13 Essential iPhone and iPad Apps for Running a Startup

As the size of Apple’s App Store grows, the company is getting more creative with how it highlights newcomers and noteworthy apps by putting together “collections” that make it easier for visitors to sort through them all.

Collections are essentially lists of suggestions for apps that App Store visitors might want to consider in a given category. Although many of these collections feature bundles of video games, we’ve noticed that Apple is catering to entrepreneurs who rely heavily on an iPhone or iPad with a new collection called “Start Your Business,” which compiles helpful mobile apps for small-business owners.

As of mid-October, that collection features 31 mobile apps designed for iPads and iPhones that could help get your business off the ground. Here are a baker’s dozen that we find particularly helpful, including a few from our home team here at Intuit.

1Password Pro ($14.99, iPhone/iPad) — This app stores information such as website user names and passwords, letting you log in automatically with a single tap. You can synchronize the app with multiple devices and computers using Dropbox, but you’ll need to configure that option using a desktop computer.

Bento ($4.99, iPhone; $9.99, iPad) — Billed as a personal database that organizes contacts, tracks projects, supports event planning, and manages lists, this app includes 25 customizable templates. You may also design your own database from scratch with a drag-and-drop tool.

Delivery Status ($4.99, iPhone/iPad) — Waiting for a package? This app lets you track the status of shipments via 30 different services, including UPS, FedEx, DHL, and national postal services including USPS, Canada Post, Royal Mail and others. It also can track orders from specific sites, such as Amazon and Google Checkout, before they ship.

DocuSign Ink (free, iPhone/iPad) — Eliminate the need to print out and sign documents with this app for adding digital signatures to PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, image files, and faxes. DocuSign Ink imports directly from the Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive cloud storage services.

Evernote (free basic edition for iPhone/iPad; $4.99/month or $45/year for premium edition) — This app goes beyond task managers by letting you organize all sorts of written, audio, and visual notes. Files are uploaded to the cloud and can be synchronized with a Mac or Windows desktop version of the app.

GoodReader ($4.99, iPhone/iPad) — This robust mobile app lets you read and annotate PDF files, and it also supports Microsoft Office formats and high-resolution images. You can synchronize documents with various remote services, including Dropbox or SkyDrive.

GoPayment (free, plus nominal transaction/service fee, iPhone/iPad) — Accept mobile payments by plugging a free card reader into the audio jack of your device and using Intuit GoPayment to complete the transaction. Rates are as low as 2.7 percent per swipe for pay-as-you go or 1.7 percent per swipe with a $12.95 monthly fee.

Intuit Online Payroll (free, iPhone/iPad) — Need to run payroll while you’re out of the office? This mobile app automatically synchronizes with your Intuit Payroll account, letting you create paychecks or direct deposits for employees and contractors. It also offers bank-level security.

LightSpeed for iPad ($1,397, iPad only) — If you’re starting a retail business, you can try out the LightSpeed point-of-sale system for 30 days for free by downloading the mobile app along with a demo edition of the LightSpeed Server, which runs on a Mac. LightSpeed turns the iPad into a POS device that can be used to show customers more information about products and to ring up transactions right in the showroom.

OfficeTime ($7.99, iPhone/iPad) — Capture and record hours or expenses related to multiple projects, using either an iPhone or an iPad. The app integrates with iCal and wirelessly synchronizes with a desktop edition for either Mac or Windows ($47) for invoicing purposes.

OmniFocus ($19.99, iPhone; $39.99, iPad) — Get the benefits of a personal assistant with this app, which keeps track of tasks by project, place, person, or date. OmniFocus can be synchronized with other editions running on a Mac or other mobile devices. Supported languages (aside from English) include Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

QuickBooks Mobile (free, iPhone/iPad) — If you need to handle accounting tasks on the go, you’ll appreciate this mobile companion for QuickBooks Online users. The app offers access to invoices, sales receipts, estimates, and customer information. QuickBooks 2011 or 2012 for Windows users will need a paid subscription that includes mobile access.

Skype (free, iPhone/iPad) — Want to bring the free voice and video calling service to your mobile device? The Skype mobile app obliges. The video support depends on the device you use, but the app works over 3G service or Wi-Fi wireless connections. If you add Skype Credits, calls to mobile and land-line phones and text messages are supported, too.

About Heather Clancy

Heather Clancy is an award-winning journalist with a passion for transformative technology, small business and green business issues. Her articles have appeared in AllBusiness.com, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. Heather is a regular contributor to CBSi, Forbes & GreenBusiness.com.
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the only app I use there is skype. Very useful indeed for communicating with loved ones.