Attack of the apps!
Much of this weeks list is compiled of applications that almost any small business will find incredibly useful, but we also have some fantastic advice from one of our favourite serial entrepreneurs and a summary on some fantastic hardware thats transforming the retail industry.
Yammer is a social networking website for businesses. Similar in design and concept to Facebook, Yammer can provide your business with an internal social networking hub for employees to chat, collaborate, share information and socialize in. We actually use Yammer here at the 99designs offices, and it’s great for letting people people know what you’ve been working on, asking questions that you need an answer for, or even discussing the more important matters in life such as which milk flavour is better – chocolate or banana? It works particularly well in bringing together employees from our Australian and American offices into one common social hub.
#2. Must-Have Business Apps
As you’re no doubt already aware, your smart phone is much more than just a phone. With the right apps, it can become a valuable multifunctional tool, your businesses equivalent of Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver. Tech and small business expert Scott Steinberg has compiled a list of 10 Must-Have Business Apps for 2011. The Scanner Pro app for instance, transforms your iPhone into a portable scanner than allows you to save electronic copies of invoices, business cards and signed documents, while Jump Desktop lets you access your connected desktop computers remotely, with the ability to view and manipulate files on your home or work computer via your smart phone.
Ronin is an online invoice and tracking application for small businesses, contractors and freelancers. Its simple to use, web browser based interface makes it a great choice to send invoices and receive payments online.
The subscription rates are relatively cheap monthly payments – $15 for individuals, $29 for small business and $49 for larger firms. There’s also free version if you want to try before you buy.
Well, it had to happen really. You can now process real life credit card transactions on your smart phone with a handy new app called SquareUp. Sign up to use the service and they’ll mail you a free credit card reader to attach to your phone to use the app, essentially turning it into a portable EFTPOS machine (minus the ability to process payments from savings/cheque accounts).
The catch is that SquareUp charge a 2.75% transaction fee, which doesn’t seem too bad considering what the app actually does. *Note – this is only available in the USA unfortunately, but if you are in another country you can contact them to find out when one will available for you.
#5. Advice from a Self-made Musical Entrepreneur
Don’t be afraid to be daring. There’s a great article and interview in Entrepreneur magazine with the eclectic Wayne Coyne, who talks about how his band The Flaming Lips has sustained itself financially for almost almost 30 years and eventually thrived, despite always existing on the outer fringes of the music business. He’s got some great advice on how sticking to your guns, doing things different and thinking outside the square can be quite rewarding.