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The Best Apps For Small Business Management
January 08, 2020
Best apps for small business

The Best Apps For Small Business Management

While running a small business, there will be many times when you’re pulled in multiple directions. Of course, you’re in charge of daily operations. But you also have to handle your employees, payroll, marketing, and whatever else may come up.

When the demands of the small business ownership world feel like they’re too much to handle, never fear. There’s an arsenal of productivity and business management apps out there to help. From delegating employee tasks to maintaining a robust to-do list and managing your business expenses, there’s a solution to every problem.

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The Rise Of Mobile Devices Makes Business More Effective

With the growth of mobile device use in the business world, increases in effectiveness are difficult not to correlate. There are numerous apps out there that integrate seamlessly into your business to provide stronger insight into operations and overall efficiency.

However, the question remains: Which small business apps are best for performing various tasks? The answer to this is mostly dependent on personal preference, industry, and how you want your business to grow.

Still, if you don’t want to take the time to wade through a sea of similar apps, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading to find out how you can stay on top of business tasks by utilizing different mobile apps.

The Best Apps For Small Business Productivity

There are ample task-oriented apps on the market. However, before diving into those specifically, there are a few useful and versatile productivity apps that are beneficial for small businesses. These work great, regardless of the size of your business.

1. Todoist

Todoist is the perfect blend of minimalism and functionality in a to-do list app. With cross-platform support and stellar features, it’s the juggernaut of all things list-building. They have natural language input and productivity reports, collaboration features, offline functionality, and more.

This is all available in the free version of Todoist. However, there’s a paid version that kicks things up a notch. The team-focused version is $5 per month per user.

2. Evernote

Evernote lets users “clip” pieces of information from anywhere online. These pieces can be tagged for effective search. They can also be altered with additions, subtractions, and embedding of rich media.

In addition, Evernote is perfect for quick note-taking, to-do list development, journaling, recipes, contacts, and more. This is all available completely free. However, they also have a business level of software. This is $15 monthly per user and offers additional features and unlimited upload space.

3. Pocket

Pocket is the perfect app for “saving things for later.” It focuses on the clipping and snipping aspect also found in Evernote. With Pocket, users can save articles, videos, and anything else online to absorb at a later time.

One of the biggest draws to Pocket is that everything saved is viewable offline. They also have an advanced premium version for $5 per month.

The Best Apps For Small Business Time Management

Whether a small business needs to maintain employee accountability, or a freelancer needing to track hours for clients, time management apps are ideal for ensuring time spent on tasks is appropriately logged. Below are our three top choices for the best apps for small business owners looking to capitalize on time management.

1. Toggl

With just a single click, Toggl’s time tracking tools will reveal where you or your employee’s time goes. This is perfect for people looking to log billing hours.

Toggl is ideal for team and project management as well. It provides reports, exports, and syncing between multiple other apps. While free for five users, a Pro version allows unlimited users.

2. RescueTime

Digital distractions are the bane of productivity. Whether your vice is Facebook, Reddit, or something else, RescueTime helps to form accountability. This intuitive app breaks down the pain points where time is wasted the most. It assists in developing productivity goals as well.

A paid, premium version of RescueTime allows blocking of specific sites, tracking of offline activity, and timers and notifications.

3. Eternity Timelog

Eternity Timelog realizes that productivity pushes past when you step out of the office. It breaks your day into three sections: Work, sleep and play. From here, you can track time with tags and labels, and set multiple concurrent timers. Although it’s an older app, it is entirely free to use.

The Best Apps For Project Management

Project management apps assist your small business with ensuring everything remains on track in the day-to-day. They are focused on streamlining workflows and centralizing communication. This all leads to more effective use of time for all.

1. Trello

Trello has quickly become one of the most straightforward and most well-known project management suites online. With a focus on the visual, this card-based mobile and online app is perfect for ensuring teams remain engaged. It is swift to learn and is free for personal use. For Trello for Business, expect to pay $9.99 per user per month.

2. Asana

Asana is the perfect project management app for anyone whose work is very checklist-focused. Prioritization is a breeze, and a flexible interface ensures that there is a format that works for all team members. With extensive integrations with tools like Evernote, Slack, WordPress, Box, and more, Asana is a project management swiss army knife.

