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15 Top Small Business Apps of 2021

By Jessica Elliott Reviewed By Mike Lucas
By Jessica Elliott
By Jessica Elliott Reviewed By Mike Lucas

From communication to project management, the best business apps fit seamlessly into your workday. Explore ways to boost productivity, tackle mundane tasks and simplify complex processes using free or inexpensive tools.

Best Small Business Apps at a Glance

    • Best Small Business General Management Apps: Todo.vu and StudioCloud
    • Best Small Business Apps for Time Tracking: Toggl, Harvest and Clockify
    • Best Small Business Apps for Staff Communication: Zoom and Slack
    • Best Accounting Apps for Small Business: FreshBooks and Wave
    • Best Project Management Apps: Asana, Trello and Airtable
    • Best Digital Marketing App: Buffer
    • Best Survey App: SurveyMonkey
    • Best Customer Engagement and Reputation Management App: Podium

The best apps for small business owners include those that are inexpensive, easy to use and result in measurable improvements in your processes.

Because you and your team use many devices, your apps shouldn’t tie you to your desktop. Instead, the transition among devices should be seamless and result in real-time changes on the screen.

Browse top business apps that boost productivity and help you better manage data. Plus, discover vital features that support you and your team without adding a substantial monthly expense.

Blue background with a mobile device showing various app icons on the screen

Best Small Business General Management Apps

Keep data at your fingertips with small business apps that streamline your process. Depending on your need, you might use comprehensive, all-in-one business management software or an industry-specific system.

A general management app combines several functions into 1 application. Small business owners benefit from applications that help manage the following:

1. Todo.vu

Todo.vu eliminates the need for separate business programs. Track customers and functions on 1 platform. Use the desktop app for administrative functions, such as preparing billing reports and adding staff.

Then download the mobile app and use it to create and edit tasks, add attachments, insert comments and track time. Get mobile notifications too.

The productivity suite provides basic features for everyday use, such as checklists and file storage. It includes integrations with Google and Office 365 calendars and Google Sheets. Use this tool to track your budget and progress across projects as well.

This business app is free for solo business owners, but Todo.vu also offers a  subscription plan at $9 per person per month, capped at $99 a month. By upgrading plans, you’ll get access to more reporting, storage and customer support options.

  • Key Features of Todo.vu

    • Track time for specific tasks within projects
    • Set billing rates for trackable time
    • See completion progress on checklists
    • Create recurring jobs for easy automation
    • Keep files in 1 spot with drag and drop functionality

2. StudioCloud

StudioCloud is an all-in-one cloud-based business management system with Android and iPhone apps available. Use your smartphone or desktop to review your marketing campaign or send an invoice from anywhere.

Get more from this small business app by integrating StudioCloud with QuickBooks, MailChimp and Google Calendar.

StudioCloud’s homepage showing the business’s app on a laptop, tablet and cell phone

There is a free desktop starter version for 1 user. Plans with iPhone and Android phone and tablet apps are available at $10 for 1 user, $35 a month for 2 users or $65 for 3 users, with additional features available at each plan tier.

More features are also available for an added fee, including advanced training and support, additional storage, messaging, online booking, online forms and more.

Though many business owners can benefit from using this platform, plan features may be particularly useful for designers, photographers, videographers, massage therapists and tattoo artists.

  • Key Features of StudioCloud

    • Manage client records and scheduling and let customers book an appointment with you online
    • Use unlimited, customizable contracts with electronic signatures
    • Track payroll hours and time spent per employee per project
    • Organize marketing campaigns
    • Accept payments and run financial reports

Best Small Business Apps for Time Tracking

You can’t boost productivity until you know where your time goes. Time tracking helps you manage your costs by client or project.

The best apps for small business owners sync across devices and allow you to run reports. Plus, other features such as tagging billable hours or integrations with accounting software provide extra advantages.

3. Toggl

This free business app, available on mobile and desktop, puts time tracking at your fingertips. Use Toggl to run reports by project, client or date from anywhere across devices.

Of added benefit, Toggl integrates with more than 100 project management and productivity tools, such as Asana, Evernote and Google Drive.

Connect up to 5 team members with basic tracking features for free. For increased reporting options and to track billable hours by client, then you’ll need to upgrade to its starter or premium plan.

The costs range from $9-$18 per user per month. An enterprise solution for larger organizations is also available with custom pricing.

  • Key Features of Toggl

    • Set reminders to track time
    • Turn calendar events into a time-tracking entry
    • Manually add time to projects or client work
    • Export reports from your dashboard
    • Benefit from unlimited projects and clients

4. Harvest

Harvest takes time tracking a step further by adding in-depth reporting features. This tool helps you stay within your project budget and see where your employees’ time goes. Harvest integrates with more than 100 business apps, such as Trello, Slack and QuickBooks.

Harvest’s time-tracking app showing daily timers and weekly timesheets

There is a limited free version of Harvest, which works well for 1 person and 2 projects, but lacks data import and integration capabilities, such as with QuickBooks.

