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10 Must-Have Small Business Applications in 2024

10 Must-Have Small Business Applications in 2024


Running a small business means bearing a thousand responsibilities at once. Every entrepreneur knows the struggle of trying to wear multiple hats, from accounting to marketing, all while trying to grow their business. The good news is, small business applications are here to help.

These apps are your right arms, helping to streamline your workflow and boost efficiency. Understanding the higher demand for these apps, Designveloper compiled a detailed list of the top 10 must-have apps for small business management

But first, let’s take a quick look at how to choose the right apps for your business.

6 Key Criteria to Choose the Right Small Business Applications

6 key criteria to choose the right small business applications

There are six key factors to consider if you want to choose the right apps. They include:

Budget: Small businesses often operate on tighter budgets than large enterprises. Therefore, it’s important to consider the cost of the application. It’s not just about the upfront cost, but also about the ongoing expenses like subscription fees, maintenance costs, and potential upgrade costs. Look for applications that offer good value for money in the long term, without compromising on quality and functionality. 

Features: The features of the application should align with your business needs. Additionally, it’s beneficial if the app offers customization options, allowing you to tailor the features to your possibly changing requirements.

Ease of Use: The app’s user interfaces should be intuitive and easy to navigate. As such, your team should be able to use the application without extensive training. It’s because a complex app can slow down your operations and lead to unexpected costs, negating any benefits it may offer. So, look for small business applications known for their user-friendly design.

Scalability: Your needs will change when your business grows. So the app should scale with your business. This means it should have the scalable capacity to handle increased workload and complexity as your business expands. 

Integrations: The app should be able to integrate seamlessly with the other tools and software you’re already using in your business. This ensures a smooth workflow and prevents disruptions in your operations.

Security: The app should have robust security measures to protect your sensitive business data. This includes encryption for data at rest and in transit, regular security updates, and compliance with industry-standard security protocols.

10 Best Small Business Applications in 2024

The global small business market is on fire, projected to grow 8.5% annually (CAGR) between 2021 and 2026, reaching a staggering USD 3,120 billion by 2026. 

The rising demand for small business applications primarily drives this impressive growth. Therefore, tools such as customer relationship management and sales force automation are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to streamline business processes and boost productivity.

So, with the market booming, what are the essential applications you should invest in? Let’s explore them in this section!

Project Management

Project management (PM) applications help your business plan, organize, and manage your projects efficiently. Besides, they provide a structured approach to project management, enabling your teams to track their progress, collaborate effectively, and meet project deadlines. For this reason, these small business applications can help streamline operations, improve productivity, and reduce costs.



Trello is well-known for its simplicity and flexibility. This popular PM software includes a variety of core functionalities to serve project management, meetings, task management, and more.

In particular, it employs a system based on cards, with each card symbolizing a specific task. Besides, you can create boards for different projects, add cards for tasks, and move them between lists to track progress. 

Further, Trello also features its Butler – a built-in automation tool that empowers your teams to automate repetitive tasks and workflows, essentially functioning as a digital assistant for your Trello projects. Without coding knowledge, you can set up automation for Butler to move cards between lists, add labels, set due dates, manage checklists, and more.

Why is Trello Suitable for Small Businesses?

Trello shines as a project management tool for small businesses due to several key strengths:

  • Simplicity and User-Friendliness: Trello boasts a remarkably intuitive interface. Even those new to project management software can quickly grasp its visual layout with boards, lists, and cards. This minimizes any learning curve and gets your team up and running fast.
  • Flexibility and Customization: You can customize boards, lists, and cards on Trello to perfectly match the specific needs of your projects and workflows. This adaptability makes it suitable for a wide range of tasks and teams.
  • Visual Organization: Trello’s strength lies in its visual approach. Seeing tasks laid out on boards with progress tracked through moving cards creates a clear understanding of project flow and workload. This ensures everyone stays updated all the time.