Basic Asana is free for up to 15 users, and a premium version begins at only $10.99 per month.

3. Basecamp

Basecamp is a very well-known app for project management due to its streamlined, intuitive interface. This app allows you to chat inside projects, invite others to collaborate, track progress, build checklists, attach files, and more. There are also workflow calendars to ensure everything remains on track in the long run.

Payment for Basecamp is on a per-project basis, as users are unlimited. Basecamp Business is $99 a month for unlimited everything.

The Best Apps For Payment Accepting

Unless you run a nonprofit, not getting paid isn’t a feasible option. Thanks to the consistent flow of new and efficient payment apps, getting paid is easier than ever. Whether a brick and mortar POS or strictly online, below are three of our favorite options for accepting payments.

1. PayPal Here

With PayPal’s Here payment system, you receive a card reader that pairs with your device to receive payments. PayPal receives commissions on a 2.7 percent -per-swipe basis, not a monthly fee. PayPal Here can also process invoices, checks, and payments straight from PayPal. 

The only downside is that PayPal acts as a middleman. Your payments are received in your PayPal account, which then has to be transferred to a bank account.

2. Square

If you have a business dependent on point of sale purchases but face limited budgeting for a full-fledged payment system, Square is ideal. With a plug-in card reader, your mobile device transforms into a complete POS system, allowing you to process payments and accept credit cards.

Square is the granddaddy of no monthly fee payment processing. Instead, it’s 2.75% per swipe transaction (slightly higher in entered manually).

3. Dwolla

Unlike PayPal Here and Square, Dwolla doesn’t offer a POS card swiper. However, if your small business accepts bank transfers, it is the perfect option because it’s free.

Mass payments can be requested or accepted, recurring payments set up, and fee scheduled customized. If you need more heavy-duty options, there are user-friendly, paid business plans available as well.

Best Apps For Team Communication

The Best Apps For Inter-Team Communication

While project and time management apps assist with assigning tasks and getting things done, you’ll likely need fast methods of communication with team members. This is where inter-team communication apps step up as a superior alternative to traditional email. Below are our top three choices.

1. Slack

Slack is the chat app that all other chat apps try to mirror. Filtering and searching are simple, the channel format is incredibly useful, and the interface is minimalist and user-friendly. Notifications are highly customizable, perfect for only seeing what matters most.

Basic Slack is free for unlimited users, with a 10,000 message rotating cull. A premium paid version with unlimited messaging and storage is $6.67 per month per user.

2. Skype For Business

Skype is one of the oldest remaining inter-team communication options. Owned by Microsoft, Skype for Business provides opportunities for large-scale meetings, Office integration, file transfer, and much more. 

Skype for business comes bundled with the Business package for Microsoft Office 365. The full suite starts at $8.25 monthly per user.

3. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a next-generation chat platform built to replace Skype for Business. Drawing off many of the successful features of Slack, Teams is Microsoft’s answer to a fully-integrated small business suite.

While free for most small business’ needs, growing companies may want to try the $5 per user per month option available with the Office 365 Business Essentials pack.

The Best Apps For Accounting and Finance

Getting paid is one thing; paying for your expenses is another. There comes a point where spreadsheets won’t cut it, especially once tax season rolls around. Below are three of the best accounting and finance apps to ensure the books are balanced.

1. Freshbooks

Looking for a simple solution for accounting in your service-focused small business? Freshbooks has you covered with a minimalist, intuitive option providing extensive functionality. You can log receipts, track hours, and send invoices from your mobile device, integrate with third-party platforms, and more.

The Lite version of Freshbooks is $15 a month, with additional options as your small business grows.

2. Wave

If you are strapped for cash and need a quick, simple bookkeeping solution, look no further than Wave. For under ten employees, Wave is one of the best free apps for small business owners (but ad-supported) and features many of the same advantages of competing accounting software. If you want to accept payments or handle payroll, though, expect to pay.

3. Quickbooks Online

Quickbooks is easily the most often used of all accounting apps by small businesses. Intuit’s Quickbooks Online is its cloud-based solution. They provide a simple, user-friendly interface, and stellar integration with third-party services. 

Basic Quickbooks Online is only $8 a month and includes check printing, invoicing, and integration with banks.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].