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Top 21 Best Small Business Apps to Manage Your Daily Operations

🔑 Key Highlights

  • Small business apps are more than just tools; they're the catalysts that propel an enterprise to new heights.
  • Versatile applications help enhance efficiency, streamline collaboration, and more.
  • When choosing between apps with similar functions, go for the one that addresses multiple challenges, leading to significant improvement in operations.

In this digital age, businesses that leverage cutting-edge applications and technologies enhance their operational efficiency and rise to the top. That's why we carefully curated this compilation of top apps for business owners and professionals looking for solutions to various business needs across domains such as organisational management, financial tracking, customer engagement and more. 

Check out these 21 small business management apps, presented in categories, to help you discover innovative solutions that can revolutionise how you organise, operate, and propel your business towards success.

Best Scheduling Apps for Small Business Owners 

One notable advantage of scheduling apps is their ability to mitigate the impact of external meeting demands on business owners. By allowing individuals to set their availability times, these apps empower prospects, clients, and teams to schedule meetings in alignment with the entrepreneur's predefined availability. 

The applications also help eliminate scheduling conflicts and overlapping appointments by centralising availability information and automating the scheduling process. 

Insight

Some key features to look out for in a scheduling application include -

  • Ease of use: Opt for an intuitive and straightforward application for your clients, prospects, and team members to schedule time with you.

  • Calendar Integrations: Your scheduling app should easily integrate into your calendar application and let you view your appointments on both platforms.

  • Notifications: Choose an app that sends you notifications when someone books time with you. It should also have an optional feature for sending reminders to you and your guest days, hours, or minutes before the appointment.

Top scheduling applications for small business entrepreneurs in the UK include —

Calendly 

Via Calendly

Calendly is a scheduling automation platform designed to streamline the process of scheduling, preparing for, and following up on internal and external meetings. Users can create a personalised scheduling link and booking page according to their availability, which they then share with others, allowing them to book a meeting easily at a mutually convenient time. 

It offers the flexibility of setting meeting rules, such as 15-minute or 30-minute increments, enabling participants to optimise their time efficiently during these interactions.

Pros 

  • Simple and intuitive 
  • Enhances the professional image of the user
  • Has an automatic time zone conversion that removes meeting time confusion for international teams 

Cons

  • Limited branding options for scheduling pages 

Platforms: iOS, Android, Chrome and Firefox extension 

Pricing: Offers a free forever plan with the standard plan starting at $10 per monthly seat.

Website: https://calendly.com/ 

Appoint.ly

Via Appoint.ly

Appoint.ly is a scheduling application for individuals and businesses. Users create a calendar, set their availability and share with clients and coworkers for bookings. It seamlessly integrates with Google Calendar, Microsoft Office, or iCal and automatically syncs appointments while addressing time zone differences. 

Pros

  • Free plan available
  • Simple, intuitive and functional interface
  • Minimises confusion due to timezone differences

Cons

  • No mobile app
  • Limited functionality compared to other tools

Platforms: Cloud-based 

Pricing: Free basic plan with the pro version starting at $10 per seat per month

Website: https://appoint.ly/ 

Best Project Management Apps

To meet the demands of a dynamic market, companies often rely on multiple teams overseen by either the founder or a designated manager responsible for setting timeframes and objectives. Project management applications are pivotal in facilitating adequate supervision from home, the office, or while on the move. These applications streamline workflows across teams and ensure meticulous attention to detail, mitigating challenges that impede project success.

Techopedia reports a remarkable 92% success rate in meeting project objectives for organisations consistently utilising project admin apps, highlighting the transformative impact of employing the right tools. 

On the other hand, the State of Project Management Report 2021 highlights the most significant challenges in project and portfolio management: benefits management, resource management, and project prioritization. 

Insight

Effective project software must tackle the above-mentioned top 3 challenges at a minimum, incorporating key features such as:

  • Resource allocation — Project management tools assist in optimising resource utilisation by enabling managers to allocate resources, including team members, and time to priority projects.

  • Scheduling — Ensures adherence to project timelines and deadlines, monitors progress and allows for timely adjustments when necessary.

  • Reporting — For data-driven decision-making, the application should offer robust reporting capabilities to track and analyse project performance.

With the above in mind, let's dive into the top 2 project management applications for small enterprises in the UK. 

