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The 13 Best Business Apps for Every Task in 2017

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A businessman on a park bench using his mobile phone

Entrepreneurs and small business owners have a huge amount of tasks to juggle – and there’s an equally huge number of business apps and tools out there that claim to help manage them. So many, in fact, that finding the best apps for your particular needs can become a problem in itself.

With hundreds of different options for collaboration, sharing, note-taking, emails and everything else, how do you know which apps are going to do the job you need them to for your business?

In this post we’ll look at 13 different categories of business apps, recommend the best option for each, and suggest a few alternatives in the event that the top picks don’t fit your requirements.

Vector image with title: 'Best Business Apps for Every Task'

The 13 Best Business Apps by Category in 2017

For those of you looking for an app for one specific kind of task, here’s our final list, sorted by category:

1. Best collaboration tool: Slack

2. Best email client: Spark

3. Best email marketing software: Mailchimp

4. Best survey app: SurveyMonkey

5. Best help desk software: HappyFox

6. Best to-do list app: Wunderlist

7. Best HR software: Bamboo HR

8. Best social media marketing tool: Buffer

9. Best calculator app: Wolfram Alpha

10. Best password manager: 1Password

11. Best freelancer app: Fiverr

12. Best GPS app: Waze

13. Best note-taking app: Evernote

Now let’s go through the benefits of each app, as well as some of the other options available..

 

1. Best collaboration tool: Slack

How many of you have some kind of team communication tool in your office that nobody uses or likes?

Cloud-based collaboration app, Slack, puts many of its competitors to shame, with a streamlined messaging system that handles chat and file-sharing with ease.

Screenshot of collaboration tool, Slack

Maybe the biggest convenience of all is the fact that Slack can be integrated with a long list of 3rd-party business apps – so you can get all of your notifications in one place without constantly switching back and forth.

More collaboration tools: Trello, Asana, Dapulse

 

2. Best email client: Spark

As your company grows, so does the hassle of managing your email inbox. For small businesses especially, where people often find themselves working across many different roles, this can become a real problem.

Enter Spark: the smart mail app that sorts through your incoming messages, automatically categorises and groups them (business, personal etc.) and gives you options for speedy replying.

Screenshot of Spark email client

It works with any email address, and with its sleek, easy-to-use interface and handy options for filter and search, Spark really is a fantastic organisation tool.

Alternative email client: eM Client

 

3. Best email marketing software: MailChimp

Logo of MailChimp email marketing software

Mailchimp takes much of the pain out of email marketing, letting you build attractive email campaigns with a minimum of fuss.

What’s really impressive is that the mobile app is just as feature-rich as the desktop version. You can build and monitor identical campaigns in a matter of minutes from your mobile device – vital if you’re planning on marketing across multiple time-zones.

More email marketing software: Pardot, Campaigner

 

4. Best survey app: SurveyMonkey

Every business needs to conduct market research, but for those just starting out it can take a massive amount of time and resource to gather the necessary data.

SurveyMonkey makes this a much simpler process, whether you’re looking for in-depth responses or just taking a quick poll, allowing you to quickly create and send surveys built from a variety of templates:

Screenshot from SurveyMonkey survey app

And once again, you can manage the whole process on mobile – from design right through to analysis of your results.

More survey apps: Polldaddy, SmartSurvey

 

5. Best help desk software: HappyFox

Logo for HappyFox help desk software

More and more business is being done outwith traditional office hours, especially for online operations with customers scattered across the globe.

HappyFox is a help desk tool that lets your customer service staff handle all of their duties remotely via a mobile app, whenever and wherever you need them to.

Nifty features include support for more than 35 different languages, encrypted security and, once again, the ability to sync with your other business apps for a seamless experience.

Alternative help desk software: Zoho Desk, Vivantio

 

6. Best to-do list app: Wunderlist

To-do list apps might be the most abundant out of all the different categories in this post, which makes it even harder for any of them to stand out.

Wunderlist definitely does that though. Another cloud-based app, its minimal and intuitive design makes it easy to plan both work and personal tasks, and setup reminders.