Other Best Alternatives

While Trello is a great tool, there are other project management apps that small businesses might find useful:

  • Asana: Asana is a robust project management tool that helps teams organize and manage their work. It offers features like task lists, Kanban boards, calendars, and Gantt charts. Asana also integrates with other tools like Slack, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Hive: Like Trello, Hive also brings all your work into one centralized place. It offers features like action cards, project layouts, and automated workflows. Hive also provides analytics to track team productivity.

Communication & Collaboration

Regardless of scale, any business requires a comprehensive tool to facilitate real-time interaction, information sharing, and teamwork among individuals and teams. This is where communication and collaboration apps come into play. They provide core features (e.g., instant messaging, file sharing, and task management) to enhance your team’s communication, collaboration, and productivity. 



Slack is a widely used tool that brings all your team’s interactions together in one place. It offers features like channels for group discussions, direct messages for one-on-one conversations, and the ability to share files and documents. Besides, this tool allows you to integrate with a variety of external sources (e.g., GitHub, Google Drive, or Trello).

Slack is known for its Slack AI, which helps you make smarter searches, summarize your conversations immediately, and more. 

Another noticeable AI-powered functionality is Workflow Builder. It allows for creating custom automated processes with a drag-and-drop interface and automating repetitive tasks within Slack. These tasks can include sending welcome messages to new team members, collecting information from your team, or reporting issues.

Why is Slack Suitable for Small Businesses?

Slack is a good choice for your small business due to its robust features and integrations. With these built-in capabilities, you can:

  • Streamline Communication: Slack cuts down on email clutter and replaces scattered conversations across different platforms with a central hub for communication. This keeps all members constantly updated and minimizes possible misunderstandings.
  • Organize Collaboration: Slack allows you to create topic-specific areas for discussions and file sharing. This keeps things organized and ensures team members can easily find the information they need.
  • Integrate with Other Tools: Slack’s integration with numerous business tools allows you to manage tasks, schedules, and documents directly within the platform. This removes the need to switch to other apps. 

Other Best Alternatives

In addition to Slack, here are other small business applications serving your communication and collaboration:

  • GoToMeeting: Developed by LogMeIn, GoToMeeting is a service hosted on the web. This comprehensive software package facilitates online meetings, desktop sharing, and video conferencing. Therefore, you can interact with other computer users, clients, or colleagues in real time over the Internet.
  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams serves as a comprehensive platform for communication and collaboration. It integrates persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaborative editing of files), and application integration into a unified platform.

Employee Scheduling & Management

These tools help your business schedule shifts, track time, and manage payroll by automating administrative tasks, reducing scheduling errors, and improving employee satisfaction. They offer some common features like shift scheduling, time tracking, payroll processing, and employee communication.


Gusto - one of the best small business applications

​​Gusto is a comprehensive employee scheduling and management tool that simplifies administrative tasks. It offers features like automatic payroll, benefits administration, and HR management. 

Beyond recruitment and onboarding, Gusto assists your business in nurturing and expanding your talent pool. With its talent management tools, you can assess workforce performance and foster a positive culture that encourages proactive feedback exchange.

Besides, Gusto stands out with its Insights & Reporting capabilities. These functions help you understand HR expenses and workforce satisfaction through features such as customizable reports, anonymous team surveys, and automatic compliance alerts. This enables you to make data-backed business decisions and enhance your profitability.

Why is Gusto Suitable for Small Businesses?

Gusto stands out as a helpful platform for small businesses for a few key reasons:

  • Simplified Payroll: Gusto automates many time-consuming tasks associated with payroll, including tax calculations, filings, and direct deposits. This frees up small business owners to focus on other important aspects of running their businesses.
  • Easy to Use: The platform is known for its user-friendly interface. As such, you may find it easy to navigate around Gusto, even without prior HR or payroll experience.
  • Affordable Pricing: Gusto offers transparent pricing with plans starting at a reasonable monthly cost. This makes it accessible for those with tight budgets. Besides, Gusto provides features like employee self-service options and helpful resources for onboarding new hires.

