The Best Apps and Tools for Small Business Owners

App vectors with laptop and coffee cup

Whether you are an entrepreneur, freelancer or a small business owner, you may realise there are certain things you might be lacking in comparison to large corporations, things like time, money and workforce. Completing all necessary business functions with limited resources can prove to be quite tricky, as is maintaining control and the ability to have a broader picture of how your business is moving along. Accounting, Operations, Sales and Marketing are just a few examples of such functions. The good news is that the solution exists within the thousands of applications that were created to give a helping hand in business management. Below, some of the best apps for small business owners are presented and explained. Hopefully, this list will help you manage your business better and save some time, money, and resources.

Accounting

1. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks is a cloud-based accounting application used to keep your business financials in order and on track. With QuickBooks, you can maintain a complete record of your business expenses and taxes, create professional invoices and sales receipts, schedule payments, track stock, and through a number of available and customisable reports, get a bird’s-eye view of the overall financial performance of your business.  

The application is available for computers and iOS and Android mobile devices. It comes in three different packages that meet different requirements in terms of your business size as well as the type and volume of its operations. Pricing ranges from $14/mo to $31/mo. 

2. Wave

Wave is easy-to-use accounting software, and it is suitable for small businesses with few employees, entrepreneurs, and consultants. Wave allows you to keep your finances simple and professional. It provides tools that help businesses track cash flow, manage payments, scan receipts and finally develop and present accounting reports that help present a clear business financial depiction keeping you up to date.

Wave is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. What is even more exciting is that Wave is offered for free.

Productivity

3. Slack

It has been described as an online collaboration hub due to its unique way of communicating and sharing. Slack can be the software you need to improve communication and collaboration between and within your team so you can better manage your projects. It can be integrated with a variety of other apps already widely used such as Gmail, OneDrive, Asana, Trello etc. which makes it easy to use and adaptable to your business needs.

It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and has a desktop version available. Pricing starts at €7.50 per user per month for the Standard version, or €14.10 per user per month for the Plus version. Better still; a free version is available for small teams.

4. Evernote

If you are an entrepreneur working alone or a small business owner, Evernote is for you. With Evernote, you can easily manage your time by creating a daily schedule, as well as managing projects, sharing documents, communicating and collaborating within teams. Furthermore, similar to Slack, Evernote can integrate with other apps you might use that allow better organization of your time and tasks.

It can be used on either iOS or Android devices as well as on desktop. Three plans are currently offered, the Basic (free), the Premium (€6.99/month), and the Business (€13.99 /user/month).

Time & Task Management

5. RescueTime

Sometimes we spend a lot of time on things that aren’t that important, while at other times we have no clue how much time we need to complete a task. RescueTime is an app that runs automatically while you use your computer or mobile device and tracks the time you spend on different tasks, websites or apps. It is a valuable tool in helping you realise how much time you spend or need for specific activities and with RescueTime you will be able to better manage your time and plan your day. Premium features include blocking distracting sites, tracking offline activities, setting goals, alerts and notifications.

RescueTime Lite is available for free while the Premium package with extended features is priced at $9/ month. The app is available for iOS or Android mobile devices as well as desktop versions.

6. Toggl

Toggl is similar to RescueTime with many comparable features. Toggl tracks the time you spend on specific activities and can provide you with detailed time and activity tracking data. It also includes a handy billable hours/rates feature, especially convenient for billing by time and evaluating your rates.  You can also use Toggl to track and manage your workforce’s productivity.

The app is available on both iOS and Android devices as well as desktops. The app is available with a basic free version, a $9/user/month Starter version, a $18/user/month Premium package and a customisable Enterprise plan with pricing depending on selected features.

Data Analysis

Data analysis has become a valuable and helpful tool for business functions that can offer significant insights and help in analysing and understanding important aspects of your business both internally and externally. These insights can be utilised in business improvement and development.

