Top Small Business Apps to Boost Productivity

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Managing a small business is all about making the most of limited resources. Finding the right apps can help with your growth and success. What can the best apps do? They help keep track of tasks, create reminders for yourself and your team, share important information, organize workflows, save time, and connect you with customers.

Apps can show real-time metrics that help you understand what works and doesn’t. They can tell us when it is time to make changes to improve results. Some popular small business apps, like Google Workspace, Salesforce, and QuickBooks, can significantly boost your productivity. The following is a collection of popular apps used by top SMBs daily.

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Best Apps for Accounting and Finance

Accounting is an essential function for any business. It is the process of keeping track of all the money that comes in and goes out, ensuring everything balances at the end of the day. Accounting software makes this process easier by helping you record transactions, manage cash flow, and track expenses. Cloud-based accounting software is an excellent option for small businesses with on-the-go employees or contractors who need access to company data on mobile devices. It also works well for companies that have employees in remote locations. Many accounting and finance apps are available on the market today, but not all are created equal.

  1. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a mobile app for freelancers and contractors that simplifies tax preparation and record keeping. You get accurate calculations, automatic updates, and the ability to export data to TurboTax or H&R Block anytime. This app exists to help freelancers and entrepreneurs with managing finances. It includes features such as invoicing, tracking expenses, and generating reports.
  2. The Mint app is a budgeting tool that helps you track your spending, maintain your budget, and save money by identifying ways to cut expenses. It also shows bank alerts, credit score tracking, retirement planning tools, investment advice, and more.
  3. Wave Accounting software has been around since 2003 but was upgraded in 2017 with features like real-time updates of transactions from all accounts in one place. It also features a new dashboard design with customizable widgets. Wave makes it easier to find what you’re looking for – all while keeping your data safe.
  4. FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting app for small businesses. It offers a variety of features that help owners and managers organize finances, send invoices, track time and expenses, and generate reports.
  5. Xero is an all-in-one business management system that offers accounting, payroll, invoicing, and inventory management services. It also provides bank feeds and integration with third-party apps such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

There are a host of small business apps designed to make entrepreneurs’ lives easier. You can find apps for just about anything you need, from accounting to HR, and it can be hard to find the best ones. Just remember that no two companies are the same. Find the finance app that works best for your product or service.

Best Apps for Managing Inventory

Managing inventory is a very time-consuming task for small business owners. The list includes identifying and analyzing inventory, ordering, production, distribution, and warehousing. Analyzing inventory takes forecasting, which involves estimating future demand for products and services. It shows small businesses the amount of stock they need to hold, what prices they should charge, and when to reorder.

The ordering step needs a lead time that uses the estimate from forecasting. Ordering time and quantity are found from previous orders placed. Every step listed is best managed with dashboards and notifications. There are many apps with excellent inventory management systems for small to mid-sized companies, but these are some of the best:

  1. Inventory Lab is designed to keep track of your inventory and to create a system for keeping it organized and up to date. It also has an integrated barcode scanner so you can scan your products as they come in for real-time inventory control.
  2. Retail Pro Inventory Management System offers different levels of access depending on the type of user, automated data entry, and customizable reports.
  3. Inventory Control is a simple and efficient app that lets you logically manage your inventory. It provides product tracking, on-hand inventory, and inventory management. 
  4. Inventory Tracker Plus is a web-based inventory management software. It tracks and monitors inventory levels as well as sales. Inventory is tracked in real-time, and their dashboard makes it easy to view all inventory data in one place.
  5. Inventory Pro is built for e-commerce stores and manufacturers. Retailers use it to keep track of their products and inventory. Manufacturers use it to plan production. Inventory Pro can create product listings, manage inventory levels, and monitor sales channels such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

Best Apps for POS and Payments

Good point-of-sale software is crucial to an efficient company back end. The point-of-sale terminal at a cash register is typically integrated with the inventory management system. Together they let retailers process payments, track sales, and complete end-of-day requirements without worrying about working capital issues. The best POS and payment solutions software will solve expensive problems and ease your tax reporting trouble. Here are the best apps to consider:

  1. Square is a point-of-sale app for small to medium-sized businesses. It can track receipts, schedule appointments, take payments, and manage inventory. Square provides a card reader to accept credit card payments and a wealth of resources to manage orders and staffing.
  2. Shopify Payments is an online point-of-sale app that accepts nearly all forms of payment. It’s simple to use and third-party friendly. Shopify Payments is meant for high-volume transactions but also works well with smaller-volume stores.
  3. PayPal has been a global leader in online point-of-sale payments for more than 20 years. Its software offers a variety of ways for customers to purchase, including credit cards, bank accounts, and even mobile phones.
  4. QuickBooks Point of Sale is a cloud-based POS software with an online payment processing system. It also supports mobile devices and has an intuitive UI that makes it very easy to use.
  5. Vend is designed for use in any setting; from small businesses to large corporations. The app includes inventory management, customer management, order fulfillment, and email notifications.

