Even though I don’t own an iPad as of yet anyways, I recently took a poll form various websites, entrepreneurs, and small businesses that own an iPad and this is their take in the best iPad applications that help them assist in their businesses:
The iPad for business use is possible with the right apps and tools. Your iPad can be used for business in multiple ways and here is how to make it the ultimate business tool.
There have been multiple posts (hundreds of them) in regards to the iPad and it’s usefulness as a business tool. It was introduced at a time when people really wanted Apple to come out with a netbook-type device. So even though the announcement made no mention of the iPad being a laptop or netbook replacement, people quickly tried to use it this way and ran into its limitations.
The strength of the iPad as a business tool lies not in it’s ability to replace your current business mobility solution, but in the business apps that you can download and use. For now, this is the closest the iPad will get to being a business productivity tool. We went on a search for some of the best and/or most useful business apps for that help you stay productive. This list is in no means the end of the story – as new apps are released each day. However, if you want to stay productive and use your iPad as a business tool the read on and discover some ways to do just that!
Evernote is invaluable for busy people. It is a top business app and helps you remember anything and everything that happens in your day-to-day activities. You can use it to take notes about ideas, snapshots, or recordings and then watch it synchronize with your iPhone and/or your Mac or Windows desktop. Here are some of the ways to use Evernote for your professional or personal life:
- Capture blog ideas
- Write down quick ideas
- Save web clips
- Snap photos of labels, whiteboards, etc.
- Record voice memos
Dropbox is a highly valuable business app to have with you. It is one of the easiest ways to sync and share files online and across computers. Once you sign up for Dropbox online (you get 2GB Free), you can begin storing all your files there instead of worrying about hard disks that crash. Here are some the ways this is a great business productivity tool:
- Export documents into third-party iPad apps
- Share files via email, text message, or copy/paste
- View documents, spreadsheets, videos, and photos
MindNode is the ultimate in collecting and organizing thought and ideas into mind maps. There are many reasons people use mind maps (to-do lists, planning, charts, meetings, research, writing, project management), and this app makes creating mind maps an invaluable business tool. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Freely arrange your thoughts
- Search and view nodes in outline view
- Export maps
- Cut, Copy & Paste
Business communication is definitely possible on the iPad. There are some great applications that allow you to write, save time, and read documents of all kinds.
Pages is an incredible word processing tool for the mac. It is simple, powerful and as a business tool, it gets the job done. There are multiple built-in templates or you can see our post that shows you some really amazing templates to download. Check them out. Here are a few things you can do with Pages on the iPad:
- Create letters, cards, flyers, and reports
- Create and edit documents in Widescreen
- Add photos and videos
- Add intelligent charts and tables
- Documents are saved each time you make a change
- Export to Pages ’09, Word, or PDF (via Email)
Tip: If you are are going to be doing any serious word processing on the iPad then i would recommend getting a stand and a keyboard (see below)
Tip: Switch to Full-Screen mode for the least amount of distractions while typing up documents
If you haven’t use TextExpander you are going to love this ultimate productivity tool. TextExpander lets you create abbreviations that expand into long snippets of text. You can even expand abbreviations directly in other apps which support TextExpander. Once you have built up an arsenal of abbreviations, composing is fast and efficient. You can use it for Twitter, Email, and other apps.
Quick Office Connect Mobile Suite ($9.99)
For taking mobile business productivity to the next level this app is pretty darn close. This app allows you to have full control of creating, editing, formatting, accessing and sharing Word and Excel documents/spreadsheets. The ‘Connected Filemanager’ enables remote access to MobileMe, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, and Box.net. Here are just a few of the features:
- Create, Open & Edit Microsoft Office Files (Doc, Docx, Xls, Xlsx)
- Access & View Powerpoint
- Remotely access via multiple online services
- Share files via Email or Remote Storage Providers
- Transfer files via WiFi or iTunes (USB)
As it’s name might suggest, simplenote is a note taking tool that is fast, clean, and simple. When you download it, it lets you access their free web app which syncs with your notes so you always have them available. You can even import notes from Evernote and it works great with Text Expander. For the price of free, this is a great note-taking business productivity enhancement!
