No entrepreneur is without a smartphone or tablet anymore, it seems. In fact, it’s hard to remember what, exactly, we did before we had the ability to stay on top of everything from operations to pitch deck edits on the fly (or in the middle of a family vacation — hey, it happens!). But with the proliferation of “apps” — particularly those targeting business owners and their employees — it’s hard to know which ones are worth the download.
I asked a panel of 13 successful young entrepreneurs the following question:
What was the most useful mobile app for your business in 2012 and why?
Here’s a shortlist of the mobile apps they relied on to keep their startups running smoothly:
As an entrepreneur, I can tell you how many meetings, seminars, talks, and conferences I attend on a weekly basis. Aside from that, I’m always constantly out of the office pitching our product and meeting with potential partners, and customers. Evernote and its sister app, Penultimate, are invaluable for keeping track of (and sharing) all of my notes and thoughts on the go.
- Jessica Brondo, The Edge in College Prep
Entrepreneurs: Invest early in structure and systems. It seems really odd to hear these words come out of an entrepreneur’s mouth. Everyone always told me “build fast, organize later.” But you’ll find over the short and long term that small efficiency improvements, like agile development and project management tools, yield huge productivity gains and set the tone for your business.
- Neil Thanedar, LabDoor
The fact that TripIt is awesome isn’t news anymore. Entrepreneurs travel. Travel means logistics, schedules, last-minute delays, confirmations, etc. TripIt keeps it all in one place. It’s the app I use the most, and it allows me to focus on where I’m going rather than how I’m getting there.
- Matt Peters, Pandemic Labs
Before I go into a client or sales meeting, I always check my Highrise phone app. It reminds me of our latest conversations, emails and notes. It’s a simple way to show the client I am well-versed in who they are and remember all of the details of our conversations to date. The fact that it also organizes emails is genius.
- Susan Strayer LaMotte, exaqueo
One of the best mobile apps for entrepreneurs is called SignEasy. It allows you to sign documents via your smartphone rather than printing them, signing them manually, and then scanning it into your computer. It’s great for entrepreneurs who have to sign a lot of paperwork.
- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
The best mobile app I use daily is Basecamp. I’ve tried a ton of different “business” apps, but sometimes the simple ones work the best. Basecamp is a game changer, and the mobile app has become an invaluable part of my routine.
- Brian Moran, Get 10,000 Fans
Still obsessed with this absurdly simple, ridiculously effective iPhone app that simply allows you to send an email to yourself without all the extra steps. I’m convinced it shaves off between 30 minutes and 6 kazillion hours of my time each day.
- Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
My favorite invoicing software, FreshBooks, just came out with an app. Now, I can access it on the go to see if my clients have sent money or viewed their invoices. I can check my profit and loss statement from my iPhone!
- Matt Wilson, Under30Media
Dropbox’s mobile app is the best app for entrepreneurs. Being able to access my files anywhere I go is invaluable. I can see a document on my iPhone, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iPad seamlessly. It saves me time and money.
- Aaron Pitman, API Domain Investments
Entrepreneurs are constantly seeing gems of advice and articles in their Twitter feeds. Pocket makes it easy to save articles from those feeds and others for reading at a more convenient time.
- Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep
Image Credit: Stan Honda/Getty Images