The mobile Internet has completely revolutionised the global economy. And now that 4G is making its way across India, and tariffs are lower than ever before, things are only going to get better for the many startups and small scale industries around. It’s never been easier to start your own venture, and it’s never been easier to be mobile while doing so. The entrepreneurial spirit can’t be bogged down, so why restrict how you work? Here are a few must-have apps for entrepreneurs that work from home or on the go:
Smartphones first started off as Personal Information Managers – by today’s standards, these look like clunky, outdated devices that were super-expensive and eventually limited in what they could do. But the premise behind PIMs is what lies behind the modern smartphone, and is exactly what makes Evernote such a fantastic app for startups, small businesses, and professionals alike. Use the free version, or spring up for a premium plan, but once you start using Evernote, you’re hooked. Why’s that? Simple, Evernote, just like the PIMs of yore – can be the one app where most of your work’s done. It makes it easy to import and export information to other apps, works as a word processor, and as a repository of business data. Store info on clients and vendors, work together with colleagues on that fantastic new business plan that’s going to lead to the next big app, and even use it as a lightweight project management app!
When you’re always on the go and work pretty much out of anywhere your laptop and phone can get online, it can be frustrating to deal with the ‘old economy’. Yeah, even with computers being everywhere, paper still rules in most places. So even if you’ve done all you can to set up a mobile office that doesn’t restrict you to one place, you might find yourself dealing with paper and pen – the old way! DocuSign can help resolve some of this at least – this electronic signature app, referred to by its maker as a ‘Digital Transaction Management’ tool, enables modern entrepreneurs like you to sign official documents without having to go anywhere near your office. On the way for a vital meeting in Mumbai and a pending invoice back in Delhi needs your signature. Now you don’t need to wait. Docusign is available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone – and best of all, adheres to the requirements laid down by the Indian Information Technology Act.
Microsoft Office is expensive and when it comes to buying a few licenses for a small startup or small scale enterprise, the costs can be prohibitive. On the other hand, piracy isn’t just ethically and legally wrong, but it can put your data at risk of malware and viruses.
Google Docs and Google Drive offer a solution to this conundrum. Sign up for the Google Apps service for your business and all your employees won’t just get proper email addresses that include your business’s domain name, but will also get access to Drive and Docs. Store data on Google’s servers for complete peace of mind, create and edit documents and spreadsheets, collaborate with teammates on projects, and use Gmail for business – and all at prices far lower than traditional office suites. Check out https://www.google.com/work/apps/business/products/drive/ for more on using Google Drive and Docs at your workplace.
When you’re working on your own, it can be all too easy to overlook critical tasks. And then, there’s the whole issue of collaborating with your partners who might be elsewhere. In that case, try out Todoist. This powerful task manager is more than just a ‘to-do’ list. Share and collaborate with employees and partners, prioritise and arrange business tasks, receive notifications and reminders, and organise your work as well as possible with labels, sub-tasks, and productivity charts.
As your team grows, you’ll have to start keeping tabs on travel and other expenses. But what do you do when you’re still starting out and you don’t want to have a person dedicated to this? As always, there’s an app for this as well! Concur is a business travel and expense management and reporting app which doesn’t require you or your employees to maintain paper receipts needed for admin and tax purposes. Photograph receipts, import credit card expenses, keep track of travel plans, and even approve your employees’ expense claim requests – in essence, get the work done wherever you are – and without needing to hire admin staff.
There’s a reason why there are so many fantastic apps and services for startups and entrepreneurs – the app developers and service providers have been in your shoes and are coming up with just the tools they’d have found useful. These 5 are just a handful of the apps that are slowly revolutionizing how entrepreneurs work, but you’ll find many, many more, like Knowlarity’s very own Super Receptionist – which lets you monitor and respond to calls wherever you are – while giving your customers and clients a unified, professional-looking point of contact.