If you don’t need to work with Word/Excel documents and you use Google Docs this is the app for you. GoDocs is your business center in one app. It access your Google Docs with full sync and it can open pdf’s, videos, audio, spreadsheets, and documents. You can also send any doc via email and delete or rename any document.
Simple Job Proposal ($4.99)
This app really helps make the iPad a true business tool. Simple Job Proposal is for companies that want to make it easy to write up a job proposal on the go. This is great for anyone that does contract-type work. To sign a proposal you simply use your finger and you can even load your company logo. Once you are done, it will load up in an email for you to send off.
PrintCentral is the newest print solution for the iPad. It has an impressive set of features that will let you print anything from anywhere. You can print to a wireless printer or to a Mac/PC and even over 3G. This app has the following features you may want to check out:
- Full functional printing
- Full iPad app integration
- WiFi Hard Drive
- Documents on the iPad
- iDisk, Dropbox, Box.net and Google doc support
- Full featured Email app built-in
- Web browser
- Print Photos
The iPad for Meetings
One of the great things about the iPad is it’s portability. Hands down it is a great meeting tool. You can use it to join meetings, host meetings or present your ideas.
Want to really make your iPad a top-notch business tool? Grab this app and then join a webex meeting. It is a great experience. You don’t need a webex license to join meetings but you will need one to host a meeting. Cisco has a 14-day trial, however, if you want to try hosting one. You can learn a lot more about webex on the ipad here.
Another meeting app, GoToMeeting is very similar to webex in that you can join meetings for free and view presentations, connect to audio and switch between landscape or portrait mode. As with Webex, if you want to host meetings you have to have a subscription but they do offer a 30-day trial.
Note: With both cisco and gotomeeting there were no prices listed for subscriptions and it required that you email for info so I have done so and will update this post once I know.
Want a great way to take notes in meetings? This is a handwriting tool with palm detection, a magnifier glass for various text sizes and allows for PDF exporting and Google Docs uploading. It looks and feels just like a notepad.
Apps like this one really do make the iPad a good business productivity tool. This is a teleprompter app. It smoothly scrolls easily readable text for audible presentations. This is perfect for business presentations and public speaking. It even lets you copy and paste text from Pages, Email or any other app that contains text.
This is a very simplified version of 2screens. It simply allows you to show your web browsing on a screen using the VGA-out connector (see the link above) and a projector. It also supports mirroring so you can see the page on the iPad as well as the screen.
The iPad for business use would not be complete without some good reading. There are a ton of options here and you won’t be disappointed. Whatever business you are in, there are books, readers, apps and magazines.
If you really want to make your iPad the perfect business tool then you’ll want to grab the Instapaper app. One of the top best business apps, it allows you to save web pages for later offline reading. This is great for news stories or blog posts that you find during the day and would like to read later. Instapaper has the following features:
- Dictionary Lookups
- Adjustable fonts and text sizes
- Dark mode for night reading
- Send to Tumblr and Twitter
iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. It includes the iBookstore which has thousands of books organized by category, best sellers, classics, and it keeps them all organized on a nice bookshelf. You can also add PDF documents to iBook.
This app gives you the ability to read all your Kindle books from Amazon. There are over 600,000 books in the Kindle store so you won’t be without good choices here. The latest Kindle updates include video and new page turning animations.
Wired Magazine (Free)
Here is an example of a digital magazine done right. If you like to read Wired then you will really appreciate this version for the iPad. The magazine editions are $3.99 and you can save all your issues.
This app shows off the iPad as a great newspaper reader. As a subscriber to the WSJ you get your daily newspaper delivered as well as stories updated throughout the day. When you open up the application, it feels like you are reading the print version (but better).
Dictionary Of Investment Terms ($4.99)
These dictionaries are a must for anyone in business that wants to refresh their knowledge of investments, finance, accounting, taxes, or economics.
