When it comes to small business apps, or business apps in general, there are some that every startup should be using.
If you’ve managed to run your business via email and a notebook so far, it can be a little tricky to grasp what apps are even out there that you might need.
That’s where we step in: we’ve shortlisted some of the best small business apps around.
This way you can fast-track your business processes and leave time for what’s actually important – after all, nobody wants to do data entry all day every day.
Top 6 finance and accounting apps 💰
Understanding where your money comes from and where it goes is important for all business owners.
These accounting and business finance apps will help you see the bigger picture and make the right decisions for your business.
QuickBooks Online is cloud-based accounting software that makes looking after business expenses easy.
Aimed especially at small businesses, this business app takes care of both invoicing and expenses. And you can keep an eye on how your business is doing, thanks to the various reports available.
You can get started with the basic plan for $8 per month, but can also opt for a premium plan and make sure your accountant has access to your books, too.
If you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur looking for a simple and cheap app for managing your business finances, Wave might be just what you need.
With Wave you get access to accounting software, invoicing, and receipt scanning free of charge.
This means that you can track everything from credit card payments to unpaid invoices in one place.
Wave’s expense reports make it easy to understand the health of your business. Thanks to both iOs and Android support, you can scan your receipts on the road.
If you have an eCommerce store or need a way to track card payments, Wave offers pay-per-use payment processing. And the transaction fees are only a few percent of the amount of the overall purchase.
Similar to Quickbooks Online, FreshBooks is one of those accounting apps that small business owners swear by.
Packed with all the features you need to keep your business finances in check, FreshBooks also offers time tracking and project management functions for its users.
Thanks to its many integrations, this business app helps to truly streamline everything from emails to Slack messages and more.
FreshBooks bases its pricing on the number of billable clients a small business has. For those enterprises that invoice up to 5 clients per month, you can get started for just $4.50.
If you’re a freelancer and need a budget tracker, consider checking out Mint.
Not only is this one of the few completely free accounting apps, but it helps you understand how you spend your money.
While Mint hasn’t got business accounting features like invoicing, it allows you to keep track of your credit score – something that can open doors to many budding entrepreneurs in the longer run.
You can link both your bank account and credit card to the Mint dashboard, and better understand the types of financial decisions you’re making every day.
It’s ideal if you’re looking for a way to improve your personal credit score, or if you’re on a budget and need a basic finance mobile app.
Square is one of the big driving forces when it comes to debit and credit card payments online.
The payment platform has a solid selection of tools for anyone looking to sell online or in person.
Regardless of the type of business you have, Square most likely has you covered. They offer almost everything from pure eCommerce gateway solutions to more advanced point-of-sale (POS) systems for retailers.
It’s an ideal partner for small businesses that serve both online and offline. It helps you collect payments in your online store, but can also issue a card reader for when you need to take payment in person with a POS system.
You can use the software for free and only pay a small transaction fee anytime an order comes in (typically a small percentage of the total sale).
Do you need to manage your team members’ business expenses on top of your own?
Expensify could save you time, money, and effort.
This expense management software relies on a mobile app and linked credit cards to automate business expense processing.
The idea is that rather than needing to keep track of every single paper invoice, you snap a picture of the receipt.
Expensify then saves the receipt in the cloud and helps you stay on top of every expense.
The basic version for sole proprietors starts from $4.99 per month, but businesses with a bigger team too can get started for $5 per month per user.
Top 5 productivity and time management apps ⏱️
We’d all do with some more time, and small businesses are no exception. Use these best small business apps for productivity to automate time tracking and get more done.
Trello is a Kanban-style app that makes it easy to organize and manage your tasks.
The main principle of Trello is that you organize your tasks and projects under various lists and boards, making it easier to see what’s done and what’s not.
Teams can collaborate on various projects and thanks to plenty of integration options, it’s possible to automate many otherwise manual tasks (like creating new tasks from incoming emails from clients).
Since Trello’s an intuitive and visual tool, it’s easy enough to use without much training.
And the best bit is that you can get started for free.
When it comes to the best small business apps, Monday has been gaining a lot of attention lately.
Thanks to its flexible features and easy-to-use intuitive interface, you can manage almost anything with this small business app.
