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Julia Guthrie
February 04, 2016

4 Small Business Challenges and DIY Tools to Resolve Them


Business today moves faster than it ever has before. Smartphones make it possible to accomplish important tasks from almost anywhere. It's safe to say that mobile apps are also here to stay—but what if your small business can't afford all that comes with developing a traditional mobile app?

Luckily, you don't have to wait until you're a large corporation to get access to powerful mobile apps you can customize to your needs. Platforms like AppSheet empower resource-strapped organizations to build their own mobile apps that can help them solve their everyday business challenges.

Whether you're managing a budget or keeping track of important contacts, you can build a mobile app to help alleviate some pain points you encounter every day. We've compiled a list of challenges that could be solved with mobile tools you can create on your own.

1. Capturing Orders

For a small business owner who is selling goods online, giving customers mobile access to storefronts is paramount to success. We live in an age where people are buying groceries while waiting for the bus, or picking out window coverings in between appointments. If you're not offering a mobile purchasing option, you're likely losing out on business. The good thing is, you don't have to be Amazon to create a great mobile app customers can use to browse and buy your products. Check out our E-commerce Store sample app, which displays beautiful product images and connects potential buyers straight to the app creator's Etsy store.

2. Managing Inventory

When you run your own store, there's a lot to manage and oversee—not least of which is all of the inventory maintained in the shop. It can be one of the most labor-intensive and frustrating parts of the job, especially considering it's usually managed with spreadsheets, which aren't particularly portable, nor intuitive and easy to interact with on a mobile device. Creating custom mobile apps from your spreadsheet data gives you the flexibility to manage your inventory from anywhere in the store. Our Store Inventory app allows you to do all of this and more, including display product images and group items by unique categories.

3. Tracking Data in the Field

Mobile tools are imperative for businesses that offer any type of service in the field, such as repairs or deliveries. Service technicians need to keep track of and capture all kinds of information while on the job, including client and job data, images, contact information, and more. Moreover, this data needs to somehow find its way back to an office-based database. Custom mobile apps built with AppSheet allow field service workers to record important information that immediately syncs to a backend spreadsheet. With these apps, office employees can track service jobs in real time. Best of all, there is no need for manual transcription, which is cumbersome and can lead to human error. Check out our Service Log sample app to see how such a tool might work for your business.

4. Time Tracking

Freelancers and consultants typically manage their own invoices and payments. When visiting clients they could always record meeting times with simple pen and paper, but this method is bulky and cumbersome. A misplaced sheet of paper could mean a forfeited paycheck. And these days, pen and paper methods probably don't instill much confidence in the client. Custom mobile tools can help independent contractors manage their time, track contacts, maintain leads, and more. Our Consultant, Contact Directory, and Lead Tracking sample apps can help time-challenged freelance employees manage their processes and reduce administration efforts.

AppSheet offers several innovative solutions for small businesses. Check out our Sample App Gallery and get started today.

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