How To Run Your Business From Your Tablet
The iPad is one of the most impressive and versatile gadgets to hit the modern office in the last decade. Capable of running an entire library of business applications - from financial number crunching to visual presentations - the iPad can now help you run almost every aspect of your business from anywhere in the world, provided you have an Internet signal. Today we explore the most powerful and critically acclaimed apps for managing your company in your lap. The next time your accountant asks you to clarify how an iPad is considered a business expense, just show him or her this list.
Create And Handle Documents
Creating and reading internal documents is one of the most essential daily functions of any company. In fact, if you think stop to consider how many documents cross your desk and arrive in your email on a weekly basis, you'd almost certainly find that the ability to adequately view and edit them keeps the wheel of your business turning. Apple's iWork Suite allows you to design and handle all of the basic document types on your iPad, including word processing, charts, graphs, and slide presentations.
The app is cleanly designed and powerful enough to create documents exactly as they would look if they were created on a laptop or desktop machine. The interface of iWork Suite has been revered by Mashable as "a productivity system [that is] easy and intuitive." For the low price of $9.99, any frugal businessperson would find it nearly impossible to pay less for a similarly capable iPad app.
Until recently, holding meetings was one of the few remaining business responsibilities that resisted the work-from-anywhere movement and still required that you actually be in the office. Not anymore - with your iPad in hand and GoToMeeting installed, you can attend or host a meeting from your home, the beach, or anywhere WiFi is available. Using the app, you can join a meeting by clicking the invitation link and begin participating in an audio chat with your coworkers.
GoToMeeting is more than a dressed up chat program however; it is a fully-featured document sharing application that enables everyone at the meeting to instantly send their reports and information to each other's screens. Using various touch commands, everyone in the meeting can expand and scroll through these documents while continuing to participate in the audio discussions. Perhaps best of all, the app is free to download and an unlimited subscription only costs $50.00/month.
Store And Access Files
Reliably backing up your critical files is a safety precaution no responsible businessperson should neglect. But let's say you just used iWork to create a new landing page spec and sent it to your developer. Where else can you store it in an organized, secure fashion? Box.net provides the solution — 5 gb of free storage space for almost any kind of file, including all documents (doc, xls, and ppt), PDF files, audio, video, and images. The files can be stored individually, or added to folders in the app to better organize and retrieve your stuff.
Once you upload a file to Box.net, you can access it from anywhere using the app, view it, edit it using other apps on the iPad, and store it away again. Box.net utilizes top notch web security to protect your files, providing the user with the assurance of knowing nothing will be compromised or tampered with. The app is free, and paid accounts are available for those who need more than 5 gb of storage.
How does your company manage its many projects and outstanding tasks? If you're like many businesses, there is no one answer to that question. Instead, emails are sent, check lists are scribbled into notepads at meetings, calendars collect sticky notes, and somehow (hopefully) things move along at an acceptable pace. There is a better way — Taska for the iPad is a powerful, centralized task management system that allows you to map out your projects with specific action items that can be checked off when they have been completed.
Taska breaks up your tasks into different, custom lists that can be set for chronological completion (as when mapping out a new project) or designed as a standard list (as when shopping for new office supplies). The app also lets you drag and drop tasks between lists, and organize them by priority. Furthermore, for $4.99 in the app store, there are few task management systems that can compete on functionality and price.
Remote Access Computers
Remote computer access is nothing new, but if you want to be the James Bond of your organization, how about remote access from your iPad? Suppose you're at a meeting away from your office and need a spec sheet saved on your computer back at base, or perhaps you've just met a potential client at the local pub and want to give him or her a product demonstration. VNC Viewer allows you to remotely access your PC or Mac and grab the files you need at a moment's notice. In a recent review of business iPad apps, Business Insider reported that VNC Viewer allows you to access "everything you'd be able to if you were sitting right in front of [your computer]."
Manage Invoices and Sales
Quick Sale for the iPad is the best way to manage, organize, and review your sales on the go. The app allows you to create lists of your inventory and non-inventory products and services, and organize them by category for easy viewing. From there, you can create invoices for each customer and use them for billing, or export them to a CSV file for simple record keeping. Easily mark invoices as "paid," "unpaid," or "void," to keep track of which clients still owe their bill.
Quick Sale allows you to search for customers by name and pull up their entire order history. This data can empower you to design effective follow-up calls, re-order notifications, and up-sells to repeat clients. All of this capability is included in the free version, however upgrades are available for those who need further services, such as back up and advanced editing.
Small businesses with a mobile sales team have often struggled to find an easy, convenient way to accept credit cards from new customers in their homes or on the street. Square is the latest and most effective solution to taking debit and credit cards when a credit machine is not at hand. Using a small card reader device that plugs directly into the iPad, you can literally swipe customer's cards, plug in the desired charge amount, and complete the transaction in moments. To receive your card reader and activate your account, you will need to register at Square's website. Though the app is free to download, your business is charged a small percentage of each transaction to use the service.
About the Author: Brian Tanner is a freelance writer for HP. Since 1939, HP has been making technology products to help people and companies address their problems and challenges, and realize their possibilities, aspirations and dreams. On their website you can find a variety of products such as a notebook or a desktop.