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If you search the app store, you might be a little overwhelmed by the vast number of tools out there to help you run your business. We’ve put together our favorite, tried and true apps that we all use consistently and feel are worthy of being on our list of best apps for business owners and workers alike. If you work, you need to review this list and start downloading. Read on to see which apps made our list and what we love most about each one.
Best Apps for Small Business
Here are our picks for the 18 best business apps, listed in alphabetical order. We use most of these ourselves at We Rock Your Web.
Basecamp is probably the only app we couldn’t live without! It helps our team stay on task and collaborate effectively without all the unnecessary distractions or additional features that other project management tools have. You can view assignments and latest updates on the go. It even has an Apple Watch app too! Although it’s our #2 pick in our best project management software, we’ve given our top choice Teamwork a shot, but for our streamlined and fairly uniform work flow, Teamwork proved a little too complex. Basecamp remains our favorite but if your projects vary more in scope and process, you will want to check out both before making a choice. Read our full Basecamp Review.
Need a document signed and don’t have access to a printer? Never fear, DocuSign is here! Simply touch your finger to the screen to securely and quickly sign (and request signatures) on important documents. In fact, I bought our house completely paperless using DocuSign. They have a web-friendly version too, so you can upload and read larger documents on a bigger screen. DocuSign makes it easy to get “John Hancocks” on the fly. Learn more about DocuSign.
While Siri is useful for certain things; her dictation is pretty limited. That’s where Nuance’s Dragon voice to text mobile app comes into play. Its intelligent speech recognition software continually adjusts for your accent, dialect and inflection to improve its accuracy. It works with Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Acrobat, web browsing, form filling, emailing, texting and more. Find out why Dragon delivers the best voice recognition software on the market.
Dropbox is our winner for best cloud storage for personal use and is also useful for businesses. Our team uses Dropbox to access and upload files from our phones and keep all of our documents and images safely in one place. It’s like carrying around your computer in the palm of your hand. You can selectively sync certain folders and set up two-factor authentication to ensure no one is accessing files who shouldn’t be.
While not used heavily by our team, Evernote is a popular tool for businesses to organize and collaborate. You can use the desktop, mobile and browser plugin to “clip” pages, articles and files into notes and collections of notes into notebooks. I personally use it as a digital file cabinet storing everything from scanned copies of legal and banking documents, useful marketing stories I come across online and electronic receipts for major purchases like my computer and phone. It all syncs between devices, so you can access files and content via the web, phone or computer. Type notes, annotate notes, email things to your notebook, share, collaborate import and export notes and more (and access even more features with its premium version).
Needing to host or join a meeting or webinar on the go? Webinar software is a popular and effective way to attend a conference from virtually anywhere via phone, tablet or computer. There are dozens of online webinar hosting services, but GoToWebinar is among the most popular and our winner for the best webinar software. It’s easy to use, has lots of customization capabilities, and allows you to chat with attendees, share your phone or computer screen and view live video of people talking. Never worry about missing another important call again.
If you’re in content marketing, Grammarly is a must. But, even if you’re not, Grammarly’s professional proofreader is a huge asset, saving you from looking unprofessional or feeling embarrassed. Its desktop, web service and browser plugin scans your written text looking for improvements to spelling, sentence structure, word choice, voice and even plagiarism. Grammarly takes spell check to another level (and once you get hooked, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start using it sooner). We use it daily, mostly for writing articles, but it also comes in handy for emails, social media status updates and other internal and external communications.
It can be tedious to remember and type in all the usernames and passwords for dozens of sites (and a pain in the butt to update them if need be). Thanks to Dashlane you just need to remember one password to access all your websites. Upon signing into their service, it then autofills your logins and keeps all your passwords organized and safe (even on the go with their app). So instead of having a notepad with all your passwords jotted down somewhere or using one easy to remember password for everything (not the smartest idea), do yourself a HUGE favor and save time and headaches with this tool! I seriously wonder how I survived before using a password manager service.
