We won’t sugarcoat it: you have a lot to get done. It’s the nature of the beast as a business owner, and it’s why 72% of small business owners admit to feeling overwhelmed.
What can you do? Care less about your business? Accept that this is the way things are and learn to live with the stress? Cross your fingers and hope you hit the lottery?
None of those options seem all that realistic. Fortunately, leaning on some technology solutions can help you streamline your business operations, boost your productivity, manage your tasks and projects, and reduce your stress.
In no particular order, this article breaks down 50 of the best business apps for small business owners, categorized by what you need to get done.
Best business apps: an overview
- Best for productivity: Evernote, Pocket, RescueTime, Todoist, Google Drive, Focus Booster, Forest, Zapier
- Best for communication: Slack, Boomerang, Unroll.Me, Sortd, FollowUpThen, SaneBox, InboxPause, Zoom
- Best for accounting and finances: QuickBooks, QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets), Simple Loan Calculator, Mint
- Best for marketing: Mailchimp, Canva, Buffer, Clover Rewards, Mention, Bitly, Pablo, Google My Business, SurveyMonkey
- Best for CRM: HubSpot CRM, Capsule CRM, Salesforce Essentials, Streak, Google Sheets, Zendesk Sell, DocuSign
- Best for project management: Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Airtable, Monday.com, Smartsheet
- Best for mental health and managing stress: Headspace, Stop, Breathe * Think, Breathe2Relax, Sanvello, My Mood Tracker, Personal Zen, Calm, The Good Cards
Best business apps for productivity
Tired of having random lists and sticky notes scattered everywhere? Evernote helps you organize all of your random information in one app, so you never lose track of anything. You can add checklists, documents, images, web pages, and more. Plus, the search feature makes it easy to find exactly what you need.
Price: Free, premium plans start at $7.99 per month
You’re busy. When you find something interesting online, you don’t always have time to check it out right then and there. Rather than making a mental note (which is bound to fall out of your brain!) or cluttering your camera roll with unhelpful screenshots, use Pocket to quickly save articles, videos, and more from any publication, page, or app. Keep that content in one spot, and return to it when you have some downtime.
Price: Free, premium plans start at $4.99 per month
As a business owner, your days pass by in a blur. But, what do you really get done in those working hours? And more importantly, how can you be more effective with the time you have? RescueTime automatically tracks and categorizes your hours, websites, and apps and then gives you detailed reports of how you’re spending your time on your digital devices, so you can start making some positive changes.
Price: Free, premium plans start at $6 per month
If you think you’ll never do away with a pen and paper to-do list, Todoist might just change your mind. This app allows you to quickly get all of those tasks out of your brain and jotted down, organize and prioritize them, and even delegate them to different people on your team. It integrates with a lot of the apps you might already be using (like your calendar or Dropbox) to make managing your to-dos even more streamlined.
Price: Free, premium plans start at $3 per month
5. Google Drive
No more emailing yourself a document so you can access it on your laptop or setting reminders to back up your files to an external harddrive. Google Drive is a file storage service that allows you to organize all of your files into folders and access them from whatever device you’re on—whether it’s your phone, tablet, or computer. The best part? It’s all stored in the cloud, so you know it’s secure. Even if your device crashes, you’ll be able to get all of those documents back.
Price: First 15 GB of storage are free, upgraded storage starts at $1.99 per month
You might think that lengthy work sessions are the secret to productivity, but plenty of research has indicated that brief breaks are good for you. That’s why the Pomodoro Technique (which requires you to work in 25-minute chunks with five-minute breaks in between) has become so popular. Focus Booster is a Pomodoro timer that helps you track your work sessions, break when you’re supposed to, and review past work sessions.
Price: Free, premium option starts at $2.99
Constantly reaching for your phone is a surefire way to sidetrack your productivity, but that ever-present distraction can be hard to resist. Use Forest to make it fun. Whenever you want to stay away from your phone and focus, use the Forest app to plant a tree. The longer you stay away from your phone, the bigger the tree will grow. But, if you close out of the Forest app to do something else on your device, the tree will be killed. Soon you’ll be competing with yourself to see just how big your trees can get!
Automating your routine tasks can save you a lot of time, but the process can also seem daunting. Using Zapier, you can connect tons of the apps you’re using to automatically handle rote tasks that take up your time. Whether you want to automatically save email attachments to Google Drive or want to add Mailchimp subscribers from a Google Sheets spreadsheet, you’ll shave precious moments off of your workday.
Price: Free, premium plans start at $19.99 per month
Best business apps for communication
Email is necessary for running your business. But, if you’re aiming to thin your inbox—especially when it comes to communicating with your employees—Slack is a great instant messaging option. You can categorize conversations in different channels, share files, tag team members, and send direct messages.