Other Best Alternatives

Apart from Gusto, you can consider other best small business applications to manage your employees as follows:

  • Rippling: Rippling is an all-in-one HR platform that makes it easy to manage your company’s payroll, benefits, HR, and IT – an all-in-one, modern platform. It’s been named the #1 Rated Payroll Software by G2, and it automates your HR processes from onboarding to offboarding by tying everything to an employee’s identity.
  • Paylocity: Paylocity can handle all aspects of payroll, HR, benefits, and talent management. It’s a great tool for SMBs looking to streamline their HR processes and enable their teams to access HR-related information and tasks in one place.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM software aids your business in overseeing and scrutinizing customer engagements and information throughout the customer journey. Equipped with a multitude of inherent features, these tools assist in bolstering your business relations with customers, boosting customer loyalty, and propelling sales growth.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM

As a free CRM tool, HubSpot CRM offers fundamental features for businesses of all sizes to handle unlimited customer data and up to 1M client contacts. These functionalities include custom dashboards & reporting, pipeline management, email marketing, and integrations with other HubSpot products and external platforms. 

Noticeably, HubSpot CRM offers cutting-edge AI features to streamline your workflow and boost your marketing and sales. The first one is ChatSpot. This AI companion enables you to communicate and manage your CRM data, hence gaining valuable data analytics on companies and keywords.

Besides, its HubSpot AI helps you automate repetitive tasks and gain actionable insights across HubSpot CRM. In particular, you might leverage AI-powered capabilities to craft a professional single-page website, high-quality content, engaging social media captions, and compelling blog content with just a few prompts.

Why is HubSpot CRM Suitable for Small Businesses?

HubSpot CRM offers several advantages that make it particularly suitable for any small business:

  • Free Forever Tier: HubSpot CRM boasts a forever-free plan with core features like contact management, deal tracking, and task automation. This makes it an attractive option for small businesses on a budget who can still benefit from a solid CRM system.
  • User-Friendly Interface: HubSpot is recognized for its instinctive and easy-to-navigate UI design.  Even small businesses without a dedicated IT team can easily set up and navigate the platform, ensuring everyone on the team can leverage its features.
  • All-in-One Approach: HubSpot offers a suite of integrated tools beyond just CRM, including marketing, sales, and customer service hubs. This allows you to manage various aspects of your customer relationships within a single platform.

Other Best Alternatives

If HubSpot isn’t your choice, consider other best solutions like:

  • Zoho CRM: Zoho CRM is crafted to captivate, maintain, and please customers, thereby fostering your business growth. It works well for small to large businesses and offers features like lead and contact management, purchase control, and sales pipeline management.
  • Vtiger: This platform is more than just a CRM. It comes with inbuilt features that span from email marketing to project management to propel your business advancement. 

Marketing & Analytics 

With the support of marketing & analytics applications, your business can understand, measure, and optimize its marketing efforts. As such, these tools integrate with various marketing data sources (e.g., CRM systems or website analytics) to collect, manage, and analyze data. Such data then provides insights for informed marketing decisions and increased sales. 



As one of the popular small business applications, Mailchimp offers a wide range of features to manage marketing campaigns, track customer data, and implement analytics. They include an email builder for creating impactful emails, a customer journey builder for automating campaigns, and a campaign manager for streamlining omnichannel marketing. 

Mailchimp also features advanced features like Intuit Assist. This GenAI capability works across the Mailchimp platform to automate manual marketing tasks and create personalized drafts. Further, it analyzes past performance data to offer recommendations that optimize your marketing strategy and improve future campaigns.

Why is Mailchimp Suitable for Small Businesses?

Mailchimp caters particularly well to small businesses for several reasons:

  • User-Friendly Design: Mailchimp is renowned for its intuitive interface. Creating and managing email campaigns doesn’t require coding knowledge or design expertise as it has drag-and-drop design tools. This makes it accessible even for small businesses with limited technical resources.
  • Audience Insights and Tracking: Mailchimp provides valuable data on the performance of your email campaigns. You can monitor metrics such as opens and click-throughs to gain insights into what appeals to your audience, thereby enhancing subsequent campaigns. 
  • Integrations with Other Tools: Mailchimp integrates with various popular business tools  This allows you to connect your email marketing efforts with your CRM, eCommerce platform, or other services you use to streamline your workflows.

