designed to work. It's why the geeks created laptops.

Security apps
What they're supposed to do: Keep your mobile identity safe.

What they really do: Perpetuate the illusion that your mobile identity is safe.

Why they don't work: As cool as they may seem, modern digital security apps are a rat's nest of competing software and hardware. Unless you're smart about your digital identity, Sergei in Slovenia is going to be throwing one heck of a bat mitzvah on your dime.

What to do instead: Create passwords, keep them secure and change them from time to time. No app can beat that.

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