All of these business uses of the iPad will help you be productive each day but some of these apps are better used with a few accessories. Here are some that will make the iPad a better business tool.
Apple Keyboard Dock
This is an accessory from Apple that has a dock (stand) as well as an attached keyboard. Some people really like this but others complain that they would rather it allow you to tilt for various viewing angles.
Apple Bluetooth Keyboard
This is a great keyboard that pairs quickly with your iPad, is light and small, and very portable.
A stand is necessary if you are going to be doing any work on the iPad. Even for reading and especially for typing these are an invaluable accessory to have. Here is one in our store from Griffin that I use and it works great.
An iPad case helps protect your investment and makes it a lot easier to carry around. There are sleeves, cases, bags and all sorts of ways to transport it. Here are some in our store and here’s a review of a backpack from BRENTHAVEN that works really well for carrying multiple electronic gadgets.
So how are you using your iPad for business use?
If you’re starting a new business, probably one of the biggest fears you’ll have is: “…what if I fail…?” Keep these ideas in mind when launching your new or existing business; of course there’s more, but this is the most consistent answers I’ve heard from entrepreneurs, blogs, surveys, and other articles…
Reason #1: Not Investigating the Market
So you’ve always wanted to open a real estate agency, and you finally have the means to do so, but your desire to open the agency blinds you to the fact that we’re in a down housing market and the area where you want to work is alre
ady saturated with agencies, making it very difficult to break in. This is a mistake that will cause you to fail from the beginning. You have to find an opening or unmet need within a market and then fill it rather than try and force your product or service in. It’s a lot easier to satisfy a need rather than create one and convince people that they want to spend money on it
Reason #2: Business Plan Problems
A solid and realistic business plan is the basis of a successful business. In the plan, you will outline realistic goals for your business, how your business can meet those goals and possible problems and solutions. The plan will figure out if there’s a need for the business through research and surveys; it will figure out the costs and inputs needed for the business; and it will outline strategies and time lines that should be implemented and met.
Reason #3: Too Little Financing
If you have started a company and things aren’t working out, you’ve got little capital and a struggling business; you’re really not in a good position to ask for another loan. Be realistic at the beginning, and start with enough money that will last you to the point where you’re business is up and running, and cash is actually flowing in. Trying to stretch your finances at the beginning may mean that your business never gets off the ground, and you’ll still have a lot of cash to repay.
Reason #4: Bad Location, Internet Presence and Marketing
A bad location is self-explanatory if your business relies on location for foot traffic. Just as dangerous, however, is internet presence. These days, your location on the internet and your social media presence can be just as important as your company’s physical presence in a shopping district. Online presence will let people know that they can give you their business, so if the need is already there, the availability and visibility of your business is the next important step.
Reason #5: Rigidity
Once you’ve done the planning, established your business and gained a customer base, don’t get complacent. The need that you’re fulfilling may not always be there, monitor the market and know when you may need to alter your business plan. Being on top of key trends will allow you lots of time to adjust your strategy so that you can remain successful. One must only look at the music industry or Blockbuster video to know that successful industries can undergo huge changes.
Reason #6: Expanding Too Fast
Now that your business is established and successful, it’s time to expand, but you must treat the expansion like you’re starting all over again. If you’re expanding the reach of your business, make sure that you understand the areas and markets into which you’ll now be reaching. If you’re expanding the scope and focus of your business, make sure you understand your new products, service and intended consumer as much as you do with your current successful business. When a business expands too fast and doesn’t take the same care with research, strategy and planning, the financial drain of the failing business(es) can sink the whole enterprise.
“Having started a dozen businesses over the past couple decades, the one that motivated me was vision. If you cannot have a vision of where you want to be in ten years, twenty, or however many, then you will not succeed. This comes along with a basic business plan, but in that plan, don’t just think now, but think as far down the road as possible.”