Trello

Via Trello

Trello is a user-friendly project management software for organising projects into Kanban boards. At a glance, a manager can tell the main task, the individual handling it, and its status. With a generous free plan that accommodates up to 10 boards and unlimited users, it's a versatile tool accessible to all. Small teams, freelancers, and solo entrepreneurs use Trello for individual assignment planning or comprehensive project workflows.

Pros 

  • Easy to manage tasks (to-do lists) with an intuitive drag-and-drop system; 
  • Leaders can assign tasks with due dates and role-specific access privileges; 
  • Users can share images and documents from other apps like Google Drive; and
  • It's super versatile, with multiple templates to get new users started. 

Cons

  • The process of integrating with third-party plugins is clunky;
  • Some basic features are only available through power-ups; and
  • The free plan has limited features.

Platforms: Web, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android

Pricing: Offers free plan with paid plan starting at $5 per user per month.

Website: https://trello.com/home

Freedcamp 

Via FreedCamp

Freedcamp's free version is considered one of the best apps to help organise. It offers unlimited tasks, users, projects, and storage, an excellent choice for SMBs seeking efficient project management software. Their paid plans, including the business and enterprise packages, provide exceptional value compared to rival platforms. The well-crafted native desktop and mobile apps facilitate convenient project administration beyond web browsers and while on the go.

Pros 

  • It is easy to use and has excellent support;
  • Supports French, German, Croatian, and Russian;
  • Has a time-tracking feature that’s connected to tasks;
  • Inexpensive with the free option including unlimited users, assignments, projects, and storage; and
  • Kanban view allows users to mark tasks as No Progress, In Progress, and Completed.

Cons

  • Few native integrations; 
  • Dull and basic user interface; and
  • Complex integration with third-party applications like Outlook.

Platforms: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS 

Pricing: Free pro package starts at $1.49 monthly per user. 

Website: https://freedcamp.com/

Small Business App for Communication 

Communication is essential for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs). However, most cost-effective project administration tools are intentionally designed without a built-in communication or team chat feature. Consequently, businesses find it necessary to explore standalone chat or messaging apps offering unlimited chat history, private and public channels, and video and voice calls. Among the popular choices for this purpose are

Slack

Via Slack

Slack has become a leading messaging app in business communication. Its intuitive and user-friendly interface sets it apart, providing teams with an efficient platform for streamlining communication. The distinctive feature of Slack lies in its channel organisation system, allowing teams to work with designated spaces for different topics, projects, or teams, fostering a more organised and focused communication environment within the application.

Pros 

  • Has a fair, free plan; 
  • User-friendly interface;
  • It's quick and easy to send messages to individuals or groups;
  • Customisation options for individual users; and
  • Advanced search functionality.

Cons

  • Relatively higher costs for the paid plans;
  • The free plan restricts the number of historical messages accessible, making it susceptible to losing crucial information easily.
  • The free plan limits the number of participants in a huddle to two, affecting team collaboration.

Platforms: Web, macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS

Pricing: Free plan with the pro plan starting at £5.75 per active user per month paid annually. 

Website: https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/ 

Flock

Via Flock

Flock is a messaging and collaboration tool that offers direct and channel messaging, video conferencing, screen and file sharing, and unlimited chat history. Users can create multiple teams and both public and private channels for communication. It is designed for businesses of all sizes and operates on a freemium pricing model, with additional features available in paid plans. The app is known for its fast and reliable communication, making it a popular choice for collaboration and coordination.

Pros 

  • Ideal for instant messaging;
  • Free mobile app for on-the-go communication;
  • In-built to-do list feature for task assignment and progress monitoring; and
  • Users can send themselves messages for safekeeping or access from other devices.

Cons

  • Some users report poor audio and video quality; and
  • Users can delete unread messages without a trace. 

Platforms: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android phones. 

Pricing: Freemium with the pro plan starting at $4.50 /user/month

Website: https://www.flock.com/

Microsoft Teams 

Via Teams

Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that seamlessly integrates workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. Its user-friendly interface enables easy connections, communication, and collaboration, rendering it a favoured choice for businesses and organisations across different scales.

