Which mobile apps are popular with small businesses in Philadelphia this year?

Josh Davidson is the owner of ChopDawg, a Philadelphia-based software development company. For him, like many small business owners, mobile apps have had a huge impact on the way he runs his business.

“I’ve been doing this for 14 years and we’ve never been able to work smarter or more efficiently, thanks to the mobile apps we use,” he said. “We are able to do things today at such a faster and more organized pace than ever before.”

Sound familiar? It should.

In 2021, consumers and small businesses spent nearly four trillion hours using mobile apps and paid more than $320,000 in app stores every minute of the day during the year. an increase of nearly 20% from previous highs in 2020. This is all according to a report recently released by mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

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Of course, most of this consumption was for games and social networks. But the use of mobile applications has become a must for most businesses, regardless of size. So which mobile apps are the most popular this year?

It’s no surprise that email tops the list, and the most popular email apps are Microsoft Outlook and Google’s Gmail. But messaging has also expanded to social platforms, which means many small businesses are also using the tools provided by Facebook and LinkedIn to communicate with their customers and teams.

I use ZohoMail. Other popular mobile email apps include Aqua Mail and ProtonMail. ChopDawg’s Davidson likes to use Spark, which brings all the posts together in one place and helps him prioritize replies. But email is just the start.

With so many employees and contractors working remotely, online collaboration suites have become essential tools for businesses of all sizes. Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, and Slack are some of the most popular mobile apps that help business owners and their employees share documents, emails, videos, conversations, and notes about their clients and projects.

Box is also a popular online collaboration tool among my clients, and Dropbox is frequently used to quickly store and retrieve files. Jotform is used by many of my clients to easily create mobile forms that use conditional logic, accept payments, generate reports, and automate workflows. A handful of my more technical clients use Apache’s OpenOffice software, an open-source suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases.

Davidson’s team also uses an app called Figma to help remote workers share their ideas on a virtual whiteboard as well as Jira and Confluence to help manage projects and create a question and answer knowledge base for issues. that arise during its engagements with its customers.

New Jersey tech specialist Brad Tornberg recommends Trello’s mobile app for project management. Other great project management and database mobile apps come from Basecamp, AirTable, and Asana.

Most small businesses now have customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help them track the activities, opportunities, quotes, and leads of existing and potential customers. All of these platforms include powerful mobile apps that allow sales reps and technicians to monitor and capture customer and prospect information wherever they are.

Mark Schmukler, who runs Sagefrog Marketing in Philadelphia, relies heavily on the mobile app provided by HubSpot. Tornberg, a Microsoft partner, unsurprisingly loves the Microsoft Dynamics mobile app. Other popular CRM mobile solutions come from Salesforce and Zoho.

Many of my clients have downloaded mobile apps from QuickBooks, Xero, and other accounting apps to help them with invoicing, checking balances, and getting financial reports on the go. Most also use mobile payment solutions from PayPal (and its subsidiary Venmo), ApplePay and Square to collect cash at the time of sale or make payments on the fly.

A few are expanding their use of mobile HR apps from Paychex, ADP, and BambooHR to allow their employees to view their payroll history, manage vacations, speed up onboarding, and update information used in performance evaluations.

Running a small business means wearing many different hats, so being as productive as possible is key to staying profitable.

Tornberg uses TapeACall to get real-time transcriptions as he speaks (another great transcription app I like is Temi). He also shows his clients how to do things by capturing his screen movements using Loom. While most collaboration systems provide note-taking tools, Davidson loves Notability and GoodNotes and I’m addicted to Simplenote – they’re fast and sync across devices.

In addition to using many of the apps mentioned above, I rely on my airline, hotel, rental car, Uber and Lyft apps when I travel and frequently check flight status on FlightAware. I use Curb when taking a Philly cab. I listen to music and podcasts on Spotify.

I get my news from Feedly, Reddit and (of course) The Inquirer. I sometimes make mobile calls on WhatsApp and Zoom. I watch movies and read books on my Kindle app. And, like Schmukler, when I want to relax, I like to use Calm.

The bottom line is that mobile apps have become essential technologies for small businesses – and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

“We’re more mobile than ever,” Davidson said. “And the fun thing is that there are new apps to try every year.”

Gene Marks is a Chartered Accountant and owner of Marks Group, a technology and financial management consultancy firm in Bala Cynwyd.

Casey J. Nelson