With the number of smartphone users estimated to hit 2.53 billion next year, there’s an app for almost everything a small business could need.
Whether you spend a lot of time out and about, or just want an easy, seamless solution to some of your recurring pain points, here are 10 of the best apps out there for small business use.
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Payment apps for small businesses
Setting up a reliable way to receive payment is a must for small businesses. Here are some of the options you can choose from.
PayPal is a widely recognised payments service, and often popular with small businesses for that reason.
For businesses, PayPal offers two packages - one for free, and one that costs £20 a month. The free service allows you to accept credit and debit card payments, with checkout on the PayPal website, where as with the paid service you can keep payments on your own site, as well as take advantage of additional features.
If you’re the kind of business that needs to receive payments in person and want to offer that service to customers using credit or debit cards, iZettle can be a good solution.
The iZettle card readers sync with an app on your device via Bluetooth, and it also has a free and £20 a month option. The plus package gives you personalised sales reports for different staff members and offers evening and weekend support should something go wrong.
For a more holistic solution, you could try SagePay, which offers both online and face-to-face payments, as well as an invoicing solution.
There are no free versions of SagePay, and you have to pay separately for each tool you want - ranging from a 0.59% transaction fee to £19.99 a month - but buying all your payment solutions from the same provider can give you a better overall picture of your cashflow.
Want suggestions for accounting and bookkeeping apps and software? Check out our article on the best accounting software for small businesses.
Organisation apps for small business
Keeping things organised can fall by the wayside when you’re busy trying to run your business. These apps can help you keep things in check.
Evernote allows you to write notes, clip text from the web and even create slide decks, all from your phone or tablet. And it syncs across devices, making it easy to access your notes from anywhere.
Evernote has a business version, with three pricing tiers, but also offers a 30-day free trial so you can see if it’s the organisational solution you’ve been looking for before you commit.
If it’s project management you struggle with, Omifocus 2 might be what you need - particularly if you have a lot going on at once. It offers to-do lists, location reminders, maildrops and much more.
Omnifocus costs a £39.99 one-off payment for the standard version, and £79.99 for the pro version. It’s currently only available for Mac and iOS.
True to its name, Clear is one of the simplest ways of getting yourself more organised. It’s an app that meshes with your phone’s existing framework, offering easily organised to-do lists and push notifications to make sure you get things done.
Again, there’s no free version of Clear, but the app can be purchased for a one-off payment of £4.99.
Marketing and loyalty apps for small businesses
Securing customers can be hard enough, let alone keeping them coming back time and time again. Try these apps to up your customer acquisition and retention.
Facebook Pages Manager
Facebook is a key tool for engaging with both existing and prospective customers, especially with the new Facebook Marketplace feature giving small business owners an extra sales avenue.
But keeping up with Facebook can be a chore, especially when you’re busy running your business.
Pages Manager was created by Facebook, so you don’t have to worry about how well it will integrate with the site itself. While people have reported flaws with the app, it’s a great first step at getting to grips with using social media to interact with your customers.
Nimble is a customer relationship management app that combines your phone contacts with business insight. From email tracking to pipeline management, it gives you powerful insights into the often opaque works of sales and marketing.
Pricing for Nimble starts from $22 a month, but you can give the app a whirl before you commit with a 14-day free trial.
Desk is a tool created by Salesforce particularly to help small business owners who are often on the go and need to make sure their customers are looked after even when they’re away from their actual desk.
Desk comes with a 14-day free trial, and after that has tiered pricing from $20 a month up to $100 a month, depending on your needs and budget.
Google apps for small business
Google has a whole suite of apps that can be useful for small businesses, from word processing to spreadsheets - and they’re all free to use.
Importantly, the information inputted into the google apps are held in the cloud rather than on your device, so you can start a document on your phone and go back to edit it once you’re at your computer, or easily access your database from a tablet while you’re on the move.
Another benefit of these cloud-based apps is that you won’t lose everything if your computer or mobile device malfunctions. You can also adjust sharing settings to allow certain people to view or collaborate on your documents, or make them completely open to the public.