Pros 

  • The centralised document storage and communication system helps boost productivity.
  • Easy collaboration with internal and external contacts
  • Enables access to previous meeting notes and recordings
  • Can hold meetings or webinars with up to 10,000 attendees
  • Has a robust free version for personal use. 
  • Integration with the Microsoft ecosystem
  • Comes with end-to-end security

Cons

  • Not built for phone use
  • Its online meeting experience isn’t as intuitive as with other apps

Platforms: Web, Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS,

Pricing: Business packages start at £3.30/user/month, paid annually

Website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

The Best Business Apps for Time Tracking 

🛈 Information box

Recent research shows that over 80% of an employee's time is spent on low-value tasks. In response to this challenge, a reliable time-tracking application empowers employers to assess staff work habits and their respective contributions to organisational objectives.

With time-tracking tools, companies save time, maximise productivity, identify potential areas of improvement, and monitor performance remotely. For the employee, a time tracking app helps them make the most of their workday and manage distractions.

Some of the best small business apps for time tracking include -

Toggl Track 

Via Toggl

For the web app, toggl track facilitates accurate invoicing by enabling real-time or manual mode tracking of the amount of time spent on an activity, which can be connected to a specific client, project or task. It also has a calendar view that shows weekly time entries in a colour-coded grid format, with which everyone can see the project that dominates an employee's/freelancer's time.  

Toggl has a free forever plan with limited features for up to 5 users and a premium plan for $18 for those who want additional features like fixed fee projects and integrations with third-party applications like Jira or Salesforce. 

Pros

  • User-friendly and versatile;
  • Ideal for individuals, freelancers, and teams of any size;
  • Provides in-depth reports and productivity analytics;
  • Promotes employer and employee acceptance with its anti-surveillance feature; and
  • Effortlessly integrates with a variety of third-party project administration and collaboration tools.

Cons

  • Few native integrations;
  • Users find it difficult to fix time-tracking mistakes; and
  • The desktop application is cumbersome compared to the Chrome extension and mobile app. 

Platforms: Web, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android

Pricing: Free plan for up to 5 users, starter $ 9 per user per month and $18 for the premium package. 

Website: https://toggl.com/track/

HourStack 

Via Hour Stack

Hour Stack is a premium time management application suitable for individuals, starting at $12 per month and $ 15/member/month for large teams. It has over 15 native integrations, with an additional 1,500 through Zapier. The tool helps teams create projects, set budgets and timelines, schedule tasks, balance workloads across teams, track time, pull weekly and monthly reports and customise according to their unique workflow. 

Pros 

  • Intuitive interface;
  • Users can plan for an entire week, both tasks and meetings; 
  • The reporting feature enables users to view time estimates vs actual time spent on a project; and
  • Easily integrates with third-party applications like Asana and Google Calendar. 

Cons 

  • Mobile device applications sometimes don’t work as expected; and
  • The integration with Asana can be unreliable.

Platform: Web

Pricing: No free trial, $12 per month for the personal and $15 for the team package

Website: https://hourstack.com/ 

Best Payroll & Employee Management Apps for Small Business or Remote Teams 

According to the UK Parliament post, fully remote or hybrid arrangements enhance employee wellbeing, but the impact on productivity is uncertain. Yet, business owners report that a remote workforce provides an opportunity to embrace a lean model and tap into a cost-effective offshore talent.

If you are leaning towards going remote or hybrid, here are some of the best HR apps for small ventures — 

Deel 

Via Deel

Deel is one of the preferred solutions for distributed workforce management applications with free and pay-as-you-go plans starting at $49 per active contract/month and a footprint in over 150 countries. With their employer-on-record product, Deel helps businesses undertake background checks, hire, offer employees localised benefits, and comply with complex local regulatory requirements. 

Pros 

  • Completely free for contractors and employees;
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface for ease of use;
  • Streamlined payroll automation feature for efficient processing; and
  • The payment system provides clear tax and compliance requirements guidance, ensuring smooth financial operations. 

Cons 

  • Customer support may, at times, be unreliable; and
  • No mobile application. 

Platform: Cloud-based

Pricing: Free for HR automation, $49 for contractors and $599 for Employer on Record (EOR)

Website: https://www.deel.com/

Motivosity 

Via Motivosity

Motivosity is a business software solution for those seeking to manage employee recognition, motivation and engagement designed to help companies build a positive workplace culture. Through the app, staff members get a sense of community and belonging. With the option to give regular coaching-oriented feedback, teammates feel they have a positive relationship with their boss and managers. 

Its premium plans start at $2, allowing businesses to use it to motivate their workforce as among the strategies underscore success and get insights that help enhance productivity and retention. 

Pros  

  • Intuitive interface that works like a social media page; and
  • Makes it easy for co-workers to compliment and recognise each other efforts, building a positive company culture.

Cons

  • Limited native integration with third-party tools. 

Platform: Cloud-based

Pricing: Starts from $2

Website: https://www.motivosity.com/

  1. Goco
Via Goco

GoCo is a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) business application starting at $5/employee/month that handles onboarding, benefits, time tracking, payroll administration and compliance. 

Pros 

  • Automates all aspects of hiring - from sourcing to onboarding
  • Handles HR, including benefits and payroll management
  • Ideal for small enterprises and large enterprises with remote teams

Cons

  • Difficulty mastering advanced features
  • Available on the web with no mobile application on-the-go access

Platform: Cloud-based

Pricing: Starts from $ 5 per employee per month

Website: https://www.goco.io/

Best Credit Card, Inventory Management, POS System, & Payment Apps for E-commerce 

E-commerce enterprises depend on efficient and secure payment solutions to ensure a seamless shopping experience, significantly contributing to customer satisfaction and trust. Top payment applications for e-commerce companies include — 

PayPal Express Checkout

Via Paypal

PayPal is one of the earliest and most popular online payment solutions. To access the service, you only need to sign up for the express checkout and add it to your website. You can add the checkout through a partner or build your custom integration for your website. Paypal charges 2.90% + £0.30 per transaction. See more details on the UK fees page.

Website: https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/get-started-express-checkout

Square

Via Square

Square is a free stock management and payment processing app for small enterprises. It enables small and medium-sized businesses to accept credit card payments using smartphones or tablets as point-of-sale system registers. It has the following features 

  • Payment acceptance including -
    • Credit and debit cards
    • Apple Pay and Google Pay
    • Digital Gift Cards
    • Card on file for regular customers
    • Custom invoicing
    • Encrypted payments
    • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance
  • Checkout process customisation
  • Receipts
  • Automated discounts
  • Square analytics for advanced reporting and insights
  • Inventory management with low stock alerts

Besides the features, Square offers POS hardware, which includes the following —

  • Square register with fully integrated till system with point of sale software, payments, and a dedicated customer display.
  • Square stands for those using their iPad as a POS.
  • Square terminal, which connects wirelessly with your POS and accepts all kinds of payments and print receipts.
  • Square reader for contactless payments.

Pros 

  • Clean and intuitive interface
  • Free basic plan with robust features
  • Wide range of hardware to choose from
  • Real-time sales tracking

Cons 

  • Cluncky hardware design

Platforms: iOS and Android. 

Pricing: Free for small businesses with the plus plan starting at £49 per month, per location

Website: https://squareup.com/us/en

Best Small Business Apps for Accounting & Invoice Management

The best accounting software for small and medium businesses is affordable and easy to use, recognising that most small and medium business owners are not professional accountants. These tools enable companies to manage their finances and record expenses, profit, and losses. Some of the best tools include —- 

Zoho 

Via Zoho

Unlike Freshbooks, Zoho is a free accounting invoicing software for small business owners, solopreneurs and freelancers. 

Pros 

  • Simple and intuitive; and
  • Multiple customisation options available.

Cons

  • Free version is limited to 1,000 invoices per year.

Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows

Pricing: Offers a free version with enterprise quotations available on request. 

Website: https://www.zoho.com/invoice/

Xero

Via  Xero

Xero is tailored for medium-sized businesses that need high-level accounting software for sending invoices, accepting payments, managing contracts, and more. Its pricing starts at £15 to £55 per month. 

Pros 

  • Cost-effective; 
  • Unlimited users and plans;
  • Enables collaboration with accountants or business advisors;
  • Cloud-based and accessible anywhere with an internet connection;

Cons

  • Steep learning curve for new users;
  • It takes a long for customer service teams to respond to people; 

Platforms: Cloud-based

Pricing: £15 for the starter package

Website: https://www.xero.com/uk/accounting-software/

Quickbooks Online

Via Quickbooks

QuickBooks is an online business accounting software specifically crafted to simplify cash flow management. It boasts robust features, including automated expense tracking, efficient invoice creation, integrated payroll services, and insightful financial reporting. 

