Running a small business is no easy task. The officers in charge – or more likely, single officer – must be well-versed in both macro- and micro-management, at least until he or she has trusted staff that can take on some of that responsibility. Especially starting out, small business owners have a Herculean task before them: provide the product or service, find and satisfy consumers, pay overheads, manage real estate space if necessary, hire and pay employees – the list goes on. These folks can use all the help they can get.

"These apps could be a manager's best friends."

Fortunately, in this day and age, such help can come from a number of sources – and that doesn't include the yellow pages. A wide variety of applications for smart phones and tablets exist that can at least handle some of the more tedious, mundane data-crunching and accounting necessities that might get lost in the shuffle. These apps could be a manager's best friends. In a real way, a small business's success could depend on their implementation.

Mobile apps: a growing necessity
Many small business experts claim that the companies that don't use mobile apps will not last, according to The Bay State Banner. Even organizations that are not based around technology still need to have a flexible mobile identity. The fact is, many companies do business and communicate with clients through these new channels.

"If you don't have a mobile app to engage your customers it is like you don't even have a website anymore," Margaret Rimmler, vice president of marketing at Kinvey, told The Bay State Banner. "You will just be kind of left in the dust because your competitors will have great ways to engage their customers."

A report from the Boston Consulting Group said the mobile technology industry generated $3.3 billion in global revenue in 2014 and is responsible for 11 million jobs. As more businesses learn of the versatility of mobile technology, those numbers are only likely to grow.

Apps have a variety of benefits for small businesses.Apps have a variety of benefits for small businesses.

Start with the basics
For companies that don't know where to begin, there are a few common apps that have a wide range of uses for individuals and businesses alike. One mistake organizations should avoid is the thinking that each app must be specifically tailored to their needs. In fact, the opposite is true: the broader the app's capabilities and the wider its use, the more a company will be able to get out of it. Plus, many apps communicate between devices, so more popular apps will provide a broader network. Irish Independent listed a few apps small business managers should consider.

  • Dropbox: This app allows a user to upload files into a folder and then access those same files anywhere with Internet access, via phone, tablet or laptop.
  • Mint: For managers that need help with their budget, Mint tracks spending and sets targets and provides user-friendly metrics.
  • Cardmunch: The days of the rolodex are over. Cardmunch lets the user take pictures of business cards and store those files in a mobile filing cabinet.
  • Daily Agenda: Managers can consolidate their calendars from various devices and platforms into one synchronized list of events.

IT and tech industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in information technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.