By Daniel Hunter

Small to medium sized business (SME) owners are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile apps to run their businesses, as more than half (51%) admit they spend at least two hours a day working from their mobile devices, according to a new survey by online freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour.

Two thirds (66%) of small business owners polled said that without smartphone apps they would find it difficult to run their businesses effectively on the go. Almost three quarters (73%) said they use smartphone apps on a daily basis.

Small business owners were asked what their motivation was for using particular business related mobile apps. The three most popular reasons were for their time saving benefits, to increase business productivity and the value for money aspect of business apps compared to buying expensive off the shelf packages.

Social media management and marketing apps are also a favourite, with a growing number of small business owners using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to engage with customers and generate new business leads. More than half (52%) of those polled said they regularly used social media management apps.

Almost a quarter (23%) of small business owners questioned said they rely on apps to effectively manage their time, while 22% revealed they use apps to track their business expenses and organize their travel schedules.

So, with so many apps to choose from, what are the apps small business owners can’t do without? According to PeoplePerHour users, the five must-have business apps are: Google Drive, Evernote, Square, LinkedIn and Docusign. Other popular apps include Zendesk, Mint and Skype.

“More small business owners than ever are choosing to liberate their operations from the office desk and take advantage of the anytime, anywhere power of mobile. Take the morning commute - with the launch of super-fast mobile internet, that hour on the train is fast becoming as productive an hour spent as any in the office," Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, commented.

"Apps increase productivity because they are designed to be easy to use on portable devices. And the smart way to manage everything from company finances, to client relations, to marketing, is to use the right tools - tools that save time, cost little, don't require hours to set up or a manual to learn how to use.

"The fact that entrepreneurs can — thanks to apps — effectively run their businesses from their smartphones can only benefit the SME sector in the long run. The app is here to stay and the reliance on them is only likely to grow not wane amongst the SME business community where the need to be connected, organized and informed on the go is paramount.”

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness