Running a business of any size can get complicated and stressful if you let it. For start-ups, the pressures can seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are thousands of apps available to help you streamline processes, solve problems and work smarter. These cost-effective and time-saving tools often come packed with additional features to make your business more efficient. They can help you with essentials such as accounting and managing your people to staying organised.

Knowing which apps are likely to help your business the most and are worth investing in can be tricky. That is why within this document we have narrowed down the options to give you a clear picture of the essential apps for any business.


See also: Why every small business should have a website


Whether you are just starting out or want to explore new ways of doing things, these apps are great examples of must-have business applications. What’s more, you can use them on any device even when you are away from your desk.

  1. Apps for managing money

Accounting apps are great for everyday financial tasks. As well as streamlining your finances, they will give you an overall picture of your business’s financial health. Here are two great examples, plus a mobile payment system:

QuickBooks: This accounting app literally helps you run your business. Its features include easy-to-use tools to help you keep track of sales and expenses. Use QuickBooks to see financial statements at-a-glance and produce reports. QuickBooks can also be used to pay staff, suppliers and contractors. Use it to stay on top of tax returns. Connect it to your bank account and payment sources for seamless integration. This app is ideal if you are self-employed or run a small business. It works on all devices and is recognised by HRMC.

Wave: This app does everything QuickBooks does but comes with some free features. It’s ideal for sole traders and small businesses. The app can be downloaded for free. Use it to send free invoices and receipts. Some features, such as payroll management, require a fee and some, such as accepting payments, take a small fee and then a percentage.

Square: This payment processing app is perfect for the small business or sole trader. You can even use Square’s debit and credit card reader while you are out and about - simply connect it to your mobile.

  1. Apps to help you stay organised

Keeping track of important notes or projects, including content for your website, is easy with these popular apps:

Evernote: This app has been around a while but remains a firm favourite among businesses of all sizes, including sole traders. This app allows you ‘work smarter’ by syncing notes across mobile and desktop devices, so you will never be out of the loop. Use it for to-do lists, reminders and ideas. Evernote is available in free, Plus and Premium packages.


See also: Why your business needs a CRM


Trello: This project management app tracks workflow. It’s great if you struggle to stay on top of projects via email. It allows you to create a digital card to represent a task. Add members, comments, attachments, checklists and due dates to ensure tasks are completed on time. Whenever you change a card, members are notified. Trello is in three package types - free, business and enterprise.

Asana: This web-based and mobile app lets you create project boards and follow their progress. Share notes, upload files and communicate without having to rely on email. Asana works with Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as messaging channel Slack.

One Note: This is a free app offered by Microsoft allowing you to note down ideas and create to-do lists wherever you are. Available on tablets, phones and computers compatible with Microsoft.

Wunderlist: An online app that allows you to create, manage and share your to-do lists with friends and colleagues. The app is available for free, with pro and business packages available that host additional features.

  1. App for digital storage and file sharing

Dropbox: This ever-popular app is used by more than 500 million users around the world. It allows you to store and share files on the cloud, and you can trial it for free for 30 days.

  1. App for document creation anywhere

Polaris Office: This alternative to Apple’s iWork lets you create, edit and sync Microsoft Office files from anywhere. It also lets you view PDF files while you are out and about. Use it on your mobile phone or tablet and sync it across your devices.

  1. Apps for email marketing

MailChimp: Build and manage email marketing lists and easily create and send newsletters with this popular app. Create your own templates and track email performance. Email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates and this handy tool could put your business on the path to growth. With a free pricing option, it is worth giving Mailchimp a go.


See also: The seven essential elements of an effective marketing plan


Active Campaign: Similar to MailChimp but with some additional features, this app allows for integrated email marketing campaigns, automated e-mails and can act as a CRM for small businesses. It’s a great resource for being able to analyze your database and action targeted email marketing campaigns.

  1. Apps for free calls and video conferencing

Skype: You can use Skype to video or voice call anyone, anywhere. It is really useful for sharing real-time video, photos and files. Most businesses can use Skype for free.

Go To Meeting: This is a cost-effective web conferencing app making it simple to collaborate with colleagues and customers in real time. They offer a free trial period and then packages to suit different requirements.

Zoom: This is another reliable online conference call app which claims to be the leader in modern enterprise video communications. They too offer different pricing plans depending on business requirements.

WebEx: They claim to be the world’s leading web and video conferencing service, providing an online meeting platform and the ability to host webinars and online presentations with colleagues. Pricing plans can be found online.

The apps outlined above are just a snapshot of the many thousands of business apps currently available. New apps are being developed all the time. It pays to stay on top of new innovations so your business doesn’t miss out.

Farm diversification, diversification ideas, rural business, rural business ideas

Join our FREE Business Barn membership here

Find out how

Search for new business ideas

Search here

Contact us for help and advice

Ask the expert

Join our FREE Business Barn membership here

Find out how

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up here

Contact us for help and advice

Ask the expert