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The 10 Best Apps for Business

By Jaimy Ford for America's Backbone Weekly

These days there truly is an app for just about anything, with new apps featuring new capabilities released daily. That's great for time-strapped business owners and leaders who need the ability to conduct business 24/7.

The right applications can drastically increase your productivity and efficiency, while allowing you to run your business from just about anywhere.

Tap the power of these popular apps to make it easier for you to manage business-critical functions from your smartphone:

Quickly becoming one of the hottest tools on the market, Slack essentially eliminates the need for email. Organize conversations around topics, projects, teams and so on to keep everyone in the loop, or create private channels and invite only a few teammates to see the content. You can even send direct messages to team members. For small teams, Slack is free. Packages offering more features and capabilities start at $6.67 per user per month.

Manage, sync and update your address books with ease. The minute a contact changes content on his or her phone, your address book updates instantly. Plus, you can block a contact, prevent exchange updates, email or text your latest information, and delete multiple contacts at once. Free on iOS and Android.

This full-service online payroll system allows you to conduct all your payroll activities online. Email paystubs to employees, and automatically report new hires to the government. Plus, ZenPayroll allows employees to input their own details and access their paystubs, saving you time. Packages start at $29 per month, plus $6 per user.

This mobile app offers a cost-friendly way to conduct meetings online. With full HD multi-party conferencing, HD voice, TLS encryption, and integration with Outlook and Google, you can plan, schedule and host meetings safely and securely for not a lot of money. The basic version for up to three participants is free. Packages start at $20 per user, per month.

Take the hassle out of emailing your customers. Manage your email lists, build email templates, create newsletters, and send out campaigns. Additionally, use MailChimp data to determine the strength of your campaigns and tweak them for future success. For up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month, you can use MailChimp for free forever. Beyond that, packages start at $20 per month.

For business owners in San Francisco, L.A., Chicago and New York, Shype takes the hassle out of mailing packages. Simply take a picture of what you want to mail, and a Shyp courier will come to you, professionally package the item and mail it, using the lowest available prices from FedEx, UPS or USPS. The download is free for iOS and Android. To use the service, you pay the shipping cost, plus a $5 fee.

This simple cloud-based CRM solution allows you to manage customer accounts through Gmail from your mobile device. Manage your deals, collaborate with a click, share documents, emails and more; and change your process as needed. The basic plan is free, and you can upgrade with packages starting at $19 per month.

Conduct all your project management planning on this web-based app. Assign tasks, upload documents, set due dates and more. KanbanFlow allows you to visualize your workflow and increase real-time collaboration among team members and other stakeholders. The free plan doesn't restrict users or boards, and you can upgrade for $5 per user per month if you need more functionality.

With this mobile application, you and your salespeople have everything you need to conduct and close sales, right at your fingertips. Manage leads, access sales metrics and figures, get information and client history instantly, organize your day, see urgent messages, and create CRM reports. Free on iOS and Android devices.

Forget a file? No problem. Access your desktop computer and important documents from your smartphone. Tap into Windows workstations, Windows servers and Macs from any Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device. Business packages start at $60 annually.

Let technologydo the work for you. Fill your mobile device with applications that allow youto more easily and efficiently manage the daily needs of your business, and reclaimtime to focus on strategy and growth activities.

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Jaimy Ford is a professional business writer withnearly a decade's worth of experience developing newsletters, blogs, e-letters,training tools and webinars for business professionals. She contributes to bothThe Intuit Small Business Blog and Docstoc.com. She also serves as editor-in-chief of SalesMastery, a digital magazine writtenspecifically for sales professionals.
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