Track time spent on a project with Paymo, our top pick for best time tracking software. It’s a one-stop solution for project management, budgeting and time tracking. You can collaborate with co-workers and use their idle time detection and automatic time tracking feature for those of you who forget to start and stop your time clock.
10. PIA VPN
Virtual Private Networks (aka VPN’s) help keep your data protected from prying eyes when logging into unprotected Wi-Fi networks (such as those at airports or coffee shops). Whether you’re on your laptop, home PC or smartphone they essentially block your IP address and mask your identity from the internet so you can surf the web anonymously. We use it while on the go and on our phones as an extra layer or protection. While there are dozens of VPN’s out there, we recommend our favorite – PIA VPN.
11. PS Express
Photoshop is a well-known product by Adobe for editing photos on your computer. But did you know that they also offer an app for on the go editing too (for free)? With PS Express you can touch up images, add filters and tweak advanced settings to make your business photos look extra professional before texting, uploading and sharing with the world.
Hate paying the bills? We feel your pain! It’s a breeze to pay employees, invoice clients and manage your books on your phone with Quickbooks. Voted our #1 pick for best payroll software for small business Intuit’s software and app are simple to use and take all the heavy lifting out of accounting, all with the lift of a finger.
Let’s face it, we all have a growing pile of receipts we swear we’ll get around to documenting one day for our records but don’t. Thanks to Shoebox you can snap a photo and it auto scans it for amount, vendor and payment method. Still not on top of organizing and archiving all your receipts? You don’t have to sit at your desk and scan each receipt yourself. Pop them in the mail and Shoeboxed will do it for you. Learn more in our interview with Shoeboxed founder, Taylor Mingos.
In addition to Basecamp, Slack is one of our all-time favorites! Think of it as a glorified iChat or Google chat complete with photo uploads, notification settings, channels to thread together conversations and more. Slack helps keep our virtual office connected via a smart instant messaging app for desktop and mobile. You can see who’s online, set an away message and it even integrates with a handful of other services like Google Hangout, Google Docs, Dropbox and more. And did we mention it’s free?
Staying on top of all your various business social media accounts can be a chore. Not with social media management tools which put all your tools like Snapchat, YouTube, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and more all in one place. There are many services out there, but Sprout takes the cake in our opinion for their robust reports, simple scheduling and way to monitor and respond to multiple channels. Read our in-depth review of Sprout.
16. Tiny Scanner
Do you ever find yourself needing to scan a document without a scanner? The Tiny Scanner smartphone app lets you scan documents by taking a photo of it from your phone. It auto straightens, crops and adjusts the contrast settings to look just like it was scanned with a desktop device. You can even password protect docs, create folders to organize them and upload an existing photo to turn into a scan, all for no charge.
Travel a lot for business? We highly recommend TripIt to manage and organize all your itineraries. Create a free account and they automatically scan your email to put all your travel bookings into one easy to read itinerary — complete with confirmation numbers, phone numbers and seat assignments. Share your itineraries with co-workers and colleagues and use the app to check arrival gate information while traveling. The pro version notifies you of gate change information and estimated flight arrival updates (often faster than the airlines will).
All the time and effort you put into accounting for your small business can be a pain. You’ve probably heard of QuickBooks and FreshBooks, but there’s another major player, Xero Accounting, that’s giving both big companies a run for their money (no pun intended). Read how Xero’s cloud-based accounting software can save you tons of time and money and why they’re our #1 recommendation for best accounting software.
Video: Xero Network Effect
Watch this minute and a half video that is a basic overview of Xero and how it can help small businesses with their cloud-based accounting. Also be sure to read our interview with Xero’s President of their United States operations.
Looking for More Small Business Advice and Tips?
Check out these small business tips for success from some top tech leaders (including executives from our top-rated companies) and some of our favorite online collaboration tools specifically for managing virtual teams.
What are some of your favorite business apps and why do you love them? Did we miss any?