Other Best Alternatives

Other alternatives to Mailchimp also offer robust marketing and analytics features:

  • ActiveCampaign: This cloud-based platform helps streamline your marketing efforts with a robust suite of features, including automation, omnichannel marketing, and segmentation. It also leverages AI to generate unique copy and strengthen customer relationships with a built-in CRM.
  • SproutLoud: This tool empowers your business to conduct local marketing strategies with AI capabilities. As such, it can localize your brand content, control your entire local marketing process from creation to execution, or track the performance of your local marketing efforts.

Social Media Management

The 2024 HubSpot Report crowns social media as the king of ROI in marketing channels. This dominance is fueled by the rise of social commerce, with a whopping 43% of marketers naming it their primary channel. Furthermore, 87% of marketers selling on social media reported its effectiveness in 2023, and 59% saw a surge in social sales compared to previous years.

These figures highlighted the high potential of social media for your business growth. But you need specialized apps to stay competitive in this game. These tools can oversee, publish, and keep track of social media activities. Therefore, they can assist in managing various tasks from customer support to generating leads. 


SocialPilot - one of the best small business applications

This comprehensive platform offers a range of features to help you manage your social media presence effectively. It boasts a user-friendly interface that simplifies the process of integrating team members, handling client approvals, and planning posts without any inconvenience.

SocialPilot supports multi-network scheduling. Accordingly, you can easily schedule and publish posts on all major social media platforms. 

Besides, SocialPilot provides comprehensive reporting tools, simplifying the process for your team and clients to obtain full-scale analytics for various social media accounts whenever required. Further, it provides an AI assistant to generate creative, unique, captivating captions and hashtags for different platforms.

Why is SocialPilot Suitable for Small Businesses?

SocialPilot is a worth considering app for small businesses because it offers the following benefits:

  • Cost-Effective Pricing: Compared to other peers, SocialPilot offers significant value for its price. This makes it a budget-friendly option for small businesses that might not have a lot of resources to dedicate to social media marketing.
  • All-in-One Solution: SocialPilot allows you to manage multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, from a single dashboard. This simplifies your workflow and saves you time from logging in and out of different platforms.
  • Scheduling and Content Curation: SocialPilot lets you schedule social media posts in advance, ensuring a consistent presence on these platforms. It also offers content curation features, helping you find and share relevant content to keep your audience engaged.

Other Best Alternatives

Consider these tools if you’re looking for alternatives to SocialPilot:

  • Buffer: Buffer is an intuitive, streamlined platform trusted by small businesses and individual creators to help drive meaningful engagement and growth on social media. It features straightforward social media scheduling.
  • Sprout Social: This fully-featured tool offers features such as social listening, customer care, analytics, and advocacy solutions. This makes it ideal for SMBs.

Accounting & Finance

These small business applications can easily help your business manage and track financial transactions, income, and expenses. These apps can automate time-consuming tasks, streamline workflows, and provide a more complete view of a business’s financial health. For small businesses, these apps offer a more affordable alternative to hiring an accountant or a large firm to manage their accounting, tax prep, and payroll.



Xero is an online accounting platform developed to simplify financial management for businesses of all sizes. Thanks to its cloud, you can do routine tasks and view financials remotely at any time. 

Xero goes beyond basic bookkeeping. It offers features like online invoicing, inventory management (for some plans), bank reconciliation, expense tracking, and payroll processing (in some regions). 

Besides, Xero allows you to connect to over 21K financial institutions globally for bank data, and accept online payments by credit card, debit card, or direct debit straight from your Xero invoice. It also supports project tracking, GST returns, and contact management. Noticeably, Xero’s data capture feature allows you to automate the process of inputting data into the system.

