The iPad is often seen as a personal gadget – much like the smartphone. But in truth, the iPad has turned out into a very useful gadget that is being used for a variety of purposes that exceed personal reasons.

I think the iPad’s greatest strength (much like the iPhone’s) is the App Store with its 700,000 apps, some 250,000 of which are specifically designed for the iPad.

iPads are being used extensively in businesses and some of the examples we see:

Startups Benefit Through iPad

  • Airlines are making use of the iPad for their cabin crews and elsewhere.
  • Large hotels make use of the iPad extensively
  • Most-notably, startups are using iPads to manage their businesses exceptionally.

The iPad comes as a very powerful device for startups trying to manage their businesses resourcefully. A whole range of apps help startups and small businesses in managing several things like:

  • Invoices
  • Sales & inventory management
  • Payment processing
  • Productivity and management
  • Time-tracking & project management

As a popular example, many of you might know of how successful the Square app has been for small businesses to process payments faster and in a smoother way. From invoice-management to inventory control and more, the iPad does bring a whole suit of applications that can run your business.

Expense Management
One of the first things that small businesses require is an expense management app that will help them keep a fantastic track of their expenses.

Mint.com is an excellent resource which helps you track expenses on a beautiful interface. Mint started out as a web service which pretty much covers everything that you could ever need. It has some of the finest features that you can expect ranging from attractive charts to depict where your major spending has been to extensive analysis reports to help you curtail overhead costs.

Expensify is another great app you can try. The different between Expensify and Mint lies in the way each sees financial management: the latter is all about making it fun and enjoyable while the former is all business.

Payments
Some of the coffee shops and fast food joints now come equipped with payment processing with card-readers that feed directly into the iPhone/iPad.

Amazed?

Well, don’t be. Take a look at Square or Intuit and you’ll instantly get an idea of what I’m talking about. VeriFone’s PayWire is another popular option although I am pretty sure that Square and Intuit pretty much make up most of the iPhone/iPad payment processing market.

There are a few surcharges levied on the usage but if you are looking for quick-fix solutions to make sure you enable credit-card payments for your small business, these would do good.

Invoice & Inventory
Sending out beautiful invoices has become a norm these days. If you run a business where you need to send invoices, track them and follow up in some cases, you’ll need an invoice management system or at least a tool that creates beautiful invoices and lets you track them.

One of our favorite iPad Invoice manager is Invoice2go. Invoice2go is a simple but very elegant invoice app for the iPad which helps you manage your invoices smoothly.

Another popular Invoice manager is EasyBooks.

Time-Tracking
If you charge by the hour, you might need some kind of a time-tracking app. Even otherwise, if you intend to finish your job in a timely fashion, having a time-tracking app can make things clearer as to how effectively you are spending your time.

The iPad offers plenty of time-tracking apps. OfficeTime is a popular time-tracker while Eternity is a little-known but equally good time tracker.