If you need access to unlimited projects and want to add team members, then you’ll pay $12 per user per month. A 10% discount is available for yearly billing. Harvest also offers a complimentary 30-day trial.

  • Key Features of Harvest

    • Create unlimited invoices and estimates
    • Approve employee timesheets
    • Send billable hours right to your invoice

5. Clockify

Take control of your time without paying a penny. This business app works seamlessly across mobile and desktop devices and is updated in real-time.

Plus, Clockify integrates with more than 50 web applications. Simply install the browser extension, and the timer button will pop up when you use  other business apps.

Clockify makes our list of best apps for small business owners because it’s 100% free yet provides you with a dashboard and great features that go beyond basic time tracking.

  • Key Features of Clockify

    • Set hourly rates and mark time as billable
    • Customize, export and share reports
    • Track time by project
    • Create timesheets for staff

Best Small Business Apps for Staff Communication

While you may do most of your communicating within a project management program, these business apps work best for when a face-to-face meeting or phone call is absolutely necessary. You don’t need a fancy setup to connect with remote teams or hold a team meeting.

6. Zoom

Zoom is one of the best free business apps on the market and works well for small businesses. You can host a meeting, conduct interviews or participate in a conference from the comfort of your office. Zoom integrates with your Google Calendar, Microsoft Office 365, Zendesk and more.

Zoom is free for meetings up to 40 minutes long for up to 100 participants. Upgrade to plans ranging from $14.99 per month per license for up to 9 licenses for unlimited meeting lengths.

If you need more than 9 licenses, there is a $19.99 per month per license plan and a higher tier plan at $30 per month per license. Paid plans offer longer sessions and cloud recording, among other advanced features. Annual billing options are also available.

  • Key Features of Zoom

    • Get unlimited 1-on-1 sessions
    • Share screens during a meeting
    • Use a virtual background

7. Slack

Slack ensures optimal collaboration. Manage who has access to different information while encouraging conversations by creating separate channels for teams, clients or projects. Benefit from Slack’s directory of many available integrations, including popular platforms like Salesforce and Dropbox.

Slack’s homepage showing how the app and conversation thread appears on desktop and mobile

This small business app is free and allows you to connect up to 10 apps and integrations and have 1-to-1 video and voice calls. Plus, gain access to 10,000 searchable messages, though you can delete threads to save space if needed.

For extra storage and features like group calls with screen sharing, upgrade your plan and pay $6.67-$12.50 per user per month. A customized enterprise plan is also available.

  • Key Features of Slack

    • Participate in video calls and chats
    • Start threads within channels for better conversations
    • Drag and drop files for easy sharing

Pink background with a mobile device showing a pie chart and bar chart on the screen

Best Accounting Apps

Managing your finances is a massive part of your overall success. That’s why choosing accounting software for your business is critical.

The best business apps are those that provide in-depth reporting features, handle invoicing and customer management with ease and work across multiple devices. And nowadays, there’s more out there than the notable QuickBooks.

8. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is designed to save you money while you’re busy earning it. This small business app adds time tracking integrations into the accounting software, so you don’t miss a minute when invoicing. Plus, FreshBooks offers over 200 integrations and works on all devices.

FreshBook’s homepage showing a person using the business app on a tablet

Monthly and annual billing is available, as well as free trials. While the monthly cost covers 1 login, you can add extra people for $10 per person per month.

Regularly, plans are $15 per month for 5 billable clients, $25 per month for 50 clients or $50 per month for 500 billable clients. However, the company is currently running a promotion, reducing pricing for the first 3 months by 70%.

Custom packages and pricing for those with additional needs are also available.

  • Key Features of FreshBooks

    • Create unlimited invoices and record expenses
    • Accept online payments
    • Get unlimited time tracking

 

9. Wave

If you need an easy solution, then Wave is the free business app for you. The basic setup handles invoicing and expenses, and you can use the mobile business app to scan receipts.

Plus, you can have an unlimited number of people access your account without paying a fee. However, free pricing doesn’t include online payments to your invoices or payroll options.

If you need payroll features for employees or contractors, then you’ll pay $20 or $35 per month plus $6 per employee or contractor. Wave offers a pay-per-use plan for accepting credit-card payments as well.

  • Key Features of Wave

    • Get unlimited income and expense tracking
    • Run multiple businesses with 1 account
    • Scan and record receipts

Yellow background with a cell phone showing a profile icon and bar chart on the screen

Best Project Management Apps

Meet your goals (and measure progress along the way) with project management application software. These cloud-based platforms increase productivity by placing all of your project details into 1 spot. Improved efficiency saves you money by keeping you on track.

10. Asana

Asana is a work management platform. It helps you collaborate with your team and measure progress on tasks and goals.

With the free plan, you’ll have access to the lists, calendar and other features that assist with project management. However, you’ll need a paid plan for in-depth reporting features. Asana integrates with Dropbox, Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365 for a smooth process.

