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Best Small Business Mobile Apps & Productivity Software in 2021

So Many Small Business Apps, So Little Time


Shopping for software to help support your small business can be daunting. A quick google search brings up hundreds of options and it’s hard to know which features you really need. So we decided to comb through and test out the vast productivity app landscape to find the most helpful tools – that are affordable and easy to use – for small business owners. Our number one criteria? Apps that do everything you need on your mobile phone.

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Our top picks will help you save time and money by automating everything from payroll to email marketing. Instead of pouring over spreadsheets for hours each week, you can focus on doing what you love, providing excellent products and services to your customers.

What To Look For In Small Business Software & Mobile Apps


Small Business Mobile Productivity App Features - Flexibility

Flexible Contracts

We excluded any vendors that require risky long-term commitments or have vague details about which features cost extra. Apps with monthly contracts help businesses try out different tools risk free so they can find the right fit for their needs.

Small Business Mobile Productivity App Features - Pricing

Pricing

Some software tools are designed for large companies and their prices reflect that. Small business owners don’t usually need all of that functionality. We focused on finding affordable apps with an array of useful features.

Small Business Mobile Productivity App Features - Simple Easy to Use

Simple & Easy to Use

There are powerful apps on the market that allow their customers to customize everything with the help of developers and system administrators. But small business owners are not looking to become experts in coding languages; they want an app with workflows that are easy to learn and provide value right away.

Small Business Mobile Productivity App Features - Scalability

Scale as You Grow

You can’t know what the future has in store, but you can prepare for change by choosing apps that can grow with your business. When you outgrow a tool, having to move all of your company data to a new system is tedious, time consuming and often costly. Our top picks offer affordable, or free, entry level versions that can be upgraded with more robust features if and when you need them.


Bookkeeping, Accounting & Finance


Freshbooks

"Reshaping the world to suit the needs of self-employed professionals and their teams."

Freshbooks is super popular with their customers– and we can see why. This app is a great fit for small businesses, freelancers and solopreneurs. Users especially love how it can be customized to their brand, giving their business the professionalism of a larger enterprise so they can win bigger projects or orders.

Feature Highlights

  • Invoices and estimates
  • Expenses
  • Time tracking
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Designed for growing small businesses
  • Almost all of their functionality works on mobile!

Pricing

Freshbooks doesn’t have a free tier like some of our other top picks but it is fairly affordable. Paid versions range from $15/month to $50/month depending on what features you need. Freshbooks offers discounts if you are willing to pay annually upfront.


Payment Gateway & Processing


Stax

"Radically simplify your payments infrastructure with an all-in-one platform and subscription-style merchant services."

Stax (formerly known as Fattmerchant) has a very unique pricing model for payments by offering subscription plans with a flat rate. Customers only pay interchange fees along with the plan’s monthly rate. Since most other providers have complicated pricing structures, this app makes budgeting a lot easier.

Feature Highlights

  • Universal payments: swiped, keyed, mobile, online & contactless
  • Send Invoices through email or SMS text with auto-reminders
  • Create customer profiles with stored payment details
  • Create shopping carts for your website
  • Use your branding for a sleek and professional look
  • Sync with accounting apps like Quickbooks

Pricing

Prices start at $99/month on a subscription plan.


Inventory Management


Sortly

"The simplest inventory software for business and teams to stay on top of their stuff."

Inventory Management has always been bulky, expensive and not very mobile. Business owners often chose to save money by manually tracking their stock. Luckily, the market has matured and there are now dozens of affordable and straightforward options. Sortly is our top pick for a mobile friendly inventory management and asset tracking app.

Feature Highlights

  • View photo-based inventory
  • Utilize QR code or barcode tracking
  • Enable notifications regarding stock levels
  • Allows for multiple users with permission settings
  • Works on computers, tablets, iPhones, & Android phones
  • Create reports for end of month planning

Pricing

We love that Sortly offers a free tier that works well for individuals and businesses that are just starting out. The first paid tier is priced around $50/month with a discount if you pay annually upfront.


Time Tracking & Management


Jibble

"Track when your staff are at work for attendance,payroll and projects."

Jibble is a well liked and affordable time tracking app. Most importantly, your employees can log their hours directly from their mobile phones. We love that they have a free plan with unlimited users, which is very helpful for businesses on tight budgets.

Feature Highlights

  • Track hours for attendance, projects and payroll
  • Use timestamps, facial recognition and geolocation technology
  • Automate your timesheets and reports
  • Create approval guidelines for overtime
  • Allocate hours towards projects with automated project costing reports
  • Retain two months of historical data
  • Offline mode- great for employees on the road with spotty coverage

Pricing

Aside from the free plan, monthly billing plans start from $2/user/month. The best part is that only active users are counted in the monthly billing cycle which is helpful for seasonal work. If you have 50 employees but only 25 log their hours during the last month, you are only charged for those 25 users.


Team Communication & Collaboration


Slack

"Slack makes it downright pleasant to work together."

