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Business travel can cause small business productivity to come to a grinding halt. It’s challenging for a small business owner to keep initiatives on track when she doesn’t have access to the tools she needs.
But wait! It’s 2014, and you do have access to the tools you need to implement your strategies and tactics when you’re away from the office. Whether you’re in an airport or stopping for a quick lunch between client meetings, you can keep your small business going if you have the right mobile apps.
The following list includes 10 must-have mobile apps to keep your small business moving when you’re on the road. This list doesn’t include the most obvious apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, Dropbox, Evernote, MailChimp, Google Analytics, and others that appear on so many business mobile app lists. Instead, this is a list of apps that can help you get things done when you’re away from the office, so you can spend more productive time building your business, publishing social media updates, creating new blog content, sending marketing email campaigns, tracking online advertising campaigns, and so on. In other words, these are the apps you probably haven’t tried yet, but you should.
As a marketer, you need to stay active on social media when you’re on the road. However, it’s not always possible to actively tweet and publish social media updates when you’re on an airplane, driving a car, or meeting with clients. That’s where Buffer comes into the picture. When you do have time to browse the internet from your mobile device, add the content you want to share to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ audiences to your buffer queue. The content will be published to your social media accounts throughout the day for you, so you’ll have an active social media presence even when you’re not available.
Mention is a great tool for monitoring your brand, your competitors’ brands, and more on millions of media and social media sources. Just set up your keyword alerts, and you’ll receive notifications when mentions are found. You can track stats, share the alerts with your team back in the office, and connect your social media accounts so you can respond to mentions directly if you need to. You can create one alert for one user with a free account. If you want to create additional alerts of have more than one user, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account, which starts at $9.99 per month.
3. Documents to Go
Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean that your staff and coworkers won’t need you to create, review, and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. You can use Documents to Go to send or receive documents anytime and edit them as needed. You can also view PDF files. There is a free version of Documents to Go, but it doesn’t offer as much functionality as the paid version. Review the features of each to ensure the version you choose meets your needs.
Staying organized when you’re on the road is easy with Trello. You can create to-do lists, publish comments to update your coworkers on the status of tasks, upload photos, and videos, and more. You can create a virtual whiteboard for any project and share it with your team for creative collaboration.
If you need a more robust project management and collaboration tool when you’re on the road, Flow is a great option. You and your team can assign tasks, have team discussions, and store all of your documents and files in one place so they are easily accessible when and where you need them. To use Flow, you need to pay for an account. Prices start at $19.99 per month.
Have you ever stumbled across an article, video, or photo when you’re browsing the internet from your mobile device that you want to read, use as inspiration for a blog post, or share with someone, but you’re on the go and run out of time to do so? With Pocket, you can save it for later and view it or share it when you do have time. It’s less cumbersome than sending links or using bookmarks.
7. Wi-Fi Finder
If you’re on the road, you’ll undoubtedly need to find free wi-fi access at some point. Use WiFi Finder to find a free wi-fi hotspot near you on the fly or in advance of your trip. It’s free and easy.
If a regular calendar just isn’t good enough for you, then you should try Tempo. It’s a smart calendar app that works with Google Calendar, Exchange, and iCloud to do so much more than a regular calendar provides. Tempo integrates and stores more information for you than any other calendar app, making it accessible when you need it. For example, conference call numbers, maps and directions, and related email messages and documents for events and people are all at your fingertips. You can even view information about companies and people before your meetings because photos, mutual contacts, and more are provided through Facebook, Twitter and Google+ posts, LinkedIn details, and more.
Get Tempo for free: Apple App Store, Google Play – not available for Android devices
Protect your passwords with 1Password. It’s one of the most popular password management and security tools. This is a paid app, but it’s worth it. All of your passwords are saved to your 1Password account, so you’ll never have trouble logging into websites when you’re on the road again.
Have you ever gotten a call when you’re traveling on business from someone at your office telling you there is a document that you need to sign immediately? Now, you can do it with the DocuSign app. You can also use the app to get signatures that you need from other people.
What are your must-have mobile apps to keep your marketing and your small business going when you’re on the road? Share them in the comments below, and check out the infographic for some business travel statistics.
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.