7. Tableau

Tableau is an analytics platform that offers you all the necessary tools to effectively gather, understand and present data. It’s a pleasant interface that allows for data analysis in a much easier and less time-consuming way by avoiding advanced and external aspects of the process. With a selection of widely used languages, it is a powerful tool in identifying overlooked opportunities and driving business development. Tableau provides solutions for a variety of different industries, whether an individual or a team/organisation, as well as an embedded analytics option that is fully customisable.

The software is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and desktop. Pricing starts at $70/user/month for the Tableau Creator, with additional packages for Tableau Explorer and Viewer etc.

8. Power BI

Power BI is a business analytics product by Microsoft. The platform allows you to visualize data and produce valuable insights that can help in the decision-making process, create custom visual reports and integrates seamlessly with the MS Office Suite. There are several different product solutions depending on your industry and requirements and needs.

Power Bi Desktop is available for free while the Power BI Pro version starts at $9.99/month/user and the Power BI Premium version with dedicated cloud resources is at $4,995/month/cloud and available after consultation. The products are available for Windows devices as well as iOS and Android.

Human Resource Management

9. GoCo.io

GoCo.io is an all-in-one HR application that enables you to automate HR practices and better manage the growing needs of your workforce, including onboarding, taxes, benefits, contracts, leave etc. This cloud-based platform takes care of the paperwork so you can focus on the people and business. It complies with recordkeeping standards and syncs seamlessly with existing payroll software. In Forbes's list of the best HR software for businesses, GoCo.io was rated the best 'all-around HR software suite'.

The software and app are available across devices, and the basic HR plan is completely free, while the Premium HR plan with unlimited customisations and access to premium Add-Ons starts at $5/month/employee + $99/month base fee

10. Humanity

This is a cloud-based application that mainly helps with the management of a workforce’s schedule. Through Humanity, every business can customize its schedule based on its needs and set up employee shifts accordingly. Employees can choose or change shifts, request time off and management can have a real-time visual of shifts, time off, labour costs and many more features. Humanity can also integrate with other HCM applications and offer a more comprehensive HR solution.

The Humanity platform is available across all devices, including mobile and offers an API for seamless integration. Prices for the Starter Package start at $2/user/month and $4/user/month for the Classic Package, with an $80 minimum per month. An additional Enterprise Package is available for larger businesses with custom pricing.

Customer Relationship Management

11. Soft1 Cloud CRM Series 5

Soft1 Cloud CRM Series 5 is an all in one SaaS CRM platform that arms you with a variety of marketing tools to better understand and serve your customers. It provides detailed information about your customers’ needs and behaviour, improving your visibility in relation to your target audience and helps improve sales, customer service and support. The information available enables the efficient and effective streamlining of orders, payments, leads and sales opportunities.

Using the Microsoft Windows Azure platform, Soft1 Series 5 CRM can be used across devices, with pricing for CRM Express starting at €34/user/month and CRM Business with advanced functionality at €75/user/month.

12. Ontraport

Ontraport is a powerful tool offering a range of solutions to help manage and increase sales funnels and online customer interaction. It allows companies to manage their client base, get a broadly analysed visualization of the customer journey, use marketing tools to drive sales, automate processes and keep track of memberships and referrals. Such data is a powerful instrument when building Digital Marketing Campaigns.

The platform is available across devices with four packages depending on the size and needs of a business. Pricing is monthly and Basic starts at $79, Plus at $147, Pro at $297 and Enterprise at $497.

Social Media Management

Managing the array of Social Media platforms available can prove to be complex and time-consuming. Social Media Management applications can provide some serious solutions to save you effort and time, and optimise your social media presence across platforms.

13. Buffer

Buffer a social media management platform that helps startup founders, entrepreneurs and business owners develop their media presence and strategy, automate posts at predefined times and to specific target audiences and respond to social conversations, all within the platform’s interface. It also provides insights through analytics reports on what works best in visibility and engaging your audience.

