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Grow Your Business Technology

10 Small Business Apps for Improving Productivity

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. / Credit: Mobile Device Image via Shutterstock

Running a small business means handling endless tasks. Staying organized, focused and sane through it all can be a challenge for any small business owner.

By using productivity apps, it's easy to create one centralized place where you and your team can get things done. There's an app or program now for everything, including any kind of communication or project management need. Let these programs do the work, and use the extra time earned to focus on growing your business. 

Credit: Asana

Asana is a project management tool that combines some of the great features of well-known programs such as Trello and Basecamp. Asana integrates goal setting with a deadline schedule, so you can create projects, set goals and then manage each step of the process. You can create different boards to shift tasks between as they are completed or communicate with team members in threads under each task. Asana provides some tools to visualize where you are in your project, like project timelines or team calendars.

As a productivity tool, Asana provides small business owners with the capability to manage all their important tasks and goals in one place. It also integrates with other workplace apps, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive and Gmail. Asana provides a free version with limited features, but businesses can purchase the full-fledged premium version for $9.99 per month after a free trial.

Credit: Basecamp

Basecamp was designed to be your go-to solution for everything related to your business. It's a communication tool where you can manage projects, your team and company-wide communication. Each designated project features different sections to help you better manage the process: a to-do list, a message board, a schedule, a place to save files and a "campfire" chat for general team communication. Threads are a pillar of the Basecamp model. This allows you and any member of your team to get an idea of the progression on an individual topic or discussion with just a quick glance.

Basecamp is a bit more expensive compared to some other solutions, but the company argues the features and capability make it a better solution than using a combination of other tools. Basecamp is available for $99 per month.

Credit: OneNote

OneNote is a robust note taking app provided by Microsoft. This is a great solution for business owners who need to compile a lot of information on various projects in one place. The intuitive notebook layout makes breaking topics or projects into notebooks and sections easy. The program also provides a lot of small features. If you copy a quote from an online source, for example, OneNote will automatically include the URL so you can reference it later. OneNote works well on tablets and smartphones, and users can use a stylus to draw or take notes directly into the program. OneNote is a free app but may require a Microsoft 365 subscription to use.

Credit: Monday.com

Monday.com is a program that, like Asana and Basecamp, focuses on organizing your tasks and creating a central point of communication for your team. You can easily create tasks within a project and then add steps to each task or a group of tasks. As your team members complete various parts, they can update the status of each step. This can help you keep a clear idea of the timeline of each project. You can also create knowledge bases to store documents and other information related to your projects. Monday.com has a variety of plans for businesses to choose from.

Credit: Focus@will

This app builds a personalized sound profile based on the type of worker you are. It tailors productive music so you can stay focused and increase productivity. It breaks down your personality type based on the way you think, how you approach problems and how easily distracted you are. This is an ideal service for workers who work in public or open-office settings where it may be loud. Focus@will offers a two-week free trial, but you'll have to pay $9.95 per month afterward.

Credit: tide.moreless.io

Like Focus@will, Tide dials up calming sounds to keep you focused and alerts. It provides soothing nature sounds, like rain, and combines it with the Pomodoro productivity technique. Tide can regulate how long you're working and how long you take breaks, allowing you to be more productive for longer. It requires you to work and concentrate for thirty minutes to earn a five-minute break. This can also help with procrastination and allows you to stay fresh while working. Tide can also be used to help you sleep and wake up in a more restful, natural way. Tide is a free service.

Credit: Todoist

Todoist is an app you can use to log and track all your to-dos. It's easy to create a new to-do, log it under a specific project, assign it to a coworker and set a deadline. Todoist's goal is to allow you to log important information and then forget about it until it needs to be completed. The company provides impressive visualization tools as well, so you can view the progress you've made on the various projects you're working on. While this app is ideal for basic to-do tracking, it doesn't possess the same messaging or document management features of a program like Basecamp.

Credit: Trello

Trello is a good productivity app for process-based projects and tasks. Using Trello means creating boards and dragging various tasks in between steps. It's a quick, easy, visual way to understand where each of your workers are in the process. You can set priorities on each task, add attachments, type messages, or assign each task to a group or label. You can also create individual boards for each project. Trello is a free service.

Credit: IFTTT

IFTTT can be used to connect various apps and programs so all your devices are synced and working on the same page. For instance, you can use IFTTT to save new email attachments from Gmail directly to Google Drive. It can also be used to log every call you make to a Google Spreadsheet. How productive IFTTT is depends on how you use it – this service can be used to create highly specific connections within your business. If you feel there's a gap between two programs or solutions you're using, IFTTT can be used to bridge that disconnect. IFTTT is a free service.

Credit: Zapier

Zapier is an online service that connects apps you use for your business. It is similar to IFTTT, but more focused on online business applications. You can sync all your favorite apps, such as Gmail, Dropbox and Slack. This integration allows you to save time switching between applications, and can provide you with a way to quickly create workflows across platforms. Zapier is a free service.

Matt D'Angelo

Matt D'Angelo is a B2B Tech Staff Writer based in New York City. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in Journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. Matt joined the Purch team in 2017 and covers technology for Business.com and Business News Daily. Follow him on Twitter or email him.