As a small business owner, you may already have a smartphone to help you track to-do lists, keep up with the latest stock reports, file away expenses into your budget, sync calendars, and draft documents. Now there's a whole new slew of apps and products that work with your mobile device to help you take your business to the next level, including a new credit card swiping device from one of the founders of Twitter.
Quickbooks Online: Available for the iPhone and Blackberry, this handy app lets QuickBooks Online subscribers create and email invoices, manage customer, vendor, and employee lists, and look up who owes you what.
Square: There are dozens of apps that let you charge customers by punching in their credit card numbers: Inner Fence's Credit Card Terminal and App Ninja's iSwipe are just a few. Now, by plugging a small plastic device-a little larger than a postage stamp-into your phone's audio jack, you can physically swipe cards on the go. The service includes secure payments, photo verification, and texted or emailed receipts.
Print & Share: Say you're in the airport waiting for your flight, and you need to send a shipping label-or maybe just a file, email, or image-from your mobile device to a printer that's 300 miles away. This app is especially useful if you get a last-minute order in and need to make sure a package is mailed out to a client by tomorrow morning.
Cortado Print & Fax: In addition to sending print jobs from your phone over Bluetooth, this Blackberry app let's you create and send faxes using the app's templates. This service requires a 3-monthly flat subscription, and it's well worth it.
FedEx Mobile: This isn't an app, but it's totally free. Again, if you're shipping your product out to several new buyers, this service is invaluable when it comes to making sure deliveries are made on time and you can bill yourself as a reliable business.
Business Card Reader: Collecting business cards is an important part of building contact and public relations lists, whether you're working a trade show or attending a networking event. This app takes a photo of a card and then uses text recognition to enter the contact information into your contacts list.
Fuze Meeting: Web conferences allow up to 15 participants-whether they're in one office or far flung across the country-to view hi-res presentations and video chat at the same time. Fuze Meeting's app for the Blackberry allows your team to invite you to a conference while you're in transit or just don't have access to a computer at the moment.