11 Key Uses of iPad for Your Small Business

Jul 11, 2011, Written by Sue Miley

Week after week I was seeing small business owners with iPads.  They would come into my office and it would sit conspicuously on the table.  I waited.  Would he open it.  Still and unopened it remained.

I didn’t think much more about it.  Well, actually it confirmed to me that the iPad didn’t really have much use if you already had a laptop and an iphone.  Why spend $500 or more to just surf the internet.

Another week of clients and some brought their iPad and some didn’t.  I couldn’t find a pattern.  One person would bring theirs one day and then not have it the next.  It wasn’t like a cell phone that you would never be caught without.

Finally I asked a client what they used the iPad for in business.

“What? Oh the iPad.  I don’t really know.  I got it but haven’t figured out what to do with it.  My kids like to watch shows on it though.”

This was intriguing to me.  You spend a bunch of money on something and don’t know what to do with it.

I repeated the question with various other small business owners.  And continued to get a variation of the same answer.

I couldn’t stand it.

Proving the iPad is a Business Tool?

I love technology.  I try to get the most out of it as I can.  I had purposely not purchased an iPad because I didn’t know how I would use it in business.

But all of the Apple commercials show these amazing business applications.  You watch the commercial and these vivacious colorful charts and graphs drift by.

If you go to the Apple store they are certainly using the iPad for their business as you watch them call up schedules, create invoices, set-up appointments.

Justification time!

I have to get one for my clients!  I need to figure out how they CAN use this tool for their business.  It’s the least I can do.

Once the justification wheels started turning, my husband quickly realized there was no stopping this train.  He just moved aside and blessed my purchase.

In this post I will give you a list of many of the ways you can use the iPad if you are a small business owner and then I will add posts to elaborate on a few later this week!

First Round of Key Uses of Ipad for Business

After 90 days with my iPad, intense app studies and experiential research, here are my top really cool uses a small business owners has to improve efficiency and effectiveness in their business with an iPad:

  1. Eliminate paper and filing using Notes Plus and Evernote for iPad.
  2. Manage your business and personal finances.
  3. Create and make amazing presentations to your team and customers.
  4. Electronically edit documents and drawings and send back to colleagues or staff.  I mean pull a document up in your iPad and use a stylus to give it the “red pen” mark-up, save your marked up version and send it back to the originator, never having to print it!
  5. Email and surf the net from your couch, on the plane, out in the field.
  6. Keep up with your prospects, projects, and team with apps like 37 signals Basecamp or Podio.
  7. Take photos anywhere and everywhere – if you are in construction or engineering, take pictures of the site.  Bloggers, take pictures for you posts.  Sign companies take pictures of a business’ pitiful sign and bring them back a mock-up of a beautiful one.  Need a profile pic for LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.  Take it now.
  8. Bring your entire book case with you.  Both Kindle and iBook work on the iPad.  I have access to my entire Kindle library and highlights and notes show up much better on the iPad.  If I need sources for a blog post I have the library with me.  I can write anywhere.
  9. Don’t forget your bible! Remember God wants to be a part of our business life as well as the rest of our life.  The best source to our relationship with God, in addition to prayer, is the Bible.  I have the bible in my Kindle and a couple of great bible study and devotional apps.  These are perfect if I am having a stressful moment and need a little encouragement from God.
  10. Have video calls with your staff, customers, or family, if you are away from home, with the built in Facetime on the iPad.  There are huge benefits to being able to see someone’s facial expressions or body language in business.
  11. Keep all of your forms, invoices and work orders directly on the iPad.  Get signatures and email directly to the customer or back to the office.

This is a top 11 list.  It is really focused on small businesses.  Larger business have even more use as there are apps now for major enterprise data systems that give you all of your company’s information right on your iPad, wherever you are located!

That’s my first round.  If you too have attached to your iPad in business, let us know your favorite uses and apps so we can add to the list!

Since I have truly eliminated about 95% of the paper and filing in my office, come back later in the week to see exactly what apps and process I used to do this!

Reader Interactions

Comments

    • S_Miley says

      Glad to help. It is so helpful to me to read other people’s reviews and suggestions for apps and tools because there are so many out there. I tried 5 and that was a trimmed down list!

  1. Mike says

    your article was quite interesting. do you know of any app that will basically let me make up virtual file folders for each client? I am in sales and typically make up physical folders for each current/potential job. Then I need to update the info say weekly adding new notes, info and attach new pictures and documents, etc.

    Does Evernote do all that ?

    Also wondering if you do know if the app will help, will the contacts/ files I create. Will the key info somehow sync with my contacts in I Phone/ IPad?

    Thanks for your expertise!

    • S_Miley says

      Hey Mike, Yes you can make virtual file folders for each client. I use Evernote to keep my client notes for each client as I am a coach and counselor. What I recommend to my clients in sales is 37 signals Highrise. It allows you to forward all emails to a contact, attach proposals, files, pictures, etc. You can upload your contacts from your iPhone or iPad. Highrise also has many apps that connect to it for marketing and sales. The thing that is really awesome about using Highrise for sales is the tag feature. You can tag each contact with multiple tags. You can have tags like Top 10 Prospect, prior customer, type of customer, territory, and basically any tag you create. Then if you click on the Top 10 prospects tag your top ten would come up with all of the emails, files, proposals, etc associated with them. You should check it out.

  2. Beth says

    I’m trying to eliminate printing contracts and toting to appointments. All my forms are pdf and the signature lines of course aren’t fill-able & are meant to be non-savable. I save by type info in the fill-able blanks, print to bullzip/adobe making a new pdf, but still must print from my printer and have my client sign.
    What’s your opinion?

    • S_Miley says

      If your forms are a .pdf you can pull them up in an app called Goodreader and they can sign with their finger or a stylus right on the iPad. The. Save the signed copy under another.name.

  3. Paul says

    Hi Sue
    Thank you for what you have written, I am an service engineer, who repairs and maintains many different types of air compressor. Its now got to the point where I have so much documentation about the machines my vans sinking under the weight of it all. I want to be able to get it all (much of it is already available as pdfs) on to an iPad 2. Also when doing site visits, for quotes and inspections I previously have used paper forms created in MS Word filled out with a pen then typed up back at the office. I would really appreciate your suggestions. Also which bible software is good on the iPad as well.
    Thanks Paul

    • S_Miley says

      Hi Paul,

      I think for the documentation you will need a drop box account that you can pull up in the field as your iPad may not have enough memory for all of the documentation. Drop box is an online storage that many apps talk directly to.

      For the forms I would save your Word doc form as a pdf and pull up on your iPad in the Goodreader app. On this app you can fill out the form on the iPad with a stylus and have the customer sign. Then you can email it back to yourself or use Evernote to store invoices.

      I use Logos for my bible software, but it is an extensive library with all kinds of commentaries and books in addition to like a dozen different bibles. It is awesome, but an investment!

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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