Similar to Trello, Monday works through various boards that are used to manage and organize different projects and tasks.
Since you can toggle between different views, you can track costs in the board view, and follow a project’s timeline in another.
Using Monday doesn’t break the bank, either, as the basic plan starts from $8 per user per month.
This project management tool prides itself on being the all-in-one toolkit for remote work.
And for a good reason: Basecamp offers messaging boards on top of to-do lists and schedules, making it easy to collect and organize project-related information in one place.
With automated check-ins and file share, Basecamp feels like the love child of Slack and Monday.
It’s definitely a tool for a bigger business with a large number of employees, but can be key in reducing meetings and getting more focused on the tasks at hand.
The best part of Basecamp is its flat pricing structure – every plan costs $99 per month, including an unlimited number of users.
Luckily they offer a free 30-day trial so that you can test it out before you commit to anything.
Similar to Trello and Monday, Asana is a list and board-based project management business app.
It helps you get a visual overview of a project, your team’s tasks, or your personal due dates for the week or month.
What’s more, toggling between different views (timelines and Kaban-boards) makes data-driven decision making faster and easier.
Managers and project owners can also keep an eye on the team’s workload, and automate repetitive tasks with over 100 app integrations.
It’s easy to start, too: the basic version is available free of charge to teams of up to 15 people. Talk about a deal, right?
Are you struggling to figure out where your time disappears to every day?
Toggl might be your saving grace: the time tracking app allows you to track the time you spend on tasks, and turn that data into different reports.
These reports, in turn, can be used in cost calculations for particular projects, making it easier to identify bottlenecks.
Since the app works automatically in the background, you can focus on work. The tool can recognize what software you’re using and suggest entries to your timesheet, streamlining your work to the max.
Toggl offers a free plan for teams of up to 5 people. If you’re bigger than that, don’t worry – the starter plan starts from only $9 per user per month.
Top 4 communication apps 📱
Whether you talk with your employees, your customers, or business partners, having the right tools makes collaboration fast and easy.
Here are our top picks for the best small business apps for both customer and team communication.
If you’ve worked in an office, you’ve probably heard of Slack.
Slack is a real-time messaging app that lets you keep in touch with your team members.
Different conversations are organized under various public channels, meaning that the whole organization can access all information at any point.
So rather than having to play detective and waste time finding out who agreed to what, you can simply browse through the corresponding channel and get your answer faster.
Slack offers in-app messaging (both private and public), but you can also set up reminders, take part in video calls and share files.
Getting started is easy, as the starter plan costs only $8 per user per month.
Chances are that you’ve come across or used WhatsApp already.
WhatsApp Business is basically a communication app for small businesses, making it easier to offer personalized and direct communication to your customers.
Use your computer, smartphone, or tablet to create a business profile, highlight your products and answer any questions your customers might have.
WhatsApp Business also packs a decent tagging system, meaning that you can organize and label all conversations accordingly.
Automated replies help you add a personal touch to your business even when you’re not online.
And there’s no catch – WhatsApp Business is absolutely free to use, too.
This video conferencing tool took over the world in 2020, and now even our grandparents can set up and join a Zoom call.
Some of Zoom’s most popular features include free and unlimited 45-minute calls for up to 100 people and unlimited one-to-one meetings for two people.
You can use Zoom in a browser, as well as a stand-alone business app, and the minimalist interface makes the tool easy to use.
If you’re looking for more complex video conferencing features, like breakout rooms and extended meetings, Zoom has you covered.
Is your team already using the Microsoft Office suite?
If yes, then you’ll already know that Microsoft Teams is hands down one of the best apps for small business owners and their teams.
Not only can you organize all internal communication in various channels, but you can also set up video calls and simultaneously work on shared documents – all without leaving the software.
If you already have an Office subscription or plan, there’s a good chance that Microsoft Teams is already included.
But if you want to test it out before buying, you can try the basic version out for free.
Top 3 inventory management apps 📦
Every small business owner knows how much time inventory-keeping can take. And sometimes, the best thing you can do is to try to automate as much of it as possible.
With the best small business apps, stock management is easy.
Are you looking for small business management apps that won’t leave you hanging?
Consider using Sortly.