It can be used across devices and operating systems and pricing varies on the components you select based on needs. The full suite is available via a consultation with a dedicated account manager with prices available upon request.

14. Buzzsumo

Complementary to the many social media management tools available, Buzzsumo takes your content game to another level, arming you with incredible tools to use to develop content, social media strategy, automate analytics reports to improve engagement and help understand trends. Furthermore, BuzzSumo can help analyse and compare your performance to that of the competition, pick up trends that you need to address and connect you to the appropriate influencers to further promote your business.

Monthly pricing starts at $99 for the Pro Package, $179 for Plus, $299 for Large and upwards of $499 for the Enterprise custom plan, and is available with API integration across devices and online.  

Password Management

Nowadays, it can be frustrating for entrepreneurs and business owners to keep record of all the passwords used across all their digital tools and resources. Password management apps help keep login information available and secure at all times.

15. 1Password

1Password not only keeps record of all your passwords but also keeps them secure. It can easily be integrated with the browser you use so that you can automatically log on to your accounts. It makes life much easier since the only password you need to remember is the one you have for 1Password. Not only that, with 1Password, you can safely store additional information, such as Bank numbers, credit cards, documents etc.

It can use on both iOS and Android devices and desktop. 1Password offers packages for both personal and business use with $2.99/month for personal use, $4.99/month for family, and three packages for business use starting at $3.99/user/month to $7.99/user/month to the custom Enterprise package with a custom quote.

16. LastPass

LastPass works in a very similar way to 1Password, providing high security for your passwords, account numbers, credit cards, documents etc. Through this application, you can also securely share information with others.

LastPass can integrate with your browser and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. There are several packages for personal and business use with price ranging from $36/year/user to $96/year/user, with the most basic personal package being offered for free.

Design Development

17. Canva

Canva is a design app, and a useful solution for non-designers to create a variety of custom and template-based visuals for a multitude of uses. Its drag and drop interface makes it very easy to use and it includes a variety of templates that can be customised to create flyers, pictures, posters and much more, as well as templates for specific social media pages such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest etc.

There is a free version for basic use and the Pro version for extended features and tools at $12.95/user/month. A custom Enterprise package is available with even more features with pricing upon request. Canva is available across all devices.

18. 99designs

99designs is an online platform that connects freelancing graphic designers with clients. Depending on your needs and budget, you can find a specific designer to work with or open submissions for designers to offer their ideas and designs. The platform offers you access to creative professionals across the world from the convenience of a single interface. You can choose between several design categories such as Logo & Identity, Video & Animation, Business & Advertising and many more.

The pricing depends on your needs and design category and bundles are available combining design items within and across categories for increased savings. For Agencies, there is a PRO version to handle their larger volume and needs.

Dealing with stress and anxiety

Being a business owner can be hard at times. Especially being involved in today’s business world where everything moves faster than ever, it requires a lot of effort and work to keep track with everything that is changing around us. This fast-paced and ever-evolving lifestyle might provide for some excitement, but can also cause and increase stress and anxiety that may lead to burnout. Technology once again offers a variety of apps to help alleviate some of the burden.

19. Headspace

Headspace is your ‘personal meditation guide’, helping you deal with high stress and anxiety and assist in improving your focus and sleep. The app is available for both iOS or Android devices and is offered for free while you may purchase additional features as you go.

20. Sanvello

Sanvello, formerly known as Pacifica, is another app to help you deal with several personal issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. It offers a variety of in-app resources and tools in the free basic version, while the Premium version at $8.99/month offers additional features and a complete content library and tools. It is available for both iOS and Android devices.

 

The variety and functionality of available apps for each aspect of your business needs grows and improves at a fast pace, and new apps and software are continually developed to address new and changing needs. The important thing here is to be able to choose the one which meets your business’ requirements and needs. Remember what industry you are operating in, where you stand in the market, which target group you serve and last but not least which one of those apps could bring the most value to your business and benefits to you on all levels.