Choosing the best small business apps is a daunting yet essential task, especially in 2021, when there’s an app for everything. The perfect combination of desktop and mobile business apps could be the key to success for a small business, company, or startup. The use of outdated or impractical apps, however, could lead to failure. That’s why it’s crucial to make the right decision when it comes to small business apps.
Consider the type of technology your business might need—this will depend on the number of employees, their ages and skillsets, and the nature of your business. Some apps will make your life much easier, while others may prove useless. If you need a bit of guidance on which e-commerce, design, productivity, communication, organization, content management, payment processing, or accounting apps to choose, use this list as a handy guide to help you find the essential apps that will work best for your business.
Best small business apps for e-commerce
If you’re running an e-commerce business, the small business apps you use are especially crucial. If a potential customer spends too much time on or has any trouble with finding what they need, adding items to their virtual cart, or checking out, the bigger chance they become frustrated, exit your website, and take their shopping business elsewhere. These apps will ensure that doesn’t happen for your e-commerce business.
When it’s time to let go of your e-commerce business, what do you do? Rather than closing up shop, you could make money selling your business on Exchange Marketplace. It is also a useful tool for those looking to start a business but wanting to avoid the trouble of establishing a website, as there are hundreds of already-running sites available for purchase on the app.
Kickstarting your e-commerce business has never been as easy as it is in 2021 with the Shopify business app. “The all-in-one commerce platform to start, run, and grow a business” facilitates growth, from essential features like tracking business metrics to extras like a website blog. You’ll also find thousands of small business apps that you can install to make your online store even better.
Your dropshipping business success hinges on your ability to find the best products for your customers. Oberlo can help you make sure that you don’t drop the ball—it’s a dropshipping app that can help you find the best items to sell on your e-commerce website, and choose the ones that will help you make money online.
Best small business apps for design
The best design apps for your small business will depend on your needs. If you’re only creating logos or graphics here and there, you can get away with a free or inexpensive design app. If you need to create lots of high-quality images or print materials, you probably need something a little more powerful. Browse the apps below and see which one is right for your business.
When it comes to marketing a new small business (or rebranding an established one), the first thing you need is a recognizable logo. Hatchful is a logo-creation app that can assist with this task. Many small businesses aren’t able to hire a logo designer, but Hatchful can help even the smallest company create a unique, customized logo for free.
5. Adobe Creative Cloud
This suite of business apps has a long history as the go-to for creative professionals. While it is pricey, especially when you are considering business plans, professional designers and other creatives will often settle for nothing less than Adobe CC—and they’ll use it to create powerful designs, photography, and other creative assets with Photoshop, InDesign, and other programs.
Canva is a design app that anyone can use to create social media assets, logos, print-out materials like cards or flyers, and more. You can use the templates provided, or create your designs from scratch.
Best small business apps for productivity
Productivity apps are the bread and butter of business software, so you must choose wisely between these two sets of apps. If you do most of your work on a computer, you will likely be doing most of it within one of these software suites.
7. Office 365
Since most people are familiar with its capabilities, Microsoft Office is a group of software that has been around for almost thirty years. Business apps like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are powerful productivity apps your employees will likely already know how to use. You can access them all on the Office 365 subscription service.
8. G Suite
If your business thrives on collaboration, you should opt for G Suite. Google Docs, Drive, Calendar, and other G Suite business apps have built-in features that allow for exchanging feedback, revisions, and integration with video conferencing and email tools.
Best small business apps for communication
A business will surely crumble without the ability to communicate internally amongst employees and externally with clients or customers. Open the lines of communication and choose one of these small business apps.
Shopify Email does more than just allow you to compose sleek-looking emails and send them to groups of people. As a full-on marketing platform, it’s a valuable business communication app that helps you analyze the performance of your emails, find unique email templates, and more.
Slack is a business app that has revolutionized the way colleagues communicate with one another because it operates more like an internet chat room than an email thread, communications on Slack flow more freely and easily.
11. Constant Contact
This business communication app allows you to create email templates and upload subscriber lists. This small business app makes it easy to put together email blasts and track analytics on them: upload and store visual assets, templates, and lists within the software.
Best small business apps for organization
The only way a small business can maximize its productivity is if it stays organized. These business apps can help your employees stay focused and do their best work, and they can also help business owners and managers delegate tasks and keep tabs on their workers.
