Apps_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.

Business owners are perpetually pressed for time. One way to increase your efficiency is the smart use of apps, which allow you to accomplish everyday business tasks via your mobile device. Having the right combination of apps makes it easy to transform even small blocks of downtime, such as the morning train ride, into an opportunity to be productive.

When choosing what apps you’d like to use, it’s important to make sure they’re compatible with your mobile device. Additionally, be aware of what you’re truly paying for with the app: some apps that purport to be free actually trade quite a bit of your personal data in exchange for your use of the service. You may be more comfortable paying a fee up front and protecting your company’s privacy.

Here are the four types of time saving apps every small business owner should consider:

The Companion App: Almost all of the cloud-based services small business owners use to run their businesses, including Paychex, Quickbooks, and Teamwork offer companion apps that allow you to access your account from your mobile device. The cost of this app is generally included in the cost of your service agreement, although in some instances there may be a nominal or monthly fee for use. Be sure to check the fine print.


The Banking App: Make sure you’re taking advantage of whatever apps your bank offers. Many leading financial institutions offer apps that allow you to check account balances, make payments, transfer funds between account, make deposits, and more. Shopping for a loan? Apps like Bankrate provide a good starting point by comparing available interest rates from a variety of lenders.

The Shipping App: FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service all have Android and IOS apps that make it easy to schedule package pickup, arrange deliveries, track packages and confirm delivery. If you use multiple carriers, look into an app like TrackPackages or Overnight to manage all of your shipments. Need freight hauling services, but only occasionally? UShip makes it simple to connect with a tractor trailer operator who can do the delivery for you.

The Travel App: Minimize the time you spend traveling with route planning apps such as Waze, Road Warrior, and Voyager, which provide near-real time road condition reports and more. Skyscanner and Momondo streamline the process of finding and booking affordable flights, particularly to popular business destination cities.

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