Price: Free, premium plans start at $6.67 per active user per month
The middle of the night might seem like the perfect time to draft that email (hey, it’s fresh in your brain!), but it’s probably not the best time to send it. With Boomerang, you can write that email now and schedule it to send later. You can also maintain a cleaner inbox by sending emails out of your inbox and scheduling a better time for them to return and be dealt with.
Price: Free, premium plans start at $4.99 per month
Your inbox is stuffed to the gills. But how many of those emails do you actually need? Way more of them are junk than you’d like to admit, yet unsubscribing is tedious and time-consuming. Unroll.Me gives you a neat list of all of your subscription emails so you can easily unsubscribe from whatever you don’t want with just a single click. Have some favorite subscriptions you want to keep? Combine them into a single email that will be delivered to you.
In a lot of ways, your inbox acts as your to-do list. Sortd helps you make those messages even more actionable by transforming your Gmail inbox into your workspace. You can drag and drop messages into different categories that you set yourself.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $6 per user per month
You want to keep up with your prospective clients and customers, but remembering when to follow up is tough to manage with your busy schedule. FollowUpThen makes it simple to send yourself a follow-up reminder by simply typing your desired time in the address field (i.e. email@example.com). When that time rolls around, you’ll get a friendly nudge that it’s time to check in again.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $2 per month
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive email solution, SaneBox fits the bill. This tool is all about removing the stress from your inbox by identifying important messages, hiding distractions, blocking obnoxious senders, and reminding you to follow-up.
Price: Plans start at $7 per month
15. Inbox Pause
If you’re somebody who can’t resist the siren song of your inbox and let’s new messages throw you off track all day, Inbox Pause from Boomerang will eliminate that distraction. You’ll select times when your inbox should be paused, which means new email won’t arrive until you’re ready for it. You also have the option to turn on an auto-responder that lets people know when you’re checking your messages again, and you can make exceptions for certain senders or messages.
If you need to correspond with customers, vendors, or employees who aren’t located near you, a video chat is a great alternative to a face-to-face conversation. However, you want a reliable platform that won’t frustrate you with glitches and freezing. Zoom is a video conferencing solution that allows you to connect with whoever you need to—without any headaches and hassles.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $14.99 per host per month
Best business apps for accounting and finances
Whether you love or hate accounting, it’s an important part of running your business. Fortunately, QuickBooks is your one-stop shop to create estimates, send invoices, track mileage and expenses, generate business reports, and more. Not a numbers person? Don’t worry; QuickBooks is straightforward to use.
Price: Plans start at $12 per month
If you dread running payroll each month, QuickBooks Time is here to remove a little pain from the process. With employee time tracking (and a time clock!), project tracking, and scheduling tools, you can say goodbye to manual processes that eat up your time and ensure accurate payroll every single time.
Price: Plans start at $25 per month base fee, plus $8 per user per month
Need to take out a loan for your business? Using this app, you can plug in your loan amount and other information, and get an instant glimpse at your monthly payment, the total amount of interest you’ll pay, and more. This app is exclusively for Android, but Apple offers plenty of similar options.
It’s way too easy to lose track of where your money is going. Link your accounts to Mint, and you’ll get a look at everything from your balances and bills to your credit score. In addition to always getting a glimpse at your financial health, Mint also offers tips for how you can save more money along the way.
Best business apps for marketing
Consider Mailchimp an all-in-one marketing platform for your business. You can send email campaigns to promote your products and current offers, of course. But, you can also create landing pages, postcards, and so much more. The best news? It’s surprisingly simple to do so. Marketing your business doesn’t need to be overwhelming.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $9.99 per month
Sure, you’re a business owner. But, you don’t pride yourself on your design chops. Whether you want to create a social media post, a poster, a t-shirt, a flyer, or something else, Canva’s drag and drop interface and helpful tools allow you to create top-notch graphics and materials that look like they were done by a professional.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $9.95 per month
You know you need to be posting to your business’ social media accounts, but you don’t have the time to do so consistently. Buffer is a scheduling tool you can use to queue up social media posts (including images and links) for all of your different channels. You’ll also have access to analytics to see how your social media content is performing.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $15 per month
24. Clover Rewards
Customer loyalty programs are effective, but they can be a burden to manage. Clover Rewards digitizes your program so that you can offer your customers punch cards to redeem different rewards you have set up. Beyond being easy for you to handle, your customers are bound to appreciate it—they always have their phones on them, which means they won’t have to remember to bring their punch card in each time.
