7 Awesome iPad Apps for the B2B Road Warrior

b2b-ipadI don’t know about you, but I use my iPad as a replacement for a laptop when on the road. Even before Microsoft released Office for iPad I stopped lugging my thousand pound beast with me when traveling.

Not only have I discovered apps that make it easy, but I added a keyboard case to close the laptop replacement loop. I use one made by ZAGG. It is lightweight, responsive, and looks great. The fact that airport security doesn’t make me take my iPad out of my bag is a major bonus.

But this post is about apps, so here are my top 7 for conducting “business as usual” while on the road.

1. Document Storage

To make a mobile device truly productive, you need to store your files in the cloud. I’ve been using Box for years – even before I had my iPad. It’s highly intuitive, can sync folders and files from your computer, and the iPad app plays well with other business apps to create a fairly seamless file storage experience. You can get a 50GB personal account for free with more storage and business accounts available. New functionality is added regularly with one of the latest versions providing a highly functional file viewer that allows you to read those files locally. Though I haven’t tried any yet, Box “One Cloud” offers a myriad of other integrated business apps.

2. Word Processing and Spreadsheets

I’ve used Quickoffice for as long as I’ve owned an iPad. My only rub with Quickoffice was the Powerpoint functionality and I’ve got an excellent solution for that below. Recently purchased by Google, Quickoffice provides all the word processing and spreadsheet functionality I need. It allows you to open, edit, and save Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files in the latest formats. Quickoffice integrates with Google Drive for document storage and Box (and other apps) allow you to easily open documents stored in the cloud in Quickoffice. Quickoffice allows you to store files locally as well, but I recommend storing most docs in the cloud so as not to use up your precious iPad storage. Quickoffice is free though it may not be for long.

3. Presentations

If you despise Powerpoint as I do, you’ll love Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck is built on the premise that presentations are about how we engage with the audience not with the number of animated bullet points a presentation has. Haiku Deck has numerous, beautifully designed templates to choose from as well as a library of high quality royalty free photos. You can create beautiful, visually oriented presentations in minutes and share and edit them in the cloud. Added bonus – Haiku Deck will display and promote them on their site and via Twitter. The app is free but there are in-app purchases for some of the templates and photos.

4. PDFs

iAnnotate PDF enables PDF editing and more. Anything you can do with a Word doc you can do with a PDF in iAnnotate. You can actually open up to 8 PDFs at once and work on them concurrently in a well-designed, easy to use interface. iAnnotate seamlessly connects with Box as well as other cloud-based services. You can create new PDFs and easily share them. There is also PDF security available. Added bonus – you can do all of the above for .DOC, .PPT and image files. Though iAnnotate PDF costs $9.99, you’ll find it to be well worth it.

5. Desktop Access

LogMeIn Ignition may be my favorite app for the road warrior. LogMeIn enables you to quickly and easily remotely log in to a PC or Mac as long as you can connect to the internet. It takes only a few minutes to set up, and access is even faster. Though I haven’t tried it Internationally, I’ve accessed my home computer (in Iowa) from both coasts and everywhere in-between. I primarily use it for file transfers though I have used it for remote printing and controlling programs that live on my PC. When I first discovered LogMeIn it was free. Now it costs a minimum of $64.99 a year with other pricing plans available. Though one of the more expensive iPad apps, if you truly are a road warrior you won’t want to leave home without it.

6. Digital Signatures

DocuSign makes an iPad app which enables you to quickly and easily sign and deliver documents while on the road. You can sign documents for free though full functionality costs as little as $9.99 per month for individuals. Docusign conforms with the e-sign act, so signatures utilized on these documents are acceptable by law firms and financial firms – I closed a mortgage with mine. The functionality is incredible as you can sign without a writing implement, send documents to multiple people to sign, and even complete face to face signing with multiple signers! You can also send and store your signed documents via this extensible app.

7. Project Management

Trello is a free app whose tagline is “organize anything.” Trello allows you to create “cards” where you can establish lists, task lists, images, documents, and enables team-based communication around those items. Cloud-based, it flawlessly syncs across multiple devices. I’ve just started to test this with my team but I’m betting I’ll love this as much as the other apps on this list – which is why it made it to number 7!

Ok road warriors, what indispensable apps have I missed?

Photo credit: Flickr

Work in B2B? LinkedIn Can Supercharge Your Personal Brand

b2b-LinkedIn-LogoEmployees at B2B companies know that LinkedIn is the B2B network. It can meet a host of individual and business objectives such as increasing awareness, enhancing SEO, driving website traffic, dripping on prospects and lead generation.

In 2004, when I was running digital marketing for a financial services company, one of my project managers told me he had joined LinkedIn. I asked him what it was. His answer? It’s kind of a digital rolodex that connects people. I didn’t really get it at the time but since I was the guy in charge, and supposed to be leading the digital efforts, how could I not join?

Well, a decade later, I am a believer. LinkedIn is more like a rolodex on steroids and then some.

I’ve used it for all of the things mentioned above, but today I’ll focus on a couple of my favorite tips which helped me become one of LinkedIn’s top 1% most viewed profiles and will help you to supercharge your personal brand.

Start Them Up With Your Summary

Your summary is the first piece of content your profile visitors will see. It’s where you can clearly differentiate yourself from others in your field. What you do in your profession are table stakes. For example, a financial advisor will typically help clients save for retirement, or create financial plans to increase wealth. If every advisor in town does the same thing, how does one rise above the rest? That’s where the summary comes in.

Think of your summary as the place to tell your story. Not in a static resume kind of way, as that’s what the rest of your profile is for, but in a more dynamic and engaging manner. Start by considering simple questions beyond who you are and what you do. What do you stand for? What have you done that’s cool, fun or different? How can you showcase your personality? And why would someone care? Consider what you write as the value proposition of your personal brand. Your value prop separates you from everyone else, so use that to pique your profile visitor’s interest and generate immediate interest in you.

Before you finalize it, consider your keywords. That’s right. Not unlike your website, consider the keywords you want people to find you with – not only via LinkedIn searches, but web searches. Search engines pay attention to LinkedIn profiles and using them as indicators of relevance so choose those keywords carefully and you’ll enhance both your search engine optimization (SEO) and your awareness generation efforts.

Stay Top of Mind with Status Updates

Businesspeople are starting to use the status update feature but there is plenty of room for more. In fact, LinkedIn is allowing people like you and me the opportunity to blog on LinkedIn as another form of status updates.

Status updates appear on the home page of your connections and group members. They can be shared, liked and commented on which will expand your reach even further. Your updates will get noticed if you post enough relevant and engaging content.

To be successful, begin with a content strategy. Decide what you want to post based on your value proposition and what you want to be known for. You can post original content, share other content, curate content – there are a lot of ways to do it, just choose what’s best for you.

I’m a content curator. I research content every day to source content that my network and prospects will find interesting. I schedule my posts a day in advance using HootSuite, and post every two hours starting at 7:00 am. I chose this schedule based on research I did about when my prospects are online and engaging with content. Though I may not get as many views and shares as Jeff Weiner or Richard Branson, I know my content is seen, as I’ll have people stop me in the supermarket asking to chat about something I shared.

Increase awareness, stay relevant, and support your brand with status updates.

What else have you done to supercharge your personal brand on LinkedIn?