Best Apps for Time Tracking & Team Management

Coordinating, motivating, and directing people in a way that maximizes their potential often gets overlooked in the digital space. Remote work is cost-effective and efficient but makes time tracking and team management more difficult. Apps that let team leaders understand individual strengths and weaknesses can contribute to the ROI of remote workers. Here are the best small business apps for tracking time and team management:

  1. The Harvest app tracks time and expenses for a team. Its users can input the hours they’ve worked, their current projects, and their pay for each project.
  2. Timely is an automated time-tracking app that focuses on productivity. It populates the dashboard with all project and employee data for seamless access. Timely features a timer, stopwatch, and calendar.
  3. Hubstaff is a remote work-focused time-tracking app. It easily integrates with task management software and measures how long team members spend on specific tasks. Hubstaff was designed to manage freelancers but can also be used for tracking employee projects.
  4. Timecamp has a simple interface with a dashboard that displays the time needed to complete each task. It also has an option to create reminders for various tasks, which can be set according to the user’s convenience. It includes budgeting, invoicing, billing, and timesheet approval.
  5. Toggl is an intuitive and easy-to-use piece of software that’s geared toward freelancers but usable by large enterprises. The app integrates with popular products such as Microsoft Office, Google Drive, Slack, and Trello.

Best Apps for Communication

Communication apps reduce errors, organize solutions, and build collaboration between team members. The “tell, show, do” capability has proven to be an efficient way to share information. Here are some of the best small business apps for communication:

  1. Slack offers a real-time chat between employees, teams, and clients. It’s been used by companies such as Google, IBM, Target, Disney, and NASA. Slack works with any project size and has many features, such as integrating with other apps, video calls, and notifications.
  2. Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app that integrates seamlessly with essential MS Office products like Excel, Word, and Outlook. 

Google Chat is replacing Google Hangouts at the end of 2022. This video chat service lets companies communicate with their team through a live-streaming video feed. Google chat is a cloud-based app accessible by browsers, mobile devices, and tablets. It’s available to anyone, anywhere in the world. 

  1. Mattermost is an open-source team communication software that delivers persistent chat rooms, archiving of private messages, and threaded conversations. It was initially designed for developers looking for a modern replacement for email that integrates with existing IT infrastructure.
  2. Chatwork integrates directly with an email to make responding more efficient. It’s designed to help teams be more productive by keeping the focus on task completion.

Best Apps for Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management software has become a central element to many businesses. The right CRM app can help to grow a customer base and build customer loyalty.  The best CRM apps will organize and control customer data, track customer interactions, and measure customer satisfaction. Finding the best CRM depends on your marketing goals, outreach campaign, marketing budget, and expansion goals. Here are some of the best CRM apps for small businesses:

  1. Salesforce is the world’s leading provider of CRM and marketing software. Salesforce’s cloud-based tech lets small businesses prospect for new customers and closely manage existing ones.
  2. Zoho CRM is an online customer relationship management software that includes social media integration, even in its free version. It’s feature-heavy and robust enough to be used by small business owners, large enterprises, and non-profits.
  3. Insightly provides customer management software with pre-built app connectors. It’s available through the cloud and can be accessed from any device.
  4. The HubSpot app is a mobile-focused CRM designed for the AIDA sales process. It includes marketing automation to drive prospects toward the final steps of your sales team.  
  5. Pipedrive is a CRM software that’s designed to help your sales team manage their pipeline, automate their sales processes and keep track of all the deals in their channel. It offers an easy-to-use interface where you can add leads, set up pipelines, or create custom workflows.

Best Apps for Project Management and Organization

Project management apps organize workers around solving specific problems. The goal is to complete projects on time, within a budget, and with minimal risk. Apps reduce the project’s complexity by organizing planning, execution, and stakeholders to ultimately close a project.

Here’s a list of the best project management and organization apps for small and mid-sized companies: 

  1. Asana is a cloud-based app that keeps teams organized and on task. Asana lets users collaborate, set goals, and track progress. 
  2. Trello is simple and effective. It recreates the intuitive Kanban board design with an easy-to-use interface. It uses boards, lists, and cards to organize a project’s objectives, tasks, and issues. Team members can then collaborate in real-time.  
  3. ClickUp is an all-in-one back-office project management app meant to keep employees informed and focused on project completion. It includes goals, tasks, and chat features and provides many more features than most project management apps.
  4. Zoho Projects emphasizes the start-to-finish approach to project management. It offers features like Gantt charts, milestones, time tracking, resource allocation and task dependencies. 
  5. Basecamp has an intuitive interface that allows users to collaborate on projects, share files and messages, assign tasks and track progress. It’s suitable for both individual and group users.

The Bottom Line

Business management apps are a great way for small business owners to manage their day-to-day tasks and long-term goals. They provide a way for business owners to keep track of inventory, direct workers, connect with customers, and control finances.

Some of the most effective Internal Management Apps are developed by tech companies that specialize in enterprise-level software. Companies like Microsoft and Intuit offer continuous updates and patch security issues that may affect your business. This gives small business managers more control over systems-related issues like accounting, HR, and operations. Quickbooks or Teams can offer integration-rich environments that help small businesses when it comes to hiring employees, setting goals and objectives, and monitoring progress. 

That said, some of the most popular Apps are built by scrappier companies that use an “It just works” approach. Apps like Harvest or Salesforce can organize the process of managing environments. This includes external teams, talking to clients, handling suppliers, and outbound marketing projects.

There are many different types of small business management apps out there, so managers must find the apps that fit their company’s needs best.

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