10 App Categories Every Small Business Needs To Have

The ten app categories experts say every small business needs.


Our smartphones are nothing without apps; now, most businesses rely on all kinds of apps to function. However, too many apps can lead to confusion as information is spread out in many different places. So, which apps does your business truly need?

Ethan Bennet from Sonin walks you through the ten different kinds of apps that small businesses need to be successful.

Project Management Apps

Some of the most popular project management apps are Trello, Airtable, and Asana. All of these apps fit nicely into a small business atmosphere, but each provides a different service in the project management arena.

  • Trello is used to manage projects visually. It lays out all the business’ tasks in specific lists that are visually pleasing and easy to interact with.

  • Airtable is great for assigning individual tasks and categorizing tasks by the stage of development they are in. Each employee has the power to categorize the task they are working on.

  • Asana is a helpful app for teams working on projects together. It allows open communication among the members of a team, as well as offering flexible management methodologies to adapt to individual organizational needs.

An added benefit of all of these apps is that they are free to use.

Accounting And Invoicing Apps

Although small businesses do not need to account for many employees, it’s still good to have a digital helper to ensure everyone is financially squared away. The top accounting app for small businesses is Intuit QuickBooks. ‘It is extremely user-friendly, to the point that you need no accounting background to figure out how to use it,’ says Ethan.

Other accounting and invoicing apps of note are:

  • Wave is best for invoicing, and many of its functions are free. $8 monthly will get you extra services, like scanning expense receipts.

  • Freshbooks is excellent for really small businesses, while Zoho Books is perfect for small businesses on the larger side.

Communication Apps

The most common and user-friendly app when it comes to messaging for any business is Slack. ‘It has proven for years that it can hold up against other communication apps in terms of keeping chats organized,’ Ethan states. It can be used for free in a limited capacity, making it appealing to small businesses trying to save a buck.

If you want extra features, Slack has a few paid versions, including Slack Pro ($7.25 per month), which allows small teams to conduct audio and video meetings on the app and allows group messaging with entities outside your business.

Microsoft Teams and Skype are perfect for video chats and virtual meetings.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Apps

Salesforce, Hubspot, and Zoho CRM take the top spots in this category. Salesforce is the most expensive app at $25 per month per user, but it is the most comprehensive customer management app on the market.

Ethan says, ‘These kinds of apps are necessary because they help the sales departments of small businesses to understand their customers’ needs and how they can have better engagement with current and future customers.’

Marketing Apps

A big part of growing a small business is having a good marketing strategy to attract potential customers. ‘Marketing can be done in countless ways,’ says Ethan, ‘so having an app to help you organize your creative thoughts and translate them into marketing content is key.’

The top three marketing apps for small businesses are:

  • Canva, because it is free and has a wide variety of artistic tools that can be used to create a whole marketing campaign.

  • Yelp for Business is a great tool to get your business website some traffic, and you can also respond to reviews and add professional photos to your Yelp Business page.

  • Mailchimp is specific to email marketing and automates most of the emailing process so you can focus on more important things.

Scheduling Apps

When launching a small business, scheduling important meetings and events is important. Without a chosen scheduling app, your employees will have disconnected communication about what is happening and when. ‘From the beginning, establishing a scheduling app like Google Calendar or Square Appointments across your small business will save time and keep you from answering unnecessary questions about when things are happening,’ urges Ethan.

Human Resources Apps

Even in small businesses, there are interpersonal problems that need solutions. A human resources team is essential in any business, and having the right app to manage all the cases can save you time and worry as you try to keep everyone happy.

There are also many repetitive human resources tasks like employee training, risk assessment, and payroll actions that apps like Bamboo HR have built-in workflows to manage.

E-Commerce Apps

Small businesses that make transactions with customers online need digital help to run efficiently. To streamline the e-commerce process, small businesses should consider using apps like Shopify and Square that make setting up and running an online business easy and user-friendly.

Data Analysis Apps

Google Analytics and Minitab are great for collecting data about your business transactions and giving weekly, monthly, or yearly reports that analyze the productivity of your small business. ‘These kinds of apps are extremely helpful because they eliminate the need for human involvement in data analytics,’ says Ethan, ‘The programs just run and do everything themselves so you and your employees can focus on more important tasks.’

Social Media Apps

Hootsuite is currently the favorite for creating social media content. It allows social media managers to schedule posts, monitor engagement in real time, and post seamlessly across different social media platforms. Social media presence is essential as a small business tries to grow, so starting on the right foot with quality content and regular posting will benefit a business in the long run.


Ethan says, ‘With the many categories of apps out there, the best thing you can do with your small business is assess your needs and decide on one app per category to start you off. If you like an app, maybe invest a bit of money each month to get the premium version and glean even more benefits from these already impressive business apps.’

About Neel Achary 19363 Articles
Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.