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The Top 10 Facebook Apps for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Ever since Facebook released its API (this is why you should care), all us dedicated Facebookers have been deluged with oceans of the most trivial time-wasters (which species of fungus are you?). Despite the fact that the average Facebook app is productive only in killing time, quite a generous seasoning of business-oriented apps have moseyed our way to not only make the social networking end of our business more efficient, but to make significant other aspects of our business life easier and more productive.

For that reason — and because we’re hard at work on a social networking volume in our Shoestring Venture series — the editors and staffers here at Shoestring Venture have picked out the ten must-have apps that every entrepreneur with a Facebook presence needs to give a serious look-see. In fact, as the apps pile up week after week, it looks increasingly possible to run your entire business from Facebook in either its current Web version or its rapidly evolving AfterWeb avatar. So, without further ado, our votes for the ten most useful Facebook apps for entrepreneurs . . .

10

MyMoney
Personal and small business financial software

MyMoney is an online banking and personal finance application as fully functional as Microsoft Money — the difference is this: MyMoney works totally from your Facebook pages. While certainly not up to the bookkeeping or accounting tasks of a small business, MyMoney, which we have test run here at Shoestring Publications and are mighty happy with, can certainly handle the demands of a bootstrapping or home-based start-up.

9

SlideShare
Presentation sharing app

SlideShare, an online PowerPoint or other presentation sharing tool, did not make it into the first edition of The Startup Bible because, well, there were too many problems with it. Those problems have been largely fixed and we’re glad to say that we feature SlideShare in our second edition. Like the original, SlideShare allows you to share PowerPoint and OpenDoc presentations with other Facebook users (provided they’ve also installed the app).

8

SmartPhone
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone application

We have certainly spent many, many hours testing and trying out VoIP applications. Having a Facebook VoIP application seems, well, but there are at least four or five contenders in this rapidly expanding field (go figure). SmartPhone offers a VoIP service normally and this is their Facebook version. But we repeat a warning we echo many times in our book: watch the fees!!!

7

IEndorse
Testimonials Facebook add-on

IEndorse allows you to add testimonials and references to your Facebook page (in much the same way Plaxo and LinkedIn have referrals from your network). While another app, Testimonials, does the same thing, IEndorse has the boffo feature that allows you to choose a business specialty and then search the IEndorse directory for like-minded businesses and individuals.

6

SmartMessage Center
Group messaging app

The folks at CircleUp, who specialize in group facilitating software, have created this Facebook app to allow groups — including Facebook groups — to communicate with one another on Facebook, Outlook, and via the Web. Group communications are stored and shared in group and individual pages. For entrepreneurs running projects involving several outsource vendors, SmartMessage Center allows you to consolidate everything in one message center.

5

SocialFly
Social networking scheduler/manager

I cannot tell you how many businesses and entrepreneurs get social networking wrong from every angle. As a part of doing business, social networking is nothing short of a business process and as such resembles CRM (customer relationship management) in its logic and demands. But no CRM software — even the best like SugarCRM — comes close to meeting the demands of a disciplined, continuous social networking effort (look for that to change, though). So here we have SocialFly, a scaled-down CRM system specifically designed for Facebook social networking. The application, which until recently was a stand-alone Web-based application, accesses you Facebook “friends” and allows you to manage social networking contacts, schedule social networking tasks, add data about “friends” to your contact list, and locate them geographically.

4

What I Do
Directory application

What I Do looks, feels, and walks like millions of other Facebook Apps. It allows you to add a page to your profile that describes your company (or you), select keywords, and solicit recommendations (and give recommendations to others). It is, in short, a small app that adds LinkedIn type of features to your Facebook pages. But what makes it especially valuable is that it adds a searchable network of all What I Do profiles so that you can find businesses and, better yet, businesses can find you. We here at Shoestring consider What I Do a “must” for any serious entrepreneur using Facebook.

3

30 Boxes
Calendar

While Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible features Google Calendar (which now has a Facebook interface) and slights 30 Boxes in its Web incarnation, we here at the office love 30 Boxes for Facebook. The application is a standard calendar/scheduling interface, but allows you to share part or all of the calendar with some or all of your Facebook friends (while Google Calendar only allows you to share the entire calendar with friends).

2

My Office
Scheduling, project managment, collaboration app

Since our work focuses heavily on outsourcing — particularly outsourcing office functions — we review tons of office collaboration and project management software. MyOffice is simply the best collaboration and low-level project (or office) management Facebook software available. It is a very strong tool with an easy-to-user interface — easily the equal of competing products such as BaseCamp. Again, if you want to run your entire office from Facebook — and you have all your virtual assistants, outsourced bookkeepers, freelancers, etc — all organized on Facebook, MyOffice is an app you can’t afford not to look into.

1

Huddle
Document sharing and management

And our number one app for entrepreneurs is Workspaces on Facebook by Huddle. This app allows you to organize your friends into separate groups (or huddles) and share, collaborate, and manage documents and spreadsheets across the group. The app gives you 1GB of storage space on the Huddle servers and even includes an interface to allow you to edit documents directly from your Web browser. Don’t be fooled by the “uses” that Huddle advertises (like planning a wedding); Workspaces turns your Facebook interface and network into a full-throated team project on practically any business document or set of spreadsheets.

Huddle logo

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2 Responses to “The Top 10 Facebook Apps for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses”

  1. Deborah Myers says:

    I downloaded Huddle to my facebook group and uploaded a file which I cannot get to open and I now can’t delete the file. Any ideas?

  2. This is by far the best comment I saw about Huddle product… Great! I would not put Huddle on place number 1 but certainly in the top 10.

    From the moment in time the initial post was created Huddle evolved quite a lot, what could have not been done it certainly possible now.

    If you have questions about Huddle product send us an message:

    https://twitter.com/#!/VMSpecialists

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