Screenshot from Wunderlist to-do list app

You can also share your list with others, either for collaborative tasks or even just to have someone hold you accountable for completing them in time!

More to-do list apps: Remember The Milk, Todoist

 

7. Best HR software: BambooHR

As your business grows, human resources can very quickly become unmanageable, but a tool like BambooHR can help lighten the load.

You can conduct performance reviews, track applications and manage staff benefits – all entirely from mobile.

Screenshot from BambooHR human resources software

As an employee, you can quickly request time off and check outstanding holidays, as well as create and track any targets you’ve been set, whether by your boss or yourself.

Alternative HR software: Zenefits

 

8. Best social media marketing tool: Buffer

Logo of Buffer social media marketing tool

Most businesses are managing multiple social media accounts these days, and depending on how well-staffed you are in this area you might find yourself spread a little thin.

Buffer is a great tool that lets you schedule and post across multiple different networks, and view all of the analytics reports from within one central hub.

For the most efficient planning and scheduling, you can create seperate custom schedules for each of your profiles. And for added ease, there’s even a Buffer browser extension that allows for instant sharing without having to open the app or any of your individual networks.

More social media marketing tools: Buzzsumo, Feedly, Social Rank

 

9. Best calculator app: Wolfram Alpha

Calling Wolfram Alpha a calculator app is probably doing it a disservice, because it’s so much more than that.

A ‘knowledge engine’ (or answer engine), the app is able to provide answers and statistics for a vast number of complex, computational queries.

 

Screenshot from Wolfram Alpha answer engine

That means that as well as being handy for any day-to-do mathematical problems, it can also be used to provide instant demographic information, stock data and other queries several times more complicated than those that a standard calculator could answer.

Alternative calculator app: Financial Calculators

 

10. Best password manager: 1Password

The more business apps and software you use, the more passwords you’re going to very quickly accumulate.

1Password provides a single, secure online space to store your ever-growing list of usernames and passwords – using (as the name suggests) just one master password, or fingerprint access on mobile.

Screenshot of 1Password password manager

More than that though, you can also save bank cards, accounts, security questions and form submissions, neatly organising them all for swift, one-click access when needed.

Alternative password managers: Dashlane, Sticky Password

 

11. Best freelancer app: Fiverr

Logo of Fiverr freelance marketplace

There’s always a point in the early stages of a new business where you have more things to do than you have people to do them, and taking on full-time staff isn’t always an option.

Fiverr is a freelance services marketplace where you can find specialists of all kinds to hire for those tasks that you just don’t have the knowledge (or time) to carry out yourself.

Services range from $5 (hence the name) to $500, meaning there are very few jobs you can’t find a hire for. It’s particular useful for entrepreneurs who need design or programming work done.

Alternative freelancer app: Upwork

 

12. Best GPS app: Waze

It’s one thing to have your work day perfectly scheduled out on paper, it’s another entirely to actually stick to it and make it to half a dozen meetings on time.

Waze is one of the most useful GPS apps ever made, letting you plan your day to the minute through its route-planner boosted by real-time traffic updates, submitted by its users.

Graphic demonstrating Waze GPS app's reminder features

Taking info submitted by other drivers, Waze can alert you as you approach accidents, traffic jams, police, roadworks and pretty much anything else that might slow you down – saving you valuable time and money on your daily commute.

Alternative GPS app: HERE WeGo

 

13. Best note-taking app: Evernote

Evernote stands out among a variety of similar apps for the sheer amount of useful features that it packs.

It allows you to save notes in the form of text, images, webpages, audio recordings and any other format that you might need to store something in, syncing them across all of your devices for easy access.

Screenshot from Evernote's note-taking app

The app also has a huge amount of useful templates (like the one above) so you can keep things consistent and easily readable, and as with all cloud-based tools its all instantly sharable for collaboration.

More note-taking apps: OneNote, Simplenote

 

More Business Resources

If you found these business apps useful then you might also be interested in our recent post on the best websites for entrepreneurs and startups, where we picked out 25 niche sites covering many different key areas of modern business.

We’d like to know your thoughts too. Have you used any of the apps or tools in the list? Or do you have a preferred option that didn’t appear here? Let us know.

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