Apps are one of the fastest-growing markets for technology. With so many mobile devices—from smartphones to tablets—available to consumers, having an app for ease of use is practically required (for some devices, they are required). According to statista.com, both the Apple App Store and Google Play each have 1.4 million apps currently available for download, and approximately 60,000 new apps are launched every month. In this column, we feature some of the latest and most useful apps that will help you with your business, streamline a process, or generally make your life a little easier.
Available: iOS, A
We all know that social media has become an integral tool for marketing your business, but whether you’re placing ads on Facebook or nurturing your digital brand by posting on Twitter or Instagram, it can simply become unwieldy to manage all those apps and websites. And if you’re a one-man show, taking the time to scroll through your social media feeds just isn’t cost-effective. That’s where Perch comes in.
Perch is a free app that aims to simplify keeping track of Facebook, Instagram, Google, Yelp, Twitter, and Foursquare activity. The oldie but goodie app is largely geared toward small local businesses that want to keep up on social media posts and reviews for themselves, while also allowing the user to add competitors to the Perch feed to track the activity of others either in the neighborhood or across the country. If you see a negative review on Yelp for another operator in your market, this gives you a perfect opportunity to reach out and win a new client.
Perch offers notifications when your business gets a review and will provide weekly reports summarizing the most important activity for your business and the competition along with weekly performance report that focuses on the social media performance of your business. Best of all, it’s relatively no frills and easy to use: Simply search by business name and location to add companies to your feed.
Caveat: Don’t get confused and download a security app with a similar name.
Available: iOS $, A $
OK, show of hands: As the ball dropped at midnight on New Year’s Eve, how many of us have said “This year, I resolve to get in shape. No, I mean it this time!”? And how many of us have abandoned that pledge within a matter of days?
Sworkit (whose name is derived from Simply WORK IT) is a fitness app that will make it easier for you to keep that New Year’s resolution intact through 2017. The app offers a variety of five-minute to one-hour-plus workouts—including strength, yoga, pilates, and stretching training—that require no equipment. No expensive dumbbells or gym membership is required.
Once you download and set up the app, you’ll be ready to begin in minutes. Once you choose from the four workouts on the menu, you can select the area to concentrate on (e.g., full body, upper body, core strength, lower body) and the length of the session. Then, an on-screen trainer will guide you through your workout and show you how to do each exercise. Sworkit custom workout builder is designed for both novices and professionals to create a routine from more than 170 different exercises. Note: More advanced workouts require a fee.
Highlight: One of our editors gave Sworkit a whirl and was floored by its ease...and how challenging it was. However, it’s probably more beneficial to download on a tablet as opposed to a smartphone.
Available: iOS $, A $
Good help is truly hard to find, and one of the biggest challenges faced by our industry remains the retention of talented drivers and back office staff. Proven is an app that lets anyone with a smartphone act as an HR professional. Among its offerings are the ability to post an employment listing to more than 100 sites for job seekers, view and organize resumes, screen and message candidates, and schedule interviews.
Proven was designed for the small business owner in mind, so in addition to being easy to use, there is also customer support available to help you craft a perfect job posting. The app is not free—other than a short trial period—but it does offer pay-as-you-go posting. Perhaps its biggest advantage is that it will keep you organized, and store resumes for HR compliance.
Caveat: Proven is a new app, and as such its search engine needs work. A job search for “chauffeur” showed a lot of unrelated postings, but this will likely improve in time as it becomes more widely adopted.