Why is Zero Suitable for Small Businesses?

Like other small business applications, Xero is well-suited for small businesses for several reasons:

  • Easy to Use: Xero boasts a user-friendly interface, making it accessible even to those without accounting expertise. Small business owners can manage their finances without hiring a dedicated bookkeeper.
  • Cloud-Based: Xero securely houses your financial information online. This provides you with the freedom and convenience to access it from any location with an internet connection.
  • Integration with Other Tools: Xero integrates with various business tools such as CRM software and eCommerce platforms. This allows you to connect your financial data with other aspects of your business for a more holistic view.

Other Best Alternatives

Apart from Xero, you can consider other best alternatives for accounting and finance as follows:

  • QuickBooks Online: This is a full-stack business resource management tool that offers outstanding invoicing, bill pay, and inventory tracking. It provides similar features to Xero and has a strong mobile app.
  • FreshBooks: As an accounting software solution, FreshBooks is ideal for small service-based businesses. It offers simplicity and ease of use, making it a great choice for businesses that want a straightforward solution.

POS & Payment Processing

These small business applications can facilitate and streamline the financial transactions of your business by automating the transaction process, tracking important sales data, and managing everything from customer service to inventory. They offer small businesses a more affordable alternative to traditional cash registers and manual billing systems.



PayPal is a leading online payment platform that allows you to send and receive money securely and conveniently. It acts as a digital intermediary, eliminating the need to exchange cash or personal banking information directly between parties. 

PayPal features a personalized dashboard of a customer’s PayPal account, a wallet tab to manage payment instruments, and a payments hub that includes send and receive money features, international remittances, and non-profit giving.

Besides, PayPal offers built-in invoicing tools. You can create and send professional invoices to clients, allowing them to pay directly through PayPal. This streamlines your billing process and helps ensure faster payments.

In 2021, PayPal launched a new bidirectional messaging feature that allows two users to communicate after a peer-to-peer financial transaction. This functionality improves the peer-to-peer money transfer feature in the PayPal app, introducing a novel method for two PayPal users to interact when transacting money for Goods & Services.

Why is PayPal Suitable for Small Businesses?

PayPal is considered a great tool for small businesses because of these remarkable benefits:

  • Simple and Fast Setup: Getting started with PayPal is quick and easy. There’s minimal paperwork involved. So it allows you to begin accepting payments quickly without the hassle of setting up a merchant account.
  • Mobile Compatibility: You can use the PayPal app to make payments from your smartphones or tablets. This caters to the growing trend of mobile shopping and allows you to reach customers on the go.
  • Widespread Customer Recognition: Many customers already have PayPal accounts and are familiar with using it for online transactions. This familiarity can boost customer confidence and encourage them to complete purchases on your website.
  • Potential for International Sales: PayPal facilitates international transactions in various currencies. This could pave the way for small businesses to broaden their audience and extend their footprint to international markets.

Other Best Alternatives

Below are several decent alternatives to PayPal:

  • Square: This comprehensive solution is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It offers a range of features including POS systems, payment processing, and business management tools. 
  • Helcim: This is a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system geared towards small businesses across various industries. It equips you with tools to accept payments, manage omnichannel inventory, and track customer data. 

Cloud Storage & File Sharing

These digital platforms allow you to store, synchronize, and share data across multiple devices. They’re incredibly beneficial for small businesses. In particular, these apps provide a centralized location for data that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, and from any device with an internet connection. This helps your team members update the latest data instantly, thereby improving collaboration, increasing productivity, and reducing costs arising from physical storage infrastructure.



Dropbox builds upon the core functionality of Dropbox, offering secure file storage, sharing, and collaboration features tailored for teams. 

It’s integrated with various small business applications you already use (like Slack, Microsoft Office 365, or Google Workspace) to streamline workflows and keep your files instantly synchronized across all devices.  