“The biggest mistake people make is not looking far enough ahead in your market. So many businesses are losing ground to new technologies as example, so think ahead on how to better utilize these new technologies. With the current recession, how many planned for it? Every business will go through cycles of growth and market demize, just as we are all now seeing, so again, think ahead, have vision beyond today is one of the keys to success.”
“I think it is because of lack of planning and focus on what you are doing.”
#2: Surrounding Yourself With People Who Don’t Believe In Your Idea
“Another mistake would be surrounding yourselves with people (whether by accident or because they’re family, etc) who don’t believe in your idea. You need to be around positive feedback all the time.”
“Yeah, I totally believe surrounding yourself in people who dont believe you will succeed is bad. Especially when they bag out your idea, without actually giving their opinion. I have alot of people who with my current start up like that, so I choose not to speak with them. It makes you more determined I guess too.”
“Letting the negativity of those around you bring you down and “steal your dream”.”
“Also, (the) people that surround you affect your decision, so be wise and careful.”
#3: Not Having Enough Money
“I think this is big for those businesses that have the incentive to only reap the benefits and not focus on the longevity of your venture. Taking out $10k now may prevent making $100k in a few months. Mindsets should not be “Yeah I own a buiness I make this much” but rather “Yeah I own a business, we invested in XYZ and were able to afford this new service/expand here/etc” Also, too many people plan on the basic expenses of starting up, and don’t think about the increased expense that come with a more successful, growing, developing business.”
“In my personal experiences, I didnt look enough into the current market for my idea just see what is already out there, and underestimating the amount of capital needed to start the business.”
#4: Doing It All Alone
“Lots of CEO personalities think they have to be the answer to all problems, and this is not the case. Their pride and mindset of “I must live up to this role” is skewed and they may fail to tap the most important and valuable resources that surround them in their management team and affiliates.”
“Trying to do it all by yourself and not asking for help is also one of the reason why people find it hard to start a business. I mean, you can always have skilled people working for you for costs that is right on the budget. You just have to have the proper resources and people and your business will be up and running in no time.”
#5: Not Seeking Mentors
“I think having a mentor – a much more experienced entrepreneur that can give you some valuable advice is so IMPORTANT…especially when you are a young and overly ambitious… and with so many challenges to meet on the way to success.”
“Having a mentor is extremely important since my mentor advised me that creating a successful business will take a lot of time, effort, patience, dedication, and a clear plan and vision.”
#6: Losing Momentum
“Being satisfied and content with functioning can lead to “big headedness” and false hope that it will always be this way. You need to constantly improve your product/service, research your around-the-clock changing market and competition, and promote innovation and forward progress amongst your management and team.”
#7: Not Marketing Your Business / Expecting People To Come To You
“A few mistakes that I personally made was the lack of focus on a targeted marketing plan, and the miscalculation on future expected growth.”
#8: Not Looking At Your Competition
“I think it is a big mistake to start a business without really understand the market.”
#9: Being Overly Enthusiastic and Not Having Realistic Goals
“A few mistakes that I personally made was the lack of focus on a targeted marketing plan, and the miscalculation on future expected growth.”
#10: Not Thinking Survival
“Too many people think that so long as everything is done “textbook” and they have the proper set up, and plans down on paper, that they will succeed. Also, many people have the idea that it is easy to keep it up after they get an initial consumer base. Not true. small businesses are small fish in a big pond, constantly competing against emerging and growing bigger competitors that have the backing, both monetarily and resourcefully, to push them out of the picture.”
#11: Doing It Just For The Money
“If you want guaranteed income, go out and apply for a job, do your day to day task, and collect the check. Many times people try and look for the most lucrative, profitable idea that they can score an easy amount of money in so they can “live the dream”. A true Entrepreneur lives the dream by constantly growing and changing to address their market and benefit those who use their product/service. You need to cover costs and have the right to strive for wealth, sure, but that will NEVER come unless you sacrifice first and realize that the longevity and future potential for your business to weather the conditions presented from changing needs and business priorities, is first and foremost, or else you have simply wasted your time and effort to have your 15min and now are snuffed out thereafter.”