Running a small business is no small task. After a long day of work, there’s nothing like kicking back on the couch, grabbing the iPad, and vegging out with your favorite tech toy. But what if that iPad could actually help your business run smoothly?
That’s right, the iconic Apple tablet is more than just fun and games. These three iPad apps for small businesses transform your iPad into an accountant, a cash register, and a file manager; in short, a professional small business toolbox. And don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone if you still play Angry Birds on your lunch break.
QuickBooks Online is a free companion app to company’s browser-based accounting service. What’s better than easy estimates, intuitive invoices, and effortless finance management? How about having it all on-the-go, in-the-cloud, and presented in surprisingly attractive graphs.
The iPad app delivers almost all the features you’ll find in the web application, reimagined in a simple easy-to-use interface. What really stands out is the stylish new graphics–definitely an inspiration from parent company Intuit’s recent acquisition of Mint, a popular “indie” finance app. The app itself is free, but it does require a QuickBooks Online subscription (starting at $12.99/month). Don’t have one? No worries, a free 30 day trial is included.
NCR Silver POS
You’ve probably seen these around the hippest shops in your neighborhood: iPad POS systems. With NCR Silver’s app and a nifty periphery or two (e.g., optional credit card scanner), your iPad just became a high-tech futuristic cash register. There are a few competitors out there, but NCR’s app is packed with the most customer-focused features, without being confusing to use.
NCR Silver allows your iPad to accept cash, credit cards, checks, and even PayPal as payment. You can scan barcodes, email receipts, and get detailed reports on inventory and customer trends. But here’s where it gets really interesting: NCR has email marketing capabilities built in. It’s easy to gather contact info when your customers check out, and amazingly NCR Silver can even email promotions based on their buying habits. Haven’t seen a certain customer in a few weeks? Your cash register just sent them friendly coupon for 15% off their favorite project. Welcome to the future.
At this point, Dropbox should be an essential tool for every iPad owner. Free online storage of any files, accessible at any time from any device? Yes, please. Dropbox is particularly useful for small businesses that have to keep important documents organized.
Save all your most important information securely to the cloud, there whenever you need it. Dropbox is also a great tool of collaboration. Need to share a new report with your business partner on the other side of the ocean? No problem, Dropbox seamlessly syncs files across multiple computers. With its slick interface and unbeatable feature set, Dropbox on the iPad is a joy to use.
Gregory M. Lewis is a Brooklyn-based tech blogger, copywriter, and copySmith for MarketSmiths, a copywriter’s collective specializing in bite-sized, luscious, vivid copy for websites, books, blogs, & more.