Besides, the tool provides Dropbox Dash and Dropbox AI that work hand-in-hand to enhance your productivity. Dropbox Dash lets you search content stored in various tools (e.g., Asana or Salesforce) from a single, central location. Meanwhile, Dropbox AI helps you analyze and understand the content within your Dropbox files or summarize long documents.

Why is Dropbox Suitable for Small Businesses?

Dropbox simplifies file sharing and collaboration to foster better teamwork and streamline workflows. This is especially useful for geographically dispersed teams. It’s also a key reason why many small businesses choose it for data storage. 

But this tool also has other immense benefits:

  • Automatic Backups and File Versioning: The tool automatically backs up your files to the cloud, protecting them from accidental deletion, hardware failures, or natural disasters. Additionally, file versioning lets you revert to previous versions if needed.
  • Security Features: Dropbox offers robust security features to protect your business data.  These include encryption at rest and in transit, two-factor authentication, and admin controls to manage user permissions.
  • Scalability and Affordability: Coupled with various storage plans, the tool allows you to choose one that fits your business needs and budget. Besides, you can easily upgrade your storage when your business scales.

Other Best Alternatives

Dropbox is a great option. But you might consider other apps as follows:

  • Google Drive: Google Drive offers a suite of productivity tools in addition to cloud storage. Users can create, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations within the application.
  • OneDrive: OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office and offers advanced security features, making it a good choice for businesses already using Microsoft products.

Inventory Management

These tools help your business track and manage inventory levels, orders, sales, and deliveries. They can provide real-time inventory updates, automate the ordering process, and even predict future demand trends. With these apps, you may prevent product shortages and overstock, improve efficiency, and ultimately save time and money.

Zoho Inventory

Zoho Inventory

Zoho Inventory is a cloud-based inventory management software solution designed to help you streamline your inventory operations. It offers a comprehensive suite of features, including inventory control, multi-channel selling, warehouse management, and more. These functionalities help you manage stock levels, track sales and purchases, and manage customer or vendor relationships.

With Zoho Inventory, your business can automate your workflows, keep track of every unit with batch and serial number tracking, and even gain valuable insights into your inventory performance with powerful reporting tools.

Zoho Inventory goes beyond basic stock management by offering several smart features. These capabilities leverage AI and automation to predict future demand for your product, automate purchase orders when inventory falls below a certain threshold, and more. This helps you optimize stock levels and avoid overstocking or stockouts. 

Why is Zoho Inventory Suitable for Small Businesses?

Zoho Inventory is worth your consideration because it offers some standout benefits for your small business:

  • Ease of Use and Affordability: Zoho Inventory boasts a user-friendly interface, making it easy for small businesses to set up and use, even without prior inventory management experience. The tiered pricing plans are budget-friendly, with a free plan available for basic needs. This makes it accessible for small businesses starting out or with limited resources.
  • Mobile App: Zoho Inventory offers a mobile app. It allows you to manage your inventory and track stock levels on the go, providing flexibility and remote access.
  • Integrations: This tool integrates with other Zoho applications, such as Zoho CRM and Zoho Books. This creates a unified system for managing your customer relationships, sales, and finances alongside your inventory. 

Other Best Alternatives

While Zoho Inventory is a robust solution, there are several other inventory management applications that small businesses might consider:

  • SOS Inventory: This tool offers powerful features for tracking inventory, including multiple location tracking, lot number tracking, and serial number tracking. It also integrates with QuickBooks, making it a great choice for businesses already using this accounting software.
  • Sortly: Sortly is a cloud-based inventory application and asset tracking system that is particularly user-friendly. It allows businesses to track items based on the item name, description, code, price, and more. This makes it a highly flexible tool that can adapt to a variety of small business needs.

Final Words

The top 10 small business applications on this list offer a great starting point for you to explore the most suitable software solutions to manage your business effectively. But remember, every business is unique. So, consider your specific needs to choose the right apps.

And if you need a hand in building tailored applications, DSV is here to help. Reach out to us and let’s work together to make your business more efficient and successful. 


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