Your business’ reputation means everything to you. If only you could know what people are saying—even when you aren’t around. Mention gives you that power. You can set up alerts to be notified when your business (or any other key terms you set) are mentioned across the web. Mention also offers functionality to share content with your community and generate more positive mentions.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $25 per month
If you’re frequently sending links to your customers or sharing them on social media, those long lines of jumbled letters and numbers can be unsightly. Bitly shortens your link to something simple, and you can even brand your link if you choose to do so. You can also monitor your analytics to see how many clicks your links are generating.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $29 per month
If you’re still feeling intimidated by the design needs of your business, Pablo by Buffer is even more straightforward than Canva. It offers easy-to-use templates and images so you can quickly create graphics for your social media accounts.
You know how important Google is for your business. With the Google My Business app (available for both Apple and Android), you can respond to reviews and messages, update your business profile, upload photos, create offers, and get real-time notifications when a customer connects with your business. It’s a must-have for any business owner.
The best way to know what your customers are thinking? Ask them. SurveyMonkey will help you create customized and branded surveys to pick the brains of your customers and use those insights to improve your business.
Price: Free, paid business plans start at $25 per user per month
Best CRM apps for small business
30. HubSpot CRM
It’s tough to think of a CRM without thinking of HubSpot. But, if you think this tool is only meant for sales leaders, think again. Their free CRM is a great, easy-to-use solution for business owners who want to track their contacts and customers, and even send bulk emails directly from the platform.
31. Capsule CRM
Capsule CRM is comprehensive. There’s content management, tasks and calendars, sales pipeline management, and detailed reports. However, that doesn’t mean it’s overly complex. The platform prides itself on being intuitive to use, and also integrates with many of the apps you’re already using (including QuickBooks!).
Price: Free, paid plans start at $18 per user per month
Salesforce Essentials is built specifically with small businesses in mind. You can pull your customer data from email, calendar, spreadsheet, phone, chat, social channels, and more and automatically track your emails, calls, and meetings—without a ton of manual data entry.
Price: $25 per user per month
If you aren’t sold on using an entirely different CRM platform, you’ll be relieved to discover that Streak operates directly inside your Gmail inbox. You can track views of your emails, schedule emails to be sent later, personalize mass emails, and more.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $49 per user per month
34. Google Sheets
A CRM can seem intimidating, especially if you haven’t used one before. For those who want to keep things simple, a spreadsheet in Google Sheets will allow you to store customer information and track your information in a straightforward way. Plus, all of that information will be automatically backed up to the cloud, so you don’t need to stress about storage or security.
35. Zendesk Sell
For larger teams or businesses with a dedicated sales staff, Zendesk Sell offers SalesForce automation software to enhance your productivity and close more sales. Automated scoring rules will help your team identify the highest value leads, and the platform will also automatically track over half a million data points for every single one of your customers.
Price: Paid plans start at $19 per user per month
While it’s not actually a CRM, DocuSign is an important tool for streamlining your customer or client experience. Avoid tracking down scanners or printing lengthy contracts and use DocuSign to easily collect electronic signatures on important documents.
Price: $10 per user per month
Best business apps for project management
You’re spinning a lot of plates as a business owner, and it’s tough to track progress on all of those different tasks and goals. Trello uses the Kanban approach, where you’ll slide different tasks (known as “cards” on the Trello board) through different phases—such as to do, doing, and done. You’ll instantly get a grasp of where all of your projects stand, and each card can also store important files, links, notes, and more.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $9.99 per user per month
For a slightly more advanced project management platform, check out Asana. You can follow different projects and tasks through every stage, and easily assign them to members of your team. Asana also offers built-in automation to take care of pesky manual tasks for you.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $10.00 per user per month
For businesses who are highly-focused on individual projects, Basecamp is a suitable choice. Using the platform, you’ll split all of your work into separate projects, which will then contain everything related to that project—every single document, file, task, schedule, and more. No more searching for what you need, because it’s all in one place.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $99 per month
For people who love a good spreadsheet, Airtable is a project management platform that’s sure to please. At first glance, it looks like your typical spreadsheet. However, you can set up custom field types—such as attachments, checkboxes, long text notes, links to other records, statuses, and more—to better organize your work.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $10 per user per month
Monday.com is another project management software solution that offers a lot of the functionality you’d expect from a collaborative tool. One of the key features that makes this one stand out is the variety of views you can use to view your projects and tasks. There’s a calendar view, chart view, files view, Kanban view, timeline view, and more. Choose the one that suits you best. Don’t worry, you can easily change it!
Price: Plans start at $39 per month
Smartsheet is another comprehensive solution. Think of it as the singular platform where you’ll execute any and all work for your business. It has everything you need to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on your work. It leaves no stone unturned. But, if you’re a one-person show or just have a couple of employees, be aware that it might be a little too involved for what you’re looking for.
