Best productivity apps for business

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This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.When you operate a small business, the last thing you want to do is waste precious time. Luckily, mobile apps for Apple and Android devices can help simplify many of your day-to-day business operations.The only problem is, who has time to search for and test these apps in the first place? Rest assured, we have you covered. These five mobile apps will save you time and keep you more organized than ever before — whether you’re searching for a password management system or a way to log in to your home computer remotely.Test them out and let us know what you think! In the comments, link to any other helpful productivity apps that would benefit small business owners.


1. LogMeIn

Use LogMeIn to access your Mac or PC content from your iPhone or iPad. This app is great for traveling or to pull up files remotely. With LogMeIn you can also run any PC application from your mobile device.
Price: FREE

2. Total Recall
Automatically or manually record calls, lectures or meetings, or leave yourself an audio note with Total Recall. The app works on most Android devices and even syncs with Evernote.
Price: $7.96

3. EasySign
Paper? Come again?
With EasySign, eliminate the need for paper documents altogether. Using your finger or a stylus, sign Word docs, PDFs, JPEGs and more on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. You have the option to add three signatures per document. Then send it securely and/or import to Dropbox or Box.net.
Price: FREE

4. LucyPhone
Tired of waiting on hold with customer service for hours on end? LucyPhone takes the hassle out of holding by allowing you to … hang up.
Search LucyPhone’s list of popular customer service phone numbers, then LucyPhone will patch you through. If you get put on hold, press **. You’ll be disconnected, but when a customer service agent comes back on the line, LucyPhone will call you back and reconnect you two.
Price: FREE

5. Pocket
Securely store sensitive information on your Android mobile device with Pocket. The app stores bank information, passwords, prescriptions, locker combinations, etc.The information is only accessible via a master password that cannot be accessed locally, in case your phone were to fall in the wrong hands.Connect to Dropbox or to your desktop for extra access and backup.
Price: FREE

Smallbiztrends says: As someone in a small business, you know that time is money. Saving time and being as productive as possible throughout the day is key to profitability. These apps will make you more productive and profitable in your business.

Evernote
Helps you keep track of the million-and-one details every business person deals with. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief and instantly feel more organized when you can get information out of your brain and written down.

MiniBooks for FreshBooks
If you use FreshBooks to track billing hours and invoice clients, this app brings much of that functionality to your iPhone or iPod Touch.

GoPayment

Allows you to accept payments from major credit cards on your iPhone. You save time by getting paid on job sites or in client meetings.

Shoeboxed Receipt
Tracker and Receipt Reader Snap a photo of a business expense receipt and archive it. Then you can create an expense report. This app, together with the online Shoeboxed service, will organize your expense records for more accurate financials and better tax record-keeping.

Dragon Dictation
Dictate short text messages or emails (up to 30 seconds), using the Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software. If you hate the tiresome activity of trying to type on a small touch keypad, this can save you tremendous time.

it’s about education and developing the muscle-memory to utilize these features without thinking. I’m very close to releasing a free eBook (that can be added to the iPad iBooks app) — it has more than 50 important productivity tips and processes for managers and executives. And I’ve found some ways to help iPad users develop this muscle-memory faster. Evernote and Dragon are key productivity solutions for me. Also, there’s a good Twitter account called EverNews (http://twitter.com/EverNews) in case you need to stay up to speed on news and new use cases for Evernote. I have seen Evernote crash sometimes BTW.

At iPadCTO I’ve been trying to zero in on the likely apps that will help business people get more done while away from their desktops, and my research is starting to suggest that the pathway to greater productivity with iPad is partly based on your degree of knowledge concerning the hidden features of this new device.

For example, few people know that iTunes has a built-in file sharing feature for apps that support the syncing of documents to and from iPad. Until I started this research, I didn’t know that you can drag the shift key over any character to create a capitalized letter without tapping the shift key and tapping the letter. Only a handful of iPad owners know that a double tap of the space bar inserts a period and a space – far quicker than reaching to tap two different keys to end a sentence.

It’s little things like this that seem to accelerate overall iPad productivity – it’s about education and developing the muscle-memory to utilize these features without thinking. And I’ve found some ways to help iPad users develop this muscle-memory faster.

I’m very close to releasing a free eBook (that can be added to the iPad iBooks app) — it has more than 50 important productivity tips and processes for managers and executives. I tried to focus the tips and tricks towards managers and executives (what we do at http://iPadCTO.com) – use cases that specifically drive towards the needs of business people just trying to get more done with iPad.

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