Run a Small Business From Your Smartphone
Hold Mobile Meetings
You know what they say: The more successful you are, the more time you spend in meetings. Well, thanks to mobile meeting technology, you no longer have to worry about being physically present. Just use one of these apps.
Microsoft's new acquisition, Skype lets you make video calls on select handsets to anyone else on the Skype network. That means you can videoconference with other iOS or Android users, no matter which platform you're on. You can also videoconference with Skype users on PCs and TVs. To videoconference using the Skype mobile app, your phone will need a front-facing camera. (Voice and video chat work over 3G/4G connections as well as Wi-Fi.)
Tango is another cross-platform mobile video-chat app. Tango lets users videoconference over 3G and 4G networks--unlike Apple's FaceTime, which requires a Wi-Fi connection.
Sarah's Pick: I like Tango better than Skype, because it uses my mobile phone number as a username and syncs with my phone-book contacts. Skype is better as a desktop application, in my opinion.
Write, Edit, Share
No matter what you're doing for your business, you'll probably need to write or edit the occasional document--and while it might be a pain, you can do that from your phone, too.
iOS | Free
Dragon Dictation is an excellent voice-recognition app powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Not only can you use Dragon Dictation to dictate texts, email messages, and status updates, but you can also use it to write notes and, hey, maybe even articles or essays.
iOS | $5
If you're more of the old-fashioned type, you might want to do your text editing with your fingers. Quickoffice lets you do that, allowing you to create and edit Microsoft Office files, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint items.
Android | Free
In the Android-app version of regular old Google Docs, you can create, edit, and share your documents directly from your phone.
Sarah's Pick: Dragon Dictation is a lifesaver when you need to, um, write an article or shoot out an email without taking your eyes off the road. This is definitely a plus when it comes to productivity--just be careful.
Put It in the Cloud
These days cloud storage is popular. That doesn't mean you should toss your hard drive out the window--but being able to access select files from your mobile phone is certainly useful.
This excellent cloud storage service first downloads a special file onto your desktop. Then, any file you drag into that folder automatically syncs with the Dropbox cloud server. All you have to do is download the Dropbox app on your smartphone and log in to your Dropbox account, and you'll be able to access any of your Dropbox files from wherever you are. Dropbox gives you 2GB for free, but offers 50GB and 100GB plans for $10 a month and $20 a month, respectively.
Another easy-to-use cloud-storage app, SugarSync gives you 5GB of space for free; any more, and you'll need a subscription. Plans start at $5 per month for 30GB and go up to $25 per month for 240GB.
Sarah's Pick: I've been using Dropbox for years now, and I love the ability to sync files across multiple platforms. Still, SugarSync gives you similar functionality and an extra 3GB of free space.
Track Your Cash
Keep your business in the black by downloading one of these convenient apps.
Mint.com is personal finance software, but it's still a good app for a small business or a one-person operation. Mint.com's apps let you keep track of your bank account balances and spending patterns, and they even have spending tips and useful charts.
Expensify is an expense-tracking app that lets you log expenses, capture receipts (snap a photo of a receipt with your phone's camera, and Expensify will scan it and create expense items from the info), and track mileage. In the iPhone version of the app, you can also create on-the-go expense reports and submit them straight from your phone. Expensify is available on Palm/WebOS and BlackBerry, as well.
Sarah's Pick: Mint.com is a must for any small-business owner, but Expensify will actually let you log expenses for tax purposes (Mint just keeps track of your general spending).
The tools decribed above are merely a sampling of the many mobile apps that will help you run your business with ease. For more business apps, check out our slideshows of the Top 10 Must-Have iPhone Business Apps and the Top 10 Essential Android Apps for Business.