This cloud-based business app helps you group your inventory items by category, location, condition, or any other tag you want to use.
You can add custom fields, too, to make sure your inventory is as precise as possible.
And since Sortly supports both iOS and Android, you can search your whole database by QR or barcode.
If you’re a small business owner with fewer than 100 inventory items, you can try Sortly out for free. Advanced plans, on the other hand, start from $39 per month.
If you’re already using QuickBooks Online, you should check out SOS Inventory.
This inventory management app makes it easy to integrate your accounting and stock-keeping processes.
You’ll have a clear understanding of when you need to put in orders for new products, and which products are hardly ever leaving the shelves of your warehouse.
You’ll be able to maximize your earnings and respond to customer orders faster.
SOS Inventory plans start at $39.39 per user per month, giving access to 2 people.
The issue with most inventory software is that it’s usually complicated to use.
inFlow sets out to fix that with its intuitive inventory management app. The tool makes it easy to:
- Organize products and track your stock
- Generate and scan barcodes
- Manage orders, invoices, and quotes
- Keep on top of manufacturing and reordering
The app also offers various features for sales and purchasing teams, as well as a visual dashboard and extensive reporting.
And a small business can get started for $71 per month, granting access to 2 users and 1 inventory location.
4 best customer relationship management apps ✉️
Your customers make your business.
And having the right business apps at hand make sure that you can provide the best customer service possible.
If you’re a growing small business and you’re searching for simple, no-frills customer relation management (CRM) software, Nimble is exactly what you need.
Nimble’s main selling point is its compatibility with most social media accounts.
The browser extension creates enriched contact profiles of prospects and existing customers from any name on the web.
Hover over a name and the tool delivers information like contact details, business insights, and potential interaction history between you and the person or company in question.
So if you’re short on time and find data entry less than appealing, Nimble might be just the tool for you.
And with plans starting from $19 per user per month, Nimble is affordable, too.
Salesforce has long been hailed as one of the most popular and best small business apps.
And that’s not just a marketing trick either: the beauty of Salesforce lies in its flexibility.
The AI-driven cloud-based platform can easily be modified to fit your business and individual teams’ needs.
While Salesforce has many impressive features from complete marketing and sales solutions to various AI-automations and integrations, it can take some time to understand what your small business actually requires.
But the good news is that it is easy to scale2 your Salesforce features as your business grows.
Salesforce’s small business plans start from $25 per user per month, and you can try it for free before committing to monthly payments.
TeamWave is an ideal CRM solution for businesses with a few employees and a growing HR department.
Not only does TeamWave offer the perks of traditional CRM, making it easy to manage sales, clients, and marketing efforts – the tool also helps with both project and team management.
It’s an ideal piece of software for a rapidly expanding small business that wants to streamline as many processes as possible.
While you can try TeamWave for free, plans start from a fixed $39 per month.
And unlike many other providers, TeamWave doesn’t limit the number of users or features – you’ll only pay for more storage as your business grows.
4. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot is another powerful CRM app that often gets recommended by both business owners and sales professionals alike.
Unlike its competitors, HubSpot offers a free version of its CRM with all the basic features you’d expect: from sales prospection to lead capturing and customer service.
The free version even includes automations and email marketing tools, so if you want to get a good idea of what it’s like to use CRM, HubSpot is a safe choice.
And for those wanting more analytics and reporting options, the Starter Growth Suite starts from $50 per month.
5 office management business apps 🏢
Whether it’s emailing, sending invoices, or scheduling in some time for professional development, we swear by these office management business apps.
Do you feel like you’re always behind when it comes to the newest podcasts and non-fiction releases?
The team behind Blinkist wanted to change how we look at professional development.
As a result, the Blinkist app offers podcasts and audiobooks that are all around 15 minutes long.
This meaning that there’s really no excuse to not find the time to stay on top of what’s happening in your field.
You can try the app for free for a week, but the annual plan doesn’t break the bank either at $7.49 per month.
Google Workspace is a real contender when it comes to the best all-inclusive business software bundles.
Previously known as G-suite, Workspace includes everything from emails to presentations, word processing, spreadsheets, video conferencing, and cloud storage in Google Drive.
Most of the bundle’s business apps work in the browser, meaning that as long as you have a stable internet connection, you’re able to get your work done.
