Small businesses have finite resources. They operate on limited budgets and are often manned by just a handful of people. But that doesn’t automatically mean that their chances for success are limited too. With hard work and dedication (and a few nifty modern tools), these businesses can realize their potential. They can even become global brands.
Small businesses can now get help they need from modern technology. And it’s not just about the machines, computers, and devices that usually eat a chunk of a small businesses’ budget. Tech also comes in the form of apps—applications and software that serve as tools to get the job done efficiently and affordably.
Here’s a list of some of the most useful apps for small business, available for free or at a very affordable price.
Google Workspace (formerly Google Apps for Work)
Google’s tool box, Google Workspace, contains all the essentials you need to get your work done. This includes the ubiquitous Gmail™, collaboration-friendly Google Docs™, easy-to-integrate Google Calendar™, and the messaging alternative, Google Hangouts™.
Gmail is probably the most common and trusted email tool today. It’s a must for small businesses to sign up for an account, because it’s the easiest (and most affordable) way for your customers and potential clients to reach you.
With Google Docs, you can enjoy real-time collaboration since it allows online file sharing and editing. Your team will be able to create and edit documents together, even when they’re working remotely.
For project management, you can get a lot of help from Google Calendar. You can integrate this tool with the other tools in the suite, like your Gmail and Google Docs. This way, you can create events, set reminders, and get push notifications for meetings without leaving your digital workspace. Lastly, Hangouts pretty much gives you a free conferencing solution, perfect for small businesses with just a handful of people. You can meet your entire team via webcam and use it for your daily meetings, especially if you or some of your employees are working remotely.
Trello is a perfect app for the budding entrepreneur who’s replete with ideas but has limited funds for pursuing them. This tool helps you track and manage your projects on the go. You can use the app on your phone or tablet, enabling you to do actual work away from your office desk.
Trello is a useful SMB tool because it breaks down your projects into “cards,” which will be loaded with attachments, comments, and clarifications as work on the project gets completed. This means you’ll be able to quickly view the progress of each of your endeavors without wasting a lot of time on messy spreadsheets. You can track the ongoing tasks, the people working on them, the clients and orders, and more. You can even integrate it with Google Docs and other productivity apps on this list.
Glip by RingCentral offers communication and collaboration in one solid package. It is the perfect app for your mobile workforce because it provides a unified workspace that’s packed with all the productivity features necessary for teamwork.
Glip aims to streamline all the communication and collaboration processes of your business. In doing so, you can say goodbye to all the emails and scattered discussions and be able to sift through files and documents thrown around during meetings. Within the Glip platform, your teams share not only files, but also tasks, conversations, and calendars that you can access anytime, wherever you are.
Real-time messaging through Glip’s main messaging feature is hassle-free. You can create team chats based on projects, or directly and privately message any contact if necessary. You can share documents, create and complete tasks, and set reminders as you chat without the need to leave the platform. And just like most modern online tools, you can also integrate essential apps into Glip, to match the needs of your small business.
Deputy is a scheduling and shift planning app, designed with modern startups and small businesses in mind. It’s because these organizations are the ones who can’t spend a lot on the more trivial tasks of running a business, such as employee schedules and shift tracking.
Like most of the apps on the list, Deputy is created for the mobile manager. This is a pretty nifty tool for checking on your employees and their schedules, as well as communicating with colleagues and supervisors. The app gives your business its own “newsfeed,” wherein managers can post anything related to your business. The app can also be used for scheduling, adding and approving timesheets, creating and assigning tasks, and more. Regular employees can use Deputy to view and comment on the newsfeed, start and stop shifts, request leaves, view and finish tasks, and more.
If your business uses email as its main avenue for marketing, then the MailChimp app is a must-have. You can create and send campaigns, manage your subscribers, and keep track of your account activity just through the app. Its main draw is its easy-to-use-and-create email interface, wherein you can send well-crafted marketing emails within the app. This allows you to advertise your small business on the go, which is a must for startups run by a modern mobile workforce.
But the best part about MailChimp is having access to your data on the go. You get access to a mobile dashboard, complete with all the metrics that matter in a single view. You can go through the numbers as you commute to work, or spot trends in your audience as you grab your lunch. Plus, you can also set up notifications for your sales, as the app instantly alerts you when you make one.
One of the most important tasks for a small business owner is keeping track of finances. But monitoring your business’s financial condition can be resource consuming. With QuickBook’s accounting software, you can keep track of your small business’s finances. Use the app to store and track your company’s expenses and revenues, and even use it to pay your staff and partner establishments.
Easily upload images of invoices from your mobile phone or tablet, and QuickBook’s expense tracking feature will capture and store the data for you. You can also use the app to ensure accurate filing of taxes, another bothersome but necessary duty for every business owner.
With the help of the abovementioned apps for small business, your organization can be a step closer to success. Streamline your processes with the help of these modern tools. Download these apps on your mobile devices, and you’ll be able to run your business from virtually anywhere. Equip your mobile workforce with the right tools for the job, and they’ll be able to work more productively and efficiently.
Are you willing to give any of these apps a try? Sound off on the comments. Share your thoughts and experiences!
Originally published Apr 25, 2018, updated Sep 15, 2020