I get it, as a small business owner 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.
Below I’ve listed some of the best business apps for small business owners, categorized by what you need to get done.
Best business apps: an overview
Best for accounting and finances:
QuickBooks, TSheets, Simple Loan Calculator, Mint
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 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
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 tired of endlessly searching 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.