Mobile phones can be a serious time suck. In fact, recent data shows that the average American spends three and a half hours every day with their eyes on that little screen. However, smartphones can also be a time saver, especially for super busy individuals, like small business owners.
When juggling a million tasks—from sales, marketing, and customer relations to bookkeeping and team management—getting some work done from your phone, while commuting or waiting in line somewhere, can be invaluable.
But, with nearly 5 million mobile apps out there, choosing the ones that will truly help your small or medium-sized business (SMB) can be a real challenge. Fear not! We’re here to sort that out for you. Below, we’ve listed the top six free mobile apps we believe every SMB can benefit from.
Free mobile apps small business owners need to know about
We chose the apps below with small business owners top of mind. This means we focused on apps that save time, are intuitive and easy to use, require little to no training, and help with the most crucial daily tasks associated with running an SMB.
Since small businesses are often more vulnerable to cash flow issues, it was also important to us to find apps that are useful but will not break the bank. That’s why we only chose apps that are either completely free or offer a free version that comes with the most important features and no time limit.
We also decided to skip apps that offer services that come built-in with most phones, such as cloud storage, memo recording, and document scanning, as we assume you’re already using the features you need.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the juicy part.
1. Later: social media management
Social media is a powerful marketing tool, especially for small businesses, thanks to its accessibility, free exposure opportunities, and relatively low advertising costs. But maintaining an active presence on multiple social networks to attract different audiences is difficult and time-consuming.
Later is an online tool and mobile app meant to make your life easier when planning and executing your social media activities. Later allows you to plan, schedule, and publish posts across various platforms including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter.
The free plan allows users to post up to 10 times a month on each profile, making it a good fit if you’re managing your social media channels on your own and don’t intend to post every day.
2. Todoist: task organizer
As you’re probably well aware, small business owners are extremely busy people with a laundry list of tasks to complete every day.
Todoist offers a super-simple interface for managing your to-do lists. It allows you to create different projects, add repeating tasks, set due dates and priority levels, add filters, and even collaborate with your team.
You can get a clear view of your progress and upcoming tasks at any time, organized according to when they’re due. You can also add relevant files, create sub-tasks, and choose from existing templates to help kickstart your projects.
The free version lets you create five projects with up to five collaborators and three filters. Premium plans offer additional features such as notifications, adding tasks directly via email, and connecting with your calendar. The mobile app lets you take your to-do list on the road, adding or striking off tasks as you go.
3. Trello: workload management for teams
If you have a larger team or more complex projects, you should definitely check out Trello. Trello lets you organize and view all of the tasks (called cards here) related to a specific project.
It offers full visibility of the status of each task and allows you to tag collaborators, create checklists, and use power-ups including calendar sync, repeated tasks, adding tasks via email, and survey options.
The free version lets you create up to 10 boards for different projects, with unlimited cards, power-ups, and storage, as well as 2-factor authentication and personalization options.
4. Grammarly: AI-based writing assistant
Regardless of what you do for a living, there’ll always be some level of writing involved. Whether you’re creating blog posts and posting on social media for marketing purposes or emailing quotas to customers, you need to make sure your writing is top-notch.
While an occasional typo or grammar error in an email is not necessarily the end of the world, it can make you look less professional or less attuned to fine details. That’s where Grammarly comes in.
Grammarly uses advanced AI algorithms to correct your spelling and grammar as you type. The free version gives all the basic functionalities to ensure your text is blunder-free, but paying users also get advanced style suggestions.
You can use Grammarly’s text editor through the company’s website or you can install a browser extension that checks all the texts you input online. You can also enjoy a desktop version that monitors what you write on various programs, or a mobile app version that functions as an additional keyboard, offering suggestions and corrections in any app on your phone or tablet that requires typing.
5. Messenger: Facebook’s instant messaging app
Most people have become accustomed to communicating with businesses as they do with their friends, directly through texting and messaging apps. This way, they can start the conversation from their desktops and continue it from their mobiles as they go about their day, without having to hold on the phone or keep a browser window open.
With 2.5 billion monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide and nearly 240 million MAUs in the U.S. alone (and counting), Facebook is a good place to reach customers where they already are.
Messenger, Facebook’s instant messaging feature, offers a very simple premise: you get the same ease of texting, minus the costs. It’s available through the web interface on your computer or the mobile app, already used by 138 million people in the U.S.
Messenger allows you to take customer service on the go and respond to queries from anywhere whenever you get a chance.
You can do that without exposing your private number to avoid disturbances during off-hours. You can also set working hours for your business, eliminating notifications outside of them while letting customers know when to expect a response.
Messenger also lets you manage chats for various business profiles, use a bot to get the conversation started and save time before a human takes over, and have multiple people on your team respond to messages.
6. Melio: B2B payments at your fingertips
Melio offers a digital platform for managing payments built specifically for SMBs. It combines the simplicity of online payments with the special requirements of business transactions, including tracking, flexible payment methods, and bill and invoice management processes.
It also has no subscription fees and is free to use when you choose ACH bank transfers as your payment and delivery method.
Melio’s new accounts payable (AP) app has all the major capabilities required to send business payments right from your phone. Through the app, you can sign in or sign up for Melio, add payment methods, schedule payments via ACH, debit, or credit card, scan invoices with the phone’s camera, add vendors, and review the status of each payment.
iOS | Android (Coming soon!)
Manage your business on the fly
Running a small business is not a nine-to-five desk job and many business owners find themselves utilizing any free moment, even when they’re on the go, to get things done.
Trying out these carefully selected apps can make working away from your desk much easier, whether you’re assigning tasks to your team, responding to emails, or scheduling payments to your vendors.
*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.