Pros 

  • It's easy to use and learn;
  • Integrates well with third-party applications
  • It is cloud-based, enabling users to access real-time data anytime, anywhere;
  • Tools suitable for various business types, including accountants, sole traders and limited companies. 

Cons

  • Lacks industry-specific features
  • Experiences regular system crashes
  • Limited to accounting-specific reporting

Platforms: Cloud-based, iOS, Android, iPad, Tablet, MacOS and Windows

Pricing: $29.90/user/month

Website: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/uk/ 

Best Marketing Apps Or CRM Software

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to business development, systems or strategies to promote client acquisition and retention. A comprehensive solution gathers customer information from all the contact points with the business, such as the website, social media, phone line, email, and marketing content. It uses this data to equip the relevant staff with in-depth customer insights such as purchasing history, preferences and prospects' challenges. 

Insight

There are three types of CRM software — collaborative, analytical and operational. Analytical collects and assesses client information, which businesses harness for customer behaviour and tailored experiences.

Operational CRM streamlines core business processes, automating sales, marketing, and customer service functions to enhance efficiency and client satisfaction.

Lastly, a collaborative platform focuses on organisational communication and collaboration to provide a seamless customer experience.

Nimble

Via Nimble

Nimble is primarily considered a collaborative CRM that integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace, Office 365, and multiple third-party applications. 

It emphasises organisational communication and cooperation to improve customer interactions and relationships. Additional features include —

  • Marketing automation;
  • Lead and pipeline management;
  • Task management; and
  • Analytics and dashboards. 

Pros 

  • Neat, user-friendly interface;
  • Connect on the go with its mobile application;
  • Best CRM for Microsoft Office, including Microsoft 365 apps, Microsoft Teams and Outlook. 

Cons

  • Reporting and analytics are not as robust;

Platforms: iOS, Android and Windows

Pricing: $29.90/user/month

Website: https://www.nimble.com/

Zen‍Desk

Via Zendesk

Zendesk is a cloud-based operational CRM that automates customer support ticket management, helping users track, prioritise, personalise and solve email support interactions. Its suite plans start from $49/per month for up to 5 agents. 

Pros

  • Workflow automation;
  • Feature-rich interface; and
  • Multi-channel support (chat, email, social media) on a unified platform;
  • Integrates with multiple third-party solutions for comprehensive reporting and analytics. 

Cons

  • It’s unintuitive and takes a long time to understand the platform;

Platform: Web

Pricing: Starts at £45 per agent per month. 

Website: https://www.zendesk.co.uk/

Copper Google Workspace CRM

Via Copper

One of the best CRM software for small businesses tailored for G Suite applications, Copper empowers sales teams by effectively managing their leads, contacts, and communication from a unified platform.

Pros 

  • Cost effective 
  • Simple and easy to use, since the interface is similar to most Google applications
  • Effortlessly extract leads from Gmail, enhancing contact and lead management.
  • Workflow automaton for repetitive tasks
  • track and log email chains, meetings, and files from Gmail using the Chrome extension.

Cons

  • May issue unnecessary notifications

Platform: Web, iOS and Android Apps

Pricing: The basic plan starts at $23 monthly per user, paid annually.

Website: https://www.copper.com/

Final Word.

When selecting the best app for your business, choose one that will address the most significant bottleneck. For instance, if you are not making the most out of your existing customer database - you’ll need an analytical CRM to gather insights from client interactions with your business for targeted marketing campaigns and product recommendations. 

Key features you should look out for in a business application should include — 

  • Ease of use — The applications should be intuitive and easy to use. However, you may need software with elaborate features and functionalities. In such cases, consider if the software company offers product walkthroughs, onboarding sessions, and reviews comments from past clients on their customer support culture. 
  • Integrations — You’ll find that many business processes are interdependent. For instance, an order management system may need to communicate with an accounting app. Your email marketing software may require integration with a lead generation tool. Therefore, consider how easily your app of choice connects to third-party applications. 
  • Cost — Determine if the software is the most cost-effective for your business needs. In addition to the monthly charges and price per seat, consider if you’ll have to pay extra to integrate with a non-native application. 

Article by

Fridar Gichuki

Fridar Gichuki is a lawyer by training turned dedicated content writer & strategist. She brings over 10 years of experience leveraging her legal acumen to support and inspire small businesses on legal, finance, and marketing topics. When not immersed in the world of content, you'll find her hiking across vast plains and scaling high mountains.

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