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App happy take two - more business boosting tech

Community Manager

App happy take two - more business boosting tech

Savvy VOOM Pioneers are clearly switched on to the transformative power of technology.


Apps Part Two Sq.pngIn Free lunch is served, we suggested nine totally free applications that could make a big impact on small to medium enterprises – and asked the Pioneers community to reveal the apps they turn to, time and again.


The suggestions came rolling in with some great responses. So, whether you need an app to optimise website images or to help with invoicing, these are the recommendations worth knowing about.



Steve Jarvis, @SteveFromLondon, of collectibles firm Figureland says: “We use the usual social media apps, mainly Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. This helps us stay connected with our customers.


“Product images, manufacturers’ logos and brand logos are one of the biggest parts of my work. They usually have to be renamed and resized using the standard Paint programme. Then they are compressed using two of the best free online optimisation applications I have found, namely Jpeg-Optimiser and Kraken.


“Another free piece of software I love is called Batch Purifier. It clears all data from any image, reduces the file size and helps with optimisation.” 



TJ Lyons, @tjlyons, of Thomas James Fencing says: “I’m a big fan of LinkedIn because we have picked up several contracts and found good suppliers via the site. All the same, it’s important to remember not to use LinkedIn as a sales tool. It’s about networking and building relationships with others in your industry. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and contacts. Just help as many people as you can and it will pay dividends.”



Ricky Kothari’s firm T-Sticks has an office in China, which presents its own challenges because of restrictions on the apps that will work there. He says: “As a small team, mobility and portability is key, and we need apps to work on a number of platforms and devices like Apple OS, MAC and Microsoft.


XERO was great for us to get started invoicing clients professionally, as well as track payments, create purchase orders and give accountants access for the end of year financial stuff. Dropbox was initially very good for sharing files, but it doesn’t work without a VPN connection out of China, similar to Google For Business.

“We use WeChat for internal communications as this is approved in China and very fast and effective for sharing documents and collaboration. Skype is also good for team meetings and conference video calls with suppliers and clients across the world.


“Incidentally, we are reviewing all our applications as we have to be considerate to our growing team in our business development and showroom office in China. Most of the popular applications – like Dropbox – don’t work there so we would love to hear from other entrepreneurs facing the same issues.  We are also looking for advice on a CRM or online contacts database for pipeline contacts and clients.”


So what have we missed? What's your can't-be-without app of choice? Let us know in the comments.

Thought Leader

There's a great App called iScanner which lets you scan a document or whatever you need into a PDF from your phone, then you can email or drop box it etc and you can also sign any document via a simple drawing function.  Very useful and more professional than a photograph.