January 31, 2014
It really is amazing to think about how many ways our Smartphones are changing our lives for the better. They have become indispensable personal assistants, aiding us with making wise decisions with budgeting, buying, selling and planning.
While it’s no great secret that there’s a huge array of Smartphone apps available to help the average consumer save and make money, the business owner also has a great deal to gain by becoming a knowledgeable Smartphone user. If you own a small (or large) business, let’s take a look at some of the best apps out there right now that can help put (or simply keep) a little extra cash in your pocket.
Earn Points When You Buy (Or Even Just Shop)
We may as well start with an app that’s likely to have universal appeal, for business owners and average consumers alike. Shopkick is a unique app, in that you don’t actually have to make a purchase in order to earn points (here they’re called “kicks”). All you have to do is allow the Shopkick app to use the GPS in your phone periodically. You’ll be able to check in anytime you enter a retail shop, and the more you do so, you’ll earn rewards to use toward the purchase of gift cards.
You can also earn bonus points by scanning bar codes of the items you’re interested in, as well as when you actually make a purchase. Shopkick has the distinction of being one of the few apps of its kind that encourages networking. Suppose you own a local business — why wouldn’t you take a walk around town to see what other businesses have to offer? It could be a great way to strike up a lasting business relationship.
Use Your Receipts in Unexpected Ways
Every business owner knows only too well that there are a number of regular purchases you have to make to keep your company afloat. Receipt Hog knows this too, and has crafted a unique Smartphone app to help business owners (or anybody else, really) make use of their receipts — which were likely destined for the trash anyway — to help put a little bit of extra cash in your pocket. Here’s how it works:
Anytime you make a purchase, you simply use the Receipt Hog Smartphone app to take a picture of your receipt. You keep a copy for your own records (this is particularly useful if you take care to keep detailed records of your purchases), and then a copy gets uploaded to Receipt Hog. With each receipt you upload, you’ll be one step closer to cashing out via PayPal (alternatively, you can save up for gift cards). This app makes you a member of a market research panel, which means that your privacy is taken seriously every step of the way.
Learn How to Budget Properly
No matter who you are, it’s important to understand the importance of budgeting. You might think very highly of your self-control, or you might imagine you’ve got an innate ability to measure what you’ve spent against the money you actually have to work with. Even if you do, it couldn’t hurt to get a little bit of extra help.
There are nearly countless budgeting apps available for our favorite Smartphones, but a perennial favorite is Mint.com. Mint is a completely free app that really does help you to create a complete picture of your financial life. You can connect your savings and checking accounts, your credit cards, and any sources of debt (such as loans). It will keep an eye on how much money you’re spending, what you’re spending it on, and give you an up-to-date snapshot of your savings.
By “teaching” Mint about your spending habits, you’ll be able to create custom budgets, such as how much you allow yourself to spend on business essentials or even entertainment. Over time, Mint will even make suggestions of its own for how to spend or budget your money even better. It’s an invaluable tool for any business owner. In addition, you can use Mint to set and monitor your progress toward financial goals that you set for yourself along the way.
Know How to Leverage Your Facebook Profile
About 1.19 billion people identify themselves as “active” monthly users of Facebook. That’s a lot of people, and a significant portion of them are probably involved in a small business in one way or another. Knowing how to make the most of Facebook’s business opportunities can be hugely important to the growing business.
One possibility is to use Jingit, an app-based service that lets you make money by doing, well, nothing at all. Hearing that combination of words might be raising red flags, but in this case it’s true. What Jingit does is pay you to “borrow” space on your Facebook profile to promote brands you enjoy. It’s that simple. You might be worried about turning your profile into a billboard, but Jingit prides itself on keeping its ads tasteful and relevant.
Of course, Facebook is full of other opportunities as well. Even if you already have a personal Facebook account, now is probably the time to create a dedicated account for your business. Along with the Facebook app, a business-centric Facebook profile can help you reach out to your customers in a more personal way. In other words, it’s a great way to remind people that there are living, breathing people working behind the scenes to provide them with the products and services they love.
Adrienne Erin writes twice a week for SiteProNews about practical SEO advice and news that can help organizations like Raybuck Auto Body Parts succeed in their marketing endeavors.