Google Workspace also offers multi-device support, meaning that you can easily access and edit documents on mobile devices without sacrificing functionality.
Monthly prices start from $6 per user per month, granting you access to all the apps plus additional storage and a shiny company email.
But you can try the personal Google products (Gmail, Google Docs, and so on) for free, especially if you’re still working as a one-person operation.
This business app comes in handy for businesses that want to reduce unnecessary office equipment and do their bit for the environment.
CamScanner makes your mobile device a portable document scanner: all you need is a smartphone or tablet, an invoice, document or receipt to scan, and the mobile app.
The app ensures that all scans have high definition and can be converted to almost any file type imaginable.
And best of all – this app automatically adjusts, trims, and tidies the document up so that you’re left with a real scan, not a sloppy image.
You can either use the free version, or opt for a premium account for $4.99 per month to get more storage and remove ads and watermarks.
You need this small business app if you ever send invoices or sign contracts with freelancers or other business partners.
DocuSign is one of the best easy-to-use electronic signature apps around.
All you need to do is upload the invoice or contract to the system, create the necessary fields and add your signature.
The app will then send the document to the other party for any necessary reviews, and once signed, both parties get a copy.
And that’s not all: you can create document templates and even integrate DocuSign to your CRM to automate the process altogether.
You can try the app for free, or get a personal plan for $10 per month if you work alone. For small teams, prices start at $25 per month per user.
Teamdeck is a resource management and scheduling app designed to support remote teams.
The tool allows teams to manage everything from their timesheets, availability, and annual leave in one place.
It helps a business owner to understand what human resources are available at any given time, and plan future projects accordingly.
It’s also great for a small business that’s looking for an easy-to-use HR tool for holiday planning.
Rather than relying on static spreadsheets and back-and-forth emails, the employees can simply request and schedule vacations in the app.
Teamdeck is free for a team of 2 people, and only costs $3.99 per month thereafter per team member.
What are the best small business apps for me?
This depends on the needs, size, and field of your business.
A construction company will require a different selection of business apps and tools than a small team of career consultants.
But in general, you want to make sure that you’re using a selection of business apps for a couple of things:
Accounting and finance
It’s important for all businesses to understand their financial obligations. This way, it’s much easier to stay on top of your cash flow and understand the overall health of your company.
In general, though, most businesses need accounting software that:
- Tracks business and employee expenses
- Generates invoices, quotes, and receipts
- Creates accounting reports to aid decision-making
There’s nothing worse than misplacing an email or a chat message and ending up delivering a sub-par service to your client.
That’s why a good CRM solution can help a small business to manage orders and customer communication.
Most of the time, you can get started with basic CRM that:
- Is intuitive and easy to use
- Supports integrations with your email and accounting provider
- Allows you to track both potential and existing customers
Even at its best, project management can feel like a daunting task.
That’s why learning how to use a project management app can help to not just automate your work, but keep an eye on the bigger picture.
When choosing the right project management app for your small business, pay attention to things like:
- Number of different templates available for different projects
- Collaboration possibilities with your team
- Automation and integration options with other business apps
All-inclusive software suite
The overwhelming majority of businesses need to send emails and create spreadsheets and documents.
And that’s why opting for an all-inclusive business software bundle like Google Workspace is a must.
At the very least, a good software bundle offers you:
- All the basic text and number processing tools
- An email service, preferably with your own business domain
- Cloud storage
And last, but not least, you want an effective and efficient way to communicate with both your own team and your clients.
Most businesses opt for an internal messaging system like Slack and use Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or Zoom for both internal video meetings and client calls.
Broadly speaking, you want your communication software to:
- Offer real-time instant messaging, both in groups and in private
- Support voice and video calls
- Support file sharing, automation, and various integrations with other business apps
The best small business apps work well together
When it comes to software, a good rule of thumb is to look for apps that work with what you already use.
You should always be aiming to use business apps to automate your workflow, save money and make your life easier.
So, no matter how flashy a software solution might sound, make sure it will work with the apps you’re already using.
Otherwise, you risk having to spend more on business software and creating new practices and processes.
The better you know what your company needs and what direction it’s growing, the more informed decisions you can make.