Author: Jomo Barnett
I am an online marketer, Jamaican travel expert, and a self-appointed ambassador for Jamaican culture and food. I am a copywriter and entrepreneur at heart, and I make occasional blog posts to share my thoughts and hopefully help others looking to navigate earning online or planning to travel to Jamaica.
Whether you are starting a side hustle, a mom and pop shop, an outsourcing agency with clients and freelancers around the world, or a huge LLC with investors, you need business apps to help you run your venture. These days we are all on the go, and almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet. Did you know you can transform your mobile device into a productivity machine and have your business with you while on the go by downloading and using some awesome apps for business?
In this list of top 10 business apps, here are my guidelines:
- Rather than ranking 10 specific apps, I will rank the apps by what they do, and list free and paid apps that I have either used myself, or that come highly recommended
- I will list apps for both Android and iOS, so you can find an app regardless of your device
- All apps listed below are available on both Android and iOS unless otherwise stated
- This list is my subjective opinion on the types of apps I use for business daily, and not some gospel or top 10 apps you cannot be successful without
Now let’s jump into my list of 10 must-have apps for business
1) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Business Apps
A good CRM business app should be the first thing you look for if you plan on running a successful and well-organized business. As the name suggests, a Customer Relationship Management tool helps you manage your relationship with your internal and external customers. At the very basic end, a CRM will allow you to create accounts for leads, (potential customers) and clients (employees, suppliers, etc.). You can make notes, set tasks/reminders, and even track your communication.
I use Zoho One (which comes with Zoho CRM) to manage my businesses, which is a suite of business apps and solutions including CRM and many other features. You can check out Zoho One to see if fits your business’ needs.
Recommended CRM Business Apps:
2) Social Media Management
Social media works for every business. It is a free channel where you can post updates, list your business’ contact information, talk directly to your audience, and advertise to thousands or millions of people for extremely low costs.
Many businesses make the mistake of either ignoring social media altogether, or they make boring posts simply because they feel obligated. By using a social media management business app, you can operate multiple social media accounts from a single interface, and send out a single post to several pages/accounts. You can also receive all your comments and messages in the same place, so you can avoid having to log in to say 3-5 social media accounts daily to keep up with your clients. Best of all you can schedule posts for days, weeks, and even months in advance, and these posts will get published automatically for the dates and times you set.
Social media management business apps are the way to go if you plan on spending less time on social media while getting more done so you can focus on growing your business.
Recommended Social Media Management Business Apps:
- Zoho Social
- Sprout Social
- Agora Pulse
3) Live Chat
The ability to instantly communicate with visitors as they browse your website to answer their questions is extremely powerful and greatly boosts your conversion rate. I have personally closed hundreds of deals through live chat, especially when I see someone accessing several pages trying to get more information about my products and services.
Some live chat apps provide powerful features, such as bots that you can program to ‘talk’ to your visitors when you are not online, the ability to call your visitors for free instead of texting, sending and receiving files, remotely accessing your client’s computer, automatically creating tickets, transferring to different departments and much more.
Recommended Live Chat Business Apps:
4) Team Communication/Messaging Apps For Business
Whether you work with occasional freelancers or have a full-time staff, you need to be able to communicate freely with your team. Business apps for team communication will play a huge role in your business’ success. You need to be able to chat with your team as a group or individually to ensure projects are running on schedule and that teammates are informed of developments as they happen.
When selecting a messaging app, some features you want to look for include the ability to search previous messages, video/audio call capabilities, third party integrations, and the ability to send files. I use Slack and Zoom to communicate with my teammates and clients, and Whatsapp Business or Google Meet to communicate with my customers.
Recommended Team Communication Business Apps:
- Whatsapp Business
- Google Meet
Finding a good business app for email can be much harder than you think, as I had to do a fair amount of research until I found the best solutions for me. As a paid option, Google Workspace business emails are hard to beat, as you get access to their superior email search feature and a lot of other useful business tools. The prices also start at $5 per month per user, which isn’t too bad.
An excellent free option is Zoho Mail, which allows you to create free business email addresses for up to 5 people in your company. You can use it on a browser, desktop, or mobile devices, and the free version is quite robust. You can also opt for their paid versions, which start at $1.99 per month and include advanced features such as being able to use other email clients to send and receive emails, as well as additional storage.
Recommended Email Apps For Business:
- Zoho Mail (Zoho Workspace)
- Gmail (Google Workspace)
- Microsoft Outlook
- Edison Mail
6) Project Management
If you run a service-based business, you need to start using a project management tool as soon as possible. Project management business apps allow you to create the workflow for your projects, whether internal tasks such as building your website or creating your business plan, to organizing work for your clients such as developing an app, baking a gourmet wedding cake, or arranging a pre-sales meeting.
You can create projects and list each step as a task, and assign tasks to a specific member of your team with a budget, a deadline, and notes. Your team can communicate on each step of the project through direct messaging, share files, and more. Some project management tools like Nifty even offers you the option to grant your clients access to a project so they can track your progress and add their input when necessary.
Recommended Project Management Business Apps:
- Zoho Projects
7) Payment Gateway
If you are unable to collect payments, are you really running a business? It is now easier than ever to collect payments online from your clients. If you live in the United States, Canada, or other developed countries, then you will have access to a ton of payment gateways to choose from, such as PayPal, Stripe, 2checkouts, and more.
If you live in a developing country, however (like I do), these popular payment gateways are usually harder to work with, or downright impossible to use since they tend not to support withdrawals to local banks. There is now a workaround called Fygaro, which allows businesses worldwide to collect payments effortlessly online.
Be sure to contact the bank you will be using in your country and find out what e-commerce solutions they offer/support before choosing what payment business apps are the best fit for you.
Recommended Payment Gateways:
- Fygaro (desktop interface only, but best for Caribbean businesses)
You need to keep track of your income and expenses, and there is no better way to do this than with bookkeeping business apps. In addition to balancing your finances, bookkeeping apps allow you to invoice your clients, and some even come integrated with several of the payment gateways we outlined above that will automatically update your records once your clients make a payment.
Other neat features include setting up monthly invoicing so your clients are automatically invoiced each month, powerful reports so you can get a full breakdown of how you are earning and spending, the ability to customize your invoices, and much more.
Recommended Bookkeeping Apps For Business:
- Zoho Books
Keep forgetting to do half of the stuff you want to get done each day? By using note-taking business apps you can make quick notes or record voice notes to keep yourself on track to productivity each day. You can turn notes into a checklist, a shopping list, a to-do list, and more.
You can also take note-taking to a whole new level, by creating “how to’ guides for your team that you can compile into a knowledgebase for your business so that your current and future employees can access these notes rather than forcing yourself to teach them yourself.
Recommended Notebook Apps For Business:
- Nimbus Note
- Simple Note
- Ulysses (iOS only)
Finally, you need a good calendar so that you can keep track of your daily schedule. I personally use Google Calendar on my Android smartphone and sync it up with every booking form that I use, so that my availability is automatically updated when someone books my time, which prevents me from being double booked.
Good calendar business apps allow you to manually update your calendar with reminders or events, and sync up with several popular business apps such as Zoom, Google Meets, Calendly, and much more. You should also be able to share your calendar with your clients or team so they can book your time whenever needed.
As a business owner, time is money, so you need a reliable calendar app for business.
Recommended Calendar Apps For Business:
- Google Calendar
- Team Up
A Recap Of My Top 10 Business Apps
2. Social media management
3. Live chat
4. Team communication
6. Project management
7. Payment gateway
There you have it! My list of top 10 must-have business apps. Agree with my list? Comment below to let me know what you consider as your top 10 apps for business.