Using mobile apps to help you run your small business can increase productivity and efficiency within it. There are apps to cover every aspect, from cloud accounting tools to POS systems and project management tools, and many can be accessed from wherever you are. Meaning that your business operations can run smoothly whether you're in the office, working from home or even on-the-go.
Not sure which apps can help? We’ve handpicked seven of the best apps for small business owners in the UK that are sure to maintain the smooth operation of your business. Some of them we feature in The Startup Series (a guide to help small businesses from startup to scale up, and everything in between).
The online accounting app for ‘beautiful business’
Run a tight financial ship with Xero accounting software. This app allows you to keep track of revenue and expenses. See what you’re spending and where your money is being distributed, pay bills and invoices. You can also make staff payments and send money to partners and shareholders as and when you need to.
The app works in conjunction with your phone’s camera too, meaning that you can upload images of any receipts or invoices without having to input them manually. This saves time and reduces the chance of any mistakes when inputting.
Take advantage of their 30-day free trial. This trial period allows you to get used to the app’s interface and determine whether it’s worth keeping and paying the reasonable monthly fee. And if you don’t like it, you can just cancel at any time as there are no fixed-term contracts.
A basic plan starts from £10 per month.
The app for card payments - suitable for any business size
Square is so easy to get set up and run with. Simply create an account and buy a Square card reader online or in store. Once this arrives, you can start taking card payments straight away and your money will land the following business day.
Square allows you to take payments in person, over the phone and via invoice too. Your business will then have real-time analytics on its account, plus location and inventory management all via the smartphone app.
Why choose Square? Their low rates, simple-to-use software and expert support team allow you to stop worrying about your finances and spend more time thinking about running your business as efficiently as possible.
The Square reader is necessary and is priced at £39 + VAT. For any chip and pin or contactless payments that you take, you’ll be charged 1.75 per cent. For example, receive a payment of £100, you’ll be able to see £98.25 in your bank. Typed card payments will charge you a higher 2.5 per cent interest fee. Here’s further information on the full pricing list.
The cloud-based team messaging app
Slack is the perfect tool to maintain strong communication levels throughout your business. It’s also brilliant to stay connected to those who are working remotely. Because it’s an instant chat tool, it encourages brevity in this context, so your team spends less time constructing formal emails, and instead get quick fire responses through Slack.
You can organise your business’s workflow into their own specific channels for clear accountability and efficiency. Your team is able to communicate privately too, as well as share documents and files. Slack also supports call and video communication too.
There’s a free version and two paid versions. It all depends on how many employees you’ve got. For businesses with up to 50 employees, the free version is more than enough. The paid versions archive all of your team’s messages, making it easier to pull up conversations at any given time. The standard paid package is just £5.25 per active user per month, whilst the Plus version is £9.75 per month.
Zoom Video Communications
The original software-based conference room solution
If you didn’t use Zoom before the pandemic, it’s highly likely you are doing so now - bolster your communication by implementing Zoom. You can combine video conferencing, online meetings, chat and mobile collaboration to ensure that your business is run smoothly, wherever you are in the world.
Zoom provides a tier of differently priced plans and packages for you to choose from. But, the free tier is perfect for all your small business needs. Host unlimited meetings, with up to 100 participants able to join. There’s a 40-minute limit on meeting calls with the free version, but nothing stops you from simply calling them back if it exceeds the time limit. The more detailed packages start from £11.99 per month.
The all-in-one social media management tool
There are so many important factors that you’ve got to look after as a small business owner and often social media can be one that gets overlooked. This shouldn’t be the case - it’s a great way to advertise your business and build strong relationships with both clients and other businesses.
Your business should have a presence on social media, and by utilising tools like Hootsuite, you can keep your social media account up to date and plan content a week or month in advance. You can schedule posts in advance for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn. Plus, as it’s a social media management tool, rather than a content publishing tool, meaning you can engage and respond to any activity from your Hootsuite account.
Take advantage of their 30-day free trial and see if the app is compatible with the way you work. If it works for you, great - you can then carry on your account for a moderate monthly fee, starting from £25.
The ultimate in project management software
In need of project management software? Try Asana to reduce your emails and time wasting. The app was once used by global giant Facebook for team collaboration on projects to reduce your emails and wasting time.
Use Asana by Team or Workflow. By Team you can project manage and track Marketing objectives and campaigns, build roadmaps for products and close deals and onboard new customers with sales teams. You can Asana for pretty much anything - from remote working teams to Excel Project Management.
Asana is a great tool for remote teams, so it’s easy to stay organised and connected while working from anywhere. Scheduling, setting reminders and priority levels are all included within the app.
Asana is free forever, for teams up to 15 users.
The app for office
What once started as a basic suite of word docs, spreadsheets and emails available only on PC is now a cloud-based business solution with over 25 applications available on desktop and mobile.
You can do just about anything with Microsoft 365 - it’s a subscription based business package, with applications such as Microsoft Teams, Forms, MyAnaytics, Whiteboard, and many more. You can host online meetings, chat and collaborate in real time, as well as store and share files with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage data.
You can even integrate with the other business tools you love, bringing your whole system together - check out our integration with Microsoft 365.
A basic business subscription starts at £3.80 per user per month, with the option of a one month free trial.
Ensure efficiency with a cloud-based business phone system
We’ve created a clever cloud-based phone system that is perfect for small businesses - an efficient business has to have strong communication levels, with clients and customers, and internally too.
Having the right phone system can boost productivity and efficiency levels within your business. Cloud-based phone systems are known to improve communication and leave your business in great stead for when technology evolves once again. So, if you're a startup, or your business is growing quickly, a cloud-based phone system will grow and scale with you, which is great for staff onboarding and it’ll be cheaper in the long run too.
Utilise powerful features like virtual numbers - create a local presence in over 60 countries even if you’re based elsewhere. Call recording - listen back, download and share any call, use for call quality and staff training. And conference calling - each user gets a unique conference call ID number as standard. Learn more about our features.
CircleLoop is a desktop first solution, but if you do want to use it on the go, download the app to your phone and set up the call forwarding functionality so any calls to your mobile don’t need to rely on the strength of your 4g signal, which can affect call quality. Using the call forwarding feature means you can utilise all the benefits of CircleLoop whilst you're on the go, without compromising on call quality.
What’s also great, is that CircleLoop is UK-built and UK-based, meaning that there’s always a member of our Customer Success Team on the end of the phone should you have any questions.
Not sure how a cloud-based phone system could benefit your business? Check out our solutions pages for startups, and those businesses that are growing, or more established.
If you have any queries, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to offer our assistance.