Price: Paid plans start at $14 per month
Best apps for mental health and managing stress
It’s not always easy to switch out of “work mode,” especially when the pressures of running your business weigh on you long after you call the workday quits. Meditation can help you get the peace of mind you need. If you aren’t sure how to get started with meditation, Headspace is an app that will walk you through a ton of different guided audio exercises to relax yourself and get into a better…well…headspace.
Price: $5.83 per month when billed annually
While this app is specifically geared toward younger adults, it’s still a beneficial tool for people who are new to meditation. Much like Headspace, it offers guided meditations to help you check in on how you’re feeling and build your emotional strength.
Price: Free, paid plans start at $5.83 per month when billed annually
When it comes to managing stress, a lot of research has been done about the benefits of mindful breathing. But, concentrating on something as simple as breathing is deceptively challenging. This app, available for both Apple and Android, guides you in focusing on your breathing and reaching a better state of mindfulness and relaxation. If you have an Apple Watch or other fitness tracker, you can sync it with the app and monitor your heart rate as well.
Feel especially stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed? Sanvello allows you to access on-demand help to deal with those emotions. There’s a daily self-care feature to help you ensure that you stay at the top of your own priority list, and you can also record your mood and health activities to discover any trends.
47. My Mood Tracker
Your day gets busy, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for reflection about how you’re feeling. But, failing to pay attention to our own emotions means we can miss important clues about how we can live a happier, healthier life. MyMoodTracker allows you to track your mood and emotional state throughout the day, as well as figure out how different factors (such as your sleep, exercise, or stress levels) impact your perspective.
48. Personal Zen
Guided meditations and breathing exercises not your thing? Personal Zen wants to make mindfulness fun. Backed by clinical research, this app is a game that you can play during brief breaks to help you reduce your stress levels and combat feelings of anxiety.
Calm offers all sorts of features for relaxation. There are guided meditations, but also music too boost relaxation, focus, or sleep, video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching, and nature scenes and sounds to put your mind at ease.
Price: $69.99 per year, billed annually
50. The Good Cards
One of the best ways to manage your stress and boost your mood is to do a simple act of kindness for someone else. That’s exactly what The Good Cards is all about. You’ll get a recycled plastic card (you can pick one up on the website!), download the app and scan the QR code, and then complete the challenge the app sets or create one for yourself. You’ll then pass your card to the recipient of your good deed who will continue to pay it forward. Through the app, you can track your card and see just how far those good deeds continue. Sounds like a surefire mood-booster, right?
Choosing the best apps for your small business toolkit
There’s no shortage of technology tools out there to help you and your business. However, you want to be careful not to become buried in platforms and apps that you don’t end up using.
How can you decide which ones are worth a subscription and which ones should be skipped? Here are a few tips to avoid tool fatigue.
1. Start with a challenge or need
It’s tempting to fall into the trap of downloading an app just because it sounds cool, but that’s how you end up with more than you need. Work backwards by identifying a challenge within your business.
For example, do you wish you had a better way to track your customers? Are you sick of digging for the documents you need? Look for an app that solves that specific problem. That’s far better than downloading something that doesn’t actually address a struggle you’re facing.
2. Carefully evaluate each new tool
Signing up for a new app is easy, but your evaluation process should be a little more in-depth. Before pressing “download,” ask yourself some pointed questions to make sure the tool is really what you’re looking for. These can include:
- What business need will this app meet?
- How often will I use this app?
- Who in my business will use this app? What do they think?
- Is this app within my budget?
Even just some brief time for some critical thinking will help you separate the wheat from the chaff and avoid “shiny object syndrome.”
3. Schedule time to review your tools
Subscriptions can quickly pile up, and you don’t want to be investing money in tools and platforms you’re no longer actively using.
Put a recurring appointment on your calendar (at least quarterly!) to review your current tool arsenal and remove any that aren’t being utilized. That way you’ll keep a streamlined selection of tools, rather than having your business spread out across a bunch of different apps.
4. Invest time in tutorials and training
It’s easy to end up with way more tools than you need if you don’t understand the capability of what you’re already using. Instead of using one solution to its full potential, you download yet another app to supplement it.
Before implementing a new tool for your business, lean on the available resources—like the tutorials and training guides—your current apps offer. You’ll get the full rundown on everything you can do and will make the absolute most of that single tool (which is important, especially if you’re paying for it!).
Small business apps to the rescue
When it comes to running your business, you might feel like you have to go it alone. That’s hardly ever the case—especially when you consider all of the technology resources that are available to you.
From chugging your way through your to-do list to improving relationships with your customers, there’s a huge assortment of business apps to take some of the burden off of your shoulders.
Check out the 50 best business apps we’ve rounded up here, evaluate them carefully to determine which ones are a good fit for you, and prepare to get back to loving your business—rather than feeling overwhelmed by it.