Slack is very popular, easy to use and offers lots of features to collaborate with your employees. The most popular feature is channels. Channels can be private, only open to specific departments or projects, or public, someone looking for the latest contract document can pop into the finance channel to ask for help or search for files.

Feature Highlights

  • Channels, direct messages and group chats
  • Video and file sharing
  • Customizable emojis
  • Drag and drop uploads
  • Task management, commenting and notes
  • App Integrations for accounting, marketing, CRM, and more

Pricing

Slack has a free version that works great for very small teams. This app has monthly or annual paid plans starting as low as $8/user/month.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


Pipedrive

"Pipedrive is the first CRM platform made for salespeople, by salespeople."

CRM apps are important repositories of all your customer data. Keeping contact information, contracts and proposals, sales opportunities, etc. in one place helps small businesses provide better customer service and increase sales. Pipedrive gives you a streamlined view of your sales process and is purposefully designed for smaller companies.

Feature Highlights

  • Sales pipelines
  • Sales forecasting
  • Revenue reporting
  • Activity dashboards
  • Contact histories including email conversations
  • Calendar sync, document management and more

Pricing

This app does not have a free version. Their paid versions can be billed monthly or annual upfront with pricing ranging from $18/user/month to $100/user/month.


Document Storage & File Management


Dropbox Business

"Everything you need for work, all in one place."

Cloud storage for documents is a lifesaver for business owners that need to access contracts, proposals,and designs from their phone or tablet. Dropbox was one of the very first cloud based document management companies on the market so while this app is not the most feature rich option, be assured that what they do, they do very well.

Feature Highlights

  • File sharing
  • Organization and backup
  • Automatic updates
  • Integrates with CRM
  • Secure login
  • Version history
  • Anytime, anywhere access
  • Link sharing over email or text message

Pricing

Dropbox Business has a free version to store up to 2GB of data. Their paid versions range between $15/month (5TB of data) to $25/month (unlimited data storage). This app offers discounts with an annual upfront commitment.


Email Marketing & Communications


Mailchimp

"Bring your audience data, marketing channels, and insights together so you can reach your goals faster—all from a single platform."

Marketing is a crucial but difficult requirement for businesses of all sizes. If you don’t have a dedicated marketing team or you’re a sole proprietor, MailChimp is a super helpful and popular tool. It’s easy to use and has a free forever option. MailChimp also has a reputation for quality customer service.

Feature Highlights

  • Build email distribution lists
  • Create custom signup forms
  • Connect to social media channels
  • Customize email templates
  • Provides Mail merge
  • Track real-time reporting
  • Create drip email marketing campaigns
  • View engagement analytics
  • Manage subscriber lists
  • And much more

Pricing

MailChimp has a free forever version for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 email sends per month. Their paid versions offer monthly pricing ranging from $20/month to $35/month.


Business Networking & Social Media


LinkedIn

"Connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful."

LinkedIn is a social media platform specifically for businesses and professional networking. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, we recommend that you set one up. It’s free for a general user but also has paid options for recruiting or sales prospecting. Users can follow their colleagues, industry and thought leaders, and clients to be alerted about upcoming conferences, company announcements, thoughtful discussions, and more.

Feature Highlights

  • Create a profile with your resume
  • Ask for references
  • Send direct messages
  • Request skill endorsement
  • Create company pages
  • Search for and connect with other professionals
  • Upload pictures and other documents
  • Follow trending topics in your newsfeed
  • Join discussion forums
  • Publish articles with the blogging interface

Pricing

The majority of LinkedIn users are on the free plan which offers all the benefits of networking. You can also purchase premium plans for sales prospecting and recruiting that range in cost from $80/month to $120/month.


All-in-One Turnkey Small Business Software


Zoho Suite

"Unique and powerful suite of software to run your entire business, brought to you by a company with the long term vision to transform the way you work."

Honorable Mention

We included apps in this list that are stand-alone, meaning you don’t have to buy into a package with features you don’t need (or a package lacking the features you do need). That being said, Zoho Suite gets an honorable mention as a small business platform with mobile apps for CRM, email marketing, invoicing, internal communication, document management and more. If you would rather have one central tool for all of your business needs, this is a great choice. Their pricing is very affordable ranging from $4/user/month to $7/user/month with discounts for annual upfront commitments.

Conclusion


These apps offer the flexibility and pricing that small businesses need to grow and thrive. If you have a small business, freelance or have a side hustle, you can benefit from streamlining all your manual tasks. Do you have favorite mobile apps that we didn’t include in this list? Let us know!

Small Business Resources by LinkedPhone

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Books for Business Growth
Small Business Mobile Apps
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The 30-Second Elevator Pitch
Perfect Voicemail Greetings
Add Click-to-Dial To Your Website
What is VoIP? How Does it Work?
Guide to Small Business Software
What is a Virtual Phone System?
How to Share a Team Phone Number
Toll-Free vs. Local Business Number
Learn the Parts of a Phone Number
Inspirational Small Business Quotes
Mastering the Art of the Cold Call

A special high five to Tahera Ali Khan for her outstanding research and contributions to this article. We love working with and supporting like-minded entrepreneurs. Thank you Tahera! ❤️

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