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Wyoming Business Tips for Feb. 12-Feb. 18


February 7, 2012 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Debbie Gorski, Wyoming Entrepreneur social media community manager

"How can a smart phone make my life easier?" Jane, Laramie

My best advice: Invest some time learning how to use your phone first. This will save you time in the future.

Once you understand how to operate the phone, you are ready for the wonderful world of apps. Recently, I bought a new smart phone and could not wait to try it because there are literally thousands of apps.  Apple advertises "more than 500,000 apps" for their iPad/iPhone products and Android says "browse over 400,000 apps ..." for its phone. Clearly, you won't use a fraction of them.

I am going to skip over the categories of games, music, entertainment and medical, and will get down to "business." First, find the app store on your phone, locate the categories and then click on "business."

If I am looking for something specific and the app is rated three stars or more and is free, I will try it. But if the app comes highly recommended, then I am willing to pay a few dollars. I do not consider uploading anything that receives less than three stars (this is my own personal policy).

If you don't find something perusing the app store, ask yourself "what would help me with my busy life?" Make a list of the tasks you find cumbersome, dread to tackle or that take too much time. If I am looking for something specific, I Google the task and most of the time, I find resources or at least somebody's "Top 10 Must Have Apps!"

The newest smart phones have personal assistants. Android has Jeannie and iPhone has Siri. Using voice commands, you can schedule an appointment, send an email, voice dial a contact, set an alarm or listen to music, to name a few. Ask any question and you will get a response of some kind.

If you are not ready for a new phone, you can still download an app and have all the luxuries of a personal assistant. There are even apps to process credit card payments. I can see where this would be invaluable at craft fairs, tradeshows or anywhere you conduct business when you only have a phone to make a transaction.

Using your phone's camera feature, you can scan anything: receipts, documents, business cards and QR codes. Then save, email or, with the availability of wifi, you can even print. Do you want the capability to access documents from your computer or do you need a logo? There are apps for that as well. Whatever your task, there is an app available.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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