Four owners share their favorite apps while on the road—or in the air.
Staying on top of deadlines, emails, phone calls and staff issues is time-consuming enough for small business owners. Add booking hotels and rental cars to your to-do list. Now manage it all while stuck in an airport security line. Business travel sure can complicate the day-to-day of running a small business. Here’s what small business owners are using to manage both business operations and business travel.
Apps for Managing Your Business Travel
What It Is: Forward your
confirmation emails—for flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.—to firstname.lastname@example.org, and TripIt organizes them into one
itinerary. You can also have them
imported automatically from your email account.
of my favorite features is the ability to share or sync my trip with my family
members and my assistant,” says Stacia Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle
Enterprises in Orlando, who travels three to four days each week for television
appearances and radio interviews. “Since TripIt keeps me up to date on delays
and changes to my travel plans, and my assistant gets real-time alerts along
with me, it is very easy for us to make instant adjustments due to gate changes
What It Is: After
automatically importing all credit card transactions and capturing mileage,
time and other reimbursable expenses, this app creates expense reports for you.
Thomas, speaker, trainer, author and founder of RegainYourTime.com in Austin,
Texas, recommends Expensify because it frees her from receipts—she just takes a
photo of the receipt with her camera phone and then trashes the paper copy. No
more receipt-stuffed wallets or valuable time spent scanning later on. “Also
because it automatically creates expense reports at the touch of a button,
saving hours of time,” she says.
Cost: Free for
individual users; between $6 and $11/month for businesses, depending on company
size and number of users.
Managing Your Business While Traveling
What It Is: A VPN, or
virtual private network, is a secure intermediary used when connecting to and
browsing the Internet. It encrypts communications; hides IP addresses/locations;
protects users from hackers, thieves and third-party tracking; and allows users
to avoid censorship, surveillance and location restrictions.
A VPN’s heightened security, anonymity and access to restricted sites (such as
Facebook in China) has allowed Catherine Heald, CEO and cofounder of New York
City-based Remote Lands, a designer of luxury travel goods focused on Asia, to
stay connected and run her business, no matter how far away she is.
apps provide VPN service, but Heald recommends VPN Express for its speed and
auto configuration settings, which even the least technologically savvy user
What It Is: Soonr is a
project-management and collaboration app. Its benefits include password
protection on files, editing capabilities on mobile devices, a dashboard
displaying project activity and a commenting system.
Soonr saves documents to the cloud, team members can make changes to them in
real time. This is a boon, says Dana Marlowe, principal partner of consulting
firm Accessibility Partners, LLC, in Silver Spring, Md. Everyone knows he or
she is working on the most recent version, and it never gets buried in a
Cost: Soonr Pro is $9.95/user/month, and Soonr Enterprise is $19.95/user/month (comparisons here). Custom pricing is also available.