Get basic collaboration for up to 15 team members for free. Or choose from Premium or Business plans for more features. Pricing ranges from $10.99 or $24.99 per user per month if billed annually, with savings of about 20% when compared to paying monthly

  • Key Features of Asana

    • Import your spreadsheet data
    • Get status updates on projects or tasks
    • Turn spreadsheet information into timelines
    • Add due dates to important tasks

11. Trello

Trello is a visual project management tool that works seamlessly across all devices. With Trello, you create boards for your processes. Then you add lists and cards.

Each card is customizable so that you can add due dates, checklists, links, images and more. Trello is one of the best business apps for creating and employing repeatable processes.

The free version of Trello is capable of handling most of your business needs and allows for 10 boards per team. But, if you want unlimited boards as well as integrations, automation features and security enhancements, then you’ll pay $12.50 or $17.50 per user per month, with a savings if billed annually.

  • Key Features of Trello

    • Get unlimited lists and cards
    • Automate processes for repeatable tasks
    • Create team boards for increased collaboration

12. Airtable

Airtable is the ultimate customizable solution for small business owners. This free business app is a unique hybrid database and spreadsheet combo.

Not only does it sync across all devices, but you can choose the view that works best (i.e., grid, form, Kanban, calendar or gallery).

Airtable handles customer, project and team data in 1 spot and offers many templates to help you get started.

Airtable’s website showing various features available, including prebuilt apps, schedulers and page designers

Airtable’s free plan works well for small to medium-sized companies. But, if you need more than 1,200 records per base, or collection of related tables in a project or workflow, then you’ll need to upgrade to the Plus or Pro plan.

You’ll pay $10 or $20 per user per month, respectively. An enterprise-level plan with customized pricing is also available. All plans offer access to this business app on Web, desktop, iOS and Android.

  • Key Features of Airtable

    • Collaborate in real-time with comments and edits
    • Add checkboxes, barcodes, photos and more to individual fields
    • Link records and avoid duplicate data entry
    • Unlimited bases

Best Digital Marketing App

Small business owners looking to increase their online presence often head to popular social media platforms. Makes sense in our ever-increasingly digital world.

However, when you’re trying to manage multiple channels and maintain consistency with posting, it can be challenging to handle, particularly if you’re a solopreneur or run a microbusiness. That’s where social media management tools can help.

13. Buffer

Create a posting schedule, publish tailored posts across channels and run reports. Buffer’s publishing capabilities are available via mobile apps on iOS and Android. In-depth analytics, unlimited reporting and strategy recommendations are available for an additional fee.

Try out of one the following plans for free with a complimentary 2-week trial.

  • Pro (1 user): $15 a month, includes 100 posts across 8 channels
  • Premium (2 users): $65 a month, includes 2,000 posts across 8 channels
  • Businesses (6 users): includes 2,000 posts across 25 channels
  • Key Features of Buffer

    • Benefit from more than 60 third-party integrations
    • Create custom video thumbnails
    • Post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram (and add user tags)

Best Survey App

As a small business owner, it’s vital to stay up to date on your customers’ wants and needs, likes and dislikes. Move beyond a “contact us” form or customer service email address.

Proactively engage your clients and keep your finger on the pulse with surveys. Get insight into your workplace too with employee surveys.

14. SurveyMonkey

Perform market research, get product feedback, track customer loyalty and more with this business app. If you’re just starting out, consider the free plan through which you can create unlimited 10-question surveys and promote them via 3 different formats (e.g., weblinks, mobile chat, email).

If you’re looking for additional features, consider SurveyMonkey’s individual and team plans:

  • Individual Advantage: $32 per month, billed annually
  • Team Advantage: $25 per user per month, billed annually, minimum of 3 users
  • Team Premier: $75 per user per month, billed annually, minimum of 3 users
  • Key Features of SurveyMonkey

    • Integrate data with other apps
    • Choose from dozens of survey themes and layouts
    • Add your logo and remove the SurveyMonkey footer

Best Customer Engagement and Reputation Management App

Easily request reviews from your customers, keep them engaged and encourage them to share positive experiences about your business. It can make the difference between a good year and a great year.

15. Podium

Connect with your customers easily and manage your online profile. Send out a link to your customers requesting online reviews and reply to reviews on multiple sites from 1 platform.

Plus, convert website traffic by taking it to text. Send customers invoice links and collect payments through text too.

Request a customized quote on the Podium site, though rumor has it pricing starts at $399 per month for a 1-location business.

  • Key Features of Podium

    • Facilitate streamlined customer interactions
    • Have customers leave reviews in 2 easy clicks
    • Manage conversations from anywhere with the mobile app

Incorporate Small Business Apps Into Your Workflow

The best business apps are those that make your company run better. Whether you choose an all-in-one system or opt for individual business apps, it’s essential to test what works and discard what doesn’t. Use these tools to improve your workflow so you can focus on increasing your revenue.

Jessica Elliott Contributing Writer at Fast Capital 360
Jessica is a business-to-business content strategist and consultant with 24 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. She writes about technology, marketing and finance.
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