An app like Asana can assist with grouping, assigning, and completing tasks of all sorts, and help your team communicate, staying on the same page about who is working on which assignments. As a bonus, Asana can also integrate with Slack, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
This business app is similar to Asana, but has a slightly different look and feel. It can also integrate with Google, Slack, and other applications. Choosing an app will come down to what enables your team to be the most productive it can be, and that might mean experimenting with the free versions of these business apps before you decide on the best one for you.
Airtable is a database software app that differs from Asana or Trello in that it is formatted more like an Excel spreadsheet than a to-do list or card-based drag-and-drop task organization system. You can also use it to upload and store files, and as a CRM system as well.
Best small business apps for video conferencing
Video-conferencing apps are essential apps for business, especially if any number of your employees work remotely. The ability to chat with your colleagues in person is ideal, but with these apps, you can come pretty close to the real thing from the comfort of your home office, or on the go.
In 2021, one video conferencing app has risen to the top of the pack. That app is Zoom—it’s webinar capabilities and its chat function are both useful for both work and play. You can start with a free basic account, then if you need to, upgrade to Pro, Business, or Enterprise Zoom for longer meetings, more participants, and other features.
Skype is another popular video conferencing tool that is perfect for businesses that use Microsoft Teams for other internal communications, as Skype can easily integrate with the program. Useful features also include call forwarding and the ability to record calls through Skype.
17. Google Hangouts
If your business utilizes Gmail and G Suite, Google Hangouts is the ideal video conferencing software for communication without a hitch. Google Hangouts can be accessed from any device connected to a Google account, so it is suitable for video conferencing on the go too.
Best content management system (CMS) apps for small business
Your small business can always benefit from a website. Why not introduce an online shop or blog to generate some extra income or traffic? As long as you’re using a capable content management system (CMS), you can freely experiment. Pick one of these CMS small business apps to best suit your current needs.
The great thing about Hubspot is that in addition to being a CMS, it’s also a CRM (customer-relationship management software) and supports email communication. That means that you can keep track of sales leads and send emails in the same software in which you publish content.
Buffer helps you manage your social media content. You can use business apps like Buffer to schedule your social media posts, track it’s success, and monitor your overall performance. You can also check out small business apps like Hootsuite, Later, and Tailwind, which do the same thing.
Best small business apps for payment processing/POS
Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar business or your startup is strictly online, if you’re accepting payment from customers, you will need a way to process it. The best business apps for payment processing typically have features that can help you do other things, like tracking and analyzing sales data and processing employee payroll.
20. Shopify Payments
Shopify Payments is a simple way to accept payments online. It helps remove any frustrations of working with payment processors by making the process of accepting payments easy. It automatically transfers funds into your bank account. Shopify Payments works in countless countries all over the world to help support the smallest to the biggest online businesses with their payment processing.
As a trusted app for online money transfer, individuals, small businesses, and enterprise businesses alike use PayPal to help accept and send payments. It’s one of the most popular payment processing apps to get started with—anyone can set up a merchant account for free.
22. QuickBooks GoPayment
If you’re already using QuickBooks, TurboTax, or Mint to keep track of expenses and do your accounting, you might want to consider using QuickBooks GoPayment for payment processing. It will integrate with your bookkeeping software, saving you some trouble.
Best small business apps for accounting
While they aren’t the most glamorous and don’t contain many fun bonus features, accounting apps are, without a doubt, the most essential apps for small businesses. Bookkeeping and taxes might sound complicated, but these small business apps help make the job a lot easier.
This small business accounting app can help business owners track income, expenses, bills, invoices, etc. Choose a tier of QuickBooks software according to the size of your business and your accounting/bookkeeping needs, and never worry again about keeping your finances in order.
You can keep your accounting, invoices, and receipts organized in Wave for free, use the app to process payments on a per-use basis, or upgrade the software to support payroll processing.
While it’s not an app wholly dedicated to accounting, Expensify can be a very helpful app for businesses that need to process a lot of expense reports. Submitting a report with this business app can be as simple as taking a picture of a receipt.
Like small businesses themselves, small business apps come in many different shapes and sizes and serve all kinds of often-overlapping purposes. Some essential business apps on this list are necessary for your business to stay running. Others, however, are apps you probably aren’t sure you need. Luckily, many of these apps offer free essential services that allow you to experiment and see if they’re the right software for you. Try them out until you find the best business apps for you, your employees, and your customers.