How to Justify the New iPad for Your Business

I must admit, the “New iPad” features are really impressive. The 2048 x 1536 resolution alone is enough to have most people justifying the purchase. Add that with a quad-core processor and 4G/LTE connectivity, and the New iPad will practically sell itself.

There are a ton of features that make the New iPad a no doubt “buy” if you’re a small business owner who hasn’t quite bought into the whole tablet craze. But the “Resolutionary” features alone won’t make you a on-the-go productive whiz on the device. You still need a solid suite of business apps to uncover just how productive you can be on the New iPad.

Now, if you’ve been following Small Biz Go Mobile, all we do is identify resources, services…and apps that can help you stay at work, even when you’re not at work (did I just blow your mind?). Now, we don’t want you to just go out there and download tons of apps without knowing how you can use them for your business, so here are just a few ways you can close those deals on your New iPad…cause we all know you’re getting one.

Document Management

If you’re not in the cloud, or don’t have a way to retrieve important documents from your office computer, you might as well stop reading now. There is nothing like leaving an important document on the printer because you rushed out the door to a meeting with a client, or to catch your flight. That’s one of the reasons why I suggest any small biz invest in the cloud to at the very least, make sure you have access to all your documents on any device, whenever you need them.  A good document creator/editor is needed as well. If a client or team member wants to adjust some numbers in a spreadsheet and you’re not nowhere near a computer, you still need to capability to open and edit that document from your email, then send it back to them lickity-split. Read More

TripIt 3.0 Update for iOS let’s you see “What’s Next”

I’m a pretty big fan of the TripIt service on the web and for mobile devices. Forwarding travel confirmations to TripIt and having it automagically build my travel itinerary is just flippin’ genius. So I thought I should clue you in on the latest update to the iOS app.

TripIt has updated its travel dashboard to give you a quick outlook on your TripIt account activity & future plans.

– What’s next lets you see your immediate upcoming travel plans

– Trips lets you see all of your trip activity

– Network gives you an idea of what the people you share TripIt info with are doing including letting you know if anyone in your network is currently in your area.

– If you’re a TripIt Pro subscriber, Points lets you keep track of all the rewards information you have synced with your account. Read More

Mobile Apps Key to Small Business Operations, says AT&T

Hot off the presses, a new survey from AT&T shows that small businesses (defined here as organizations with between 2-50 employees) are increasingly dependent on mobile technology in their day-to-day operations. According to the survey, 75% of small businesses now use mobile apps for their business “to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs.” Nearly half (49%) of all small businesses are now utilizing GPS/Navigation and mapping apps, making it the largest category of mobile applications currently being used.

What Other Kinds of Apps?

A variety of other apps are making inroads into small businesses as well.  The top app categories include social media marketing, document management, location-based services, time management, expense tracking software, and programs that accept credit or debit card payments in the field.

State of Social Media & Facebook

While social media apps are being utilized by a smaller proportion of companies (26%), a significant number (41%) are now using a Facebook page to promote themselves.

Small businesses feel that Facebook provides an easy and affordable way to promote their businesses., and many feel that it is the best way to communicate with their customers. Certainly, Facebook offers several unique options for businesses, from the low cost of set-up (free), to the ability to directly interact with individual customers, something that websites simply cannot offer. As well, a full 37% have noticed an increase in traffic to their websites, and 29% an increase in phone calls thanks to their Facebook pages.

Post continues after the jump.

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PaperLinks for Business: Digital Brand Interaction via QR Code

We have talked about QR Codes here on Small Biz before. The consensus was that the technology hasn’t gained complete support in the U.S…yet.

That isn’t stopping compaines like Paperlinks from being innovators in the QR Code industry. Last October, the company launched capabilities that enable users to create QR codes on just about anything and offered mini mobile sites to host the information behind the QR Code. Now Paperlinks is reaching out to its potential business clientele looking to give their customers a more interactive and digital brand experience.

Businesses can create their own Paperlinks in minutes by signing up and creating a profile on the Paperlinks website. The “Paperlinks” serve as mobile landing pages for users who scan the QR code to get more information about the product or service. Businesses can customize the Paperlinks by choosing from a number of easy-to-deploy interactive modules. Each module can be updated at any time, with changes reflected in real-time. The drag-and-drop interface makes setting up a Paperlink a snap.

Modules include: Company information; photos, videos, and other media; to promotional offers, downloads, and Social networking feeds. Businesses who use Paperlinks also have access to an account dashboard provides mobile analytics on who, where and when your Paperlink has been scanned. If those features are not enough, Paperlinks has its own free QR Code reader app for most mobile platforms that users can quickly download and get started scanning your businesses Paperlinks.

Business pricing starts at $24.99 and includes a host of features that will get your business slapping QR Codes on just about anything you can get your hands on.

Google Apps for Total Cloud Business Management

Think Google Apps is just free cloud storage for your documents and a free domain email account? Think again. The Google Apps Marketplace has an entire suite of web services, apps, and tools to get your business off of your laptop and into the cloud for greater accessibility, flexibility, and mobility. The icing on the cake is no matter what app/service you choose, all are accessible through your Google Apps domain. So you and/or everyone on your team can access to your tools, no matter where they are.

From accounting & finance, to document & project management, to backup & archiving services…you name it, the Google Apps Marketplace has a solution. Similar to Apple’s App Store for iOS devices, Google Apps Marketplace has the web app/service for your business. You can search the marketplace by product, or take a look at “Tops”, “Featured” and “Popular and Notable” apps to see what everybody else is adding to their Google Apps domain.

Google does actually develop a large number of the apps available in the marketplace, but also enlists the help of 3rd-Party developers to make the marketplace more robust. Developers pay a $100 one-time fee to list their applications in the market place, and Google takes a 20 percent cut of all applications sold through the store.

Which brings me to costs for customers – A Google Apps basic account is free (provided you already have a www.[insertyourbusinessnamehere].com domain). A premier edition will run your $50 bucks a year that adds a ton of extra features. The rest is picking and choosing what apps/services work best for your business. There are of course some very nice free apps, but if you’re ready to play some serious [cloud-computing] ball, I have seen solid apps in the marketplace for as 20 bucks (one-time fee), and 5 bucks a month for recurring payment plans.

If you and your business is ready to get organized and get “techie” by moving into the cloud, look to a familiar brand in Google to help your business take advantage of a myriad of business tools that can ensure your ability to stay on top of your operations no matter where you are; I suggest you get a Google Apps account and take a look at what your business can do with the apps, services, and tools in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Microsoft’s Intune – a new tool for businesses to manage their PCs

Microsoft has launched a new beta for its new product for businesses that is in Beta.  Intune is a PC management and security tool for Windows offices which provides a console for you to manage security updates, anti-virus, upgrades and physical inventory.  The beta is designed for enterprises with 5 to 25 PCs and is limited to the first 10,000 signups.

It is another step into the cloud by Microsoft.  And a project we will follow with interest.