When you’re running a business, you need to get things done no matter where you are. Say you’re onsite with a vendor and need to send a quick update to your team back at the office, or perhaps you bump into a potential client at Starbucks and want to make a compelling pitch on the fly.
Doing more on the go requires that you have the right tools available right when you need them. Luckily, your smartphone can serve as an excellent portable office, provided you have loaded it with the right tools to meet your needs. Here are five apps that will help you actually do work while on the go:
Email is the backbone of an organization, linking networks of people with the information they need to keep a business running. However, most mobile email apps focus on triage and deferral, forcing the user to tap out a short and barely adequate reply to a message that probably demands a concrete action. The app switching that is often required to actually compose or reply to an email (to access contacts, calendar, cloud storage, etc.) derails productivity and slows you down.
Acompli, a mobile email and calendar tool, streamlines mobile workflow, because replying to emails, attaching documents, looking up contacts and perusing your calendar are all accessible within the app. No switching required. Acompli also works with Microsoft Exchange, which is still the gold standard for corporate email: over half of business email accounts in 2014 are on Exchange.
Sending and receiving updated Word docs with nearly indecipherable, jumbled-together file names has become something of a rite of passage for the busy professional. Unfortunately, this practice fails on the efficiency front. Quip lets groups of people work together on the same document or spreadsheet in real time, and saves the hassle of crossed connections or miscommunication because it creates a chat thread around each document.
The conversation threads provide the context that is necessary when working with a group. Quip also sends push notifications that keep collaborators abreast of when and how their docs are changing, making Google Drive feel unsophisticated by comparison. You can also create a shared task list within each project so everyone stays on the same page.
Imagine a task so stressful that even getting paid after you complete it doesn’t allay your dread. This sums up many peoples’ relationship with expense reports.
Expensify streamlines the chore of reporting expenses by allowing you to scan receipts with your phone. Expensify automatically generates an expense from each receipt, and allows you to easily select which expense report each expense should go into. You can then use the app to submit your expense report to your company. Businesses can also use Expensify to keep track of their company expense policies, so employees will always have the guidelines at hand when creating expenses, freeing employees to do work instead of fretting over expense reports.
In its earliest incarnation, mobile was all about making calls from anywhere on the go. Talko hearkens back to this earlier era and allows a network of co-workers or collaborators to have voice conversations, whether live like a walkie-talkie, or in the form of recorded messages. Conversations are recorded and stored in the cloud and cached, so as to avoid old messages getting jumbled in with newer, more pressing ones. Voice communications are more personal than email, and better suited to conveying complex ideas and emotions, nuances which can get lost in email messages.
A good presentation should tell a compelling story, but PowerPoint often falls short. Presentation software Prezi puts all others to shame, allowing you to create beautiful, compelling and engaging stories. While you can’t create a Prezi using the smartphone app, you can build presentations using the Prezi iPad app, and use the smartphone app to access all of your presentations or ones that others have shared with you.
The Prezi team has gone to great lengths to optimize Prezi for mobile, so while they might not have quite the impact of a Prezi thrown up on a projector, they still look great. You can take them everywhere, whether you want to practice for a big talk or if you want show off your business to anyone, anywhere.
These tools won’t run your business for you, but they will make it easier to get more done while away from your desk. They could even make the difference between a new partnership and a missed opportunity.