8 Business Apps to Help You Achieve Your Goals

Fifteen business owners weigh in on the business apps they rely on most to keep their businesses running and their goals in sight.
January 17, 2018

Ready to tackle your New Year's resolutions? Fortunately, we live in a day and age when apps abound. 

"With the right apps in your business's corner, you can save time and work on your business, rather than in your business," says Gene Caballero, co-founder of lawn care company GreenPal. "Streamlining the small tasks can help you focus on higher leverage activities."

I quizzed a number of business owners regarding their favorite business apps. The following applications stood out among those I spoke to as the most helpful in terms of increasing and maintaining productivity.

1. Asana

Asana, a web and mobile project management app, helps teams track projects.

What business owners have to say about Asana:

"My team stays on task with Asana. We're able to schedule due dates. This business app gives me the ability to see the company's overall progress and make adjustments where necessary."

—Geoff Hoesch, CEO, Dragonfly Digital Marketing

"Asana is a great business app for managing projects that involve several team members with varying deadlines. Instead of scanning countless email threads, all communication is neatly organized pertaining to the specific project. This promotes accountability, transparency and autonomy, which are all essential to working with remote employees."

—Brandon Seymour, founder, Beymour Consulting

2. Expensify

Expensify automates the entire expense reporting process—from receipt scanning to expense reimbursement.

What business owners have to say about Expensify:

"Mileage can be a huge benefit when filing taxes. Expensify allows you to view and manage your company's mileage expenses. You can run an expense report with the push of a button from your phone, compile reports and email directly from the app."

—Angel Radcliffe, owner, CAS Consultants

"Expensify allows users to log and track any kind of expense. You can upload receipt scans, approve expense reports, create expense categories and keep up-to-date on expenses and travel itineraries in real-time. This business app has allowed my management team to stay on top of the expenses of their subordinates and make quick, easy changes to cut fat and trim costs. It helped us achieve our lowest-level expenditures ever in 2017, despite an increase in manufacturing and new hires."

—Nate Ellis, owner, Maple Holistics

3. Google Drive

Google Drive allows you to share files, folders, photos and calendars all in one cloud-based location.

What business owners have to say about Google Drive business apps:

"Google Suite is the perfect all-in-one cloud system to help organize and collaborate on tasks in the office, especially if your office is remote like mine. Nothing is stored locally, so it makes it even easier to pick up and go, working with colleagues across borders and time zones."

—Matt Bentley, founder and CEO, CanIRank

"I use everything Google to run my business. These business apps have helped me keep in contact with my clients, allow client access to files that are too big to be emailed, schedule meetings and even have conference calls and send text messages."

—Christin Price, owner, Christin's Bookkeeping

4. Intercom

Intercom is a customer engagement tool that allows you to interact with consumers on your website, inside your app, via social media or email.

What one business owner has to say about Intercom:

"With Intercom, we've inserted ourselves into our onboarding funnel and can reach and talk to customers and get real-time feedback during critical moments of the sign-up process. With this data and real-time feedback, we can make design or copy changes to improve our click-through rate and overall customer experience. We've seen a more than 40-percent uplift in conversion thanks to Intercom."

—Gene Caballero, co-founder, GreenPal

5. Slack

Slack is a group communication app featuring collaboration tools and services, including file sharing. It integrates with third-party business apps, such as Trello, Dropbox and Google Drive.

What business owners have to say about Slack:

"Slack has really helped us build a strong and connected team and foster a collaborative culture. With Slack we stay connected across the different teams and between our offices in Spain, San Francisco, Utah and the Philippines. It helps us to quickly communicate important updates, share files and improve internal communication and employee engagement."

—Steven Benson, founder and CEO, Badger Maps

"Slack helps keep our team communicating without the cumbersome, time-consuming nature of email threads. We're able to keep the team apprised of the latest developments, strategies and priorities, even in a fast-paced environment."

—Peter Terani, founder, Terani Couture

"Slack has been a huge time-saver for our team and allows us to keep organized between multiple offices. We have channels set up by business function, like marketing, finance, PR, social media, sales (by office), etc. The contacts associated with those functions are on the chains. This provides a super easy way to direct communication to the appropriate channels."

—Candice Simons, president and CEO, Brooklyn Outdoor

6. Toggl

Toggl is a time-tracking software that provides tracking and reporting services.

What this business owner has to say about Toggl:

"As a small-business owner, I believe that the right use of my time is the key contributor to my success. Toggl has been a great tool to help me make my working hours more efficient. Each week I get an email report from the app that shows my time allocation. I use it to make adjustments in order to focus 80 percent of my time on the 20 percent of tasks that have the biggest impact on my business."

—Paul Koger, head trader and founder, Foxy Trades LLC

7. Trello

Trello is a web-based collaboration tool and productivity platform that organizes projects into boards. You can see on one screen what teams are working on, including the steps. Trello has business apps for Slack, Android, iPhone and Windows 8.

What business owners have to say about Trello:

"Trello provides complete communication on the tasks that individuals need to complete and in what order they need to be completed. This stops staff from focusing on low-priority work. It also allows me to check progress."

—Adam Watson, owner and director of Hollywood Mirrors and Decorelo

"For product managers, Trello is an essential tool. The app can be used as a virtual whiteboard for ideas and tasks. Users can invite others to collaborate, and Trello can be integrated with other products for seamless workflow management."

—Marcus Harjani, co-founder and COO, FameMoose

"Trello is excellent for mapping out linear processes in a highly visual manner. We plan on using it for two of our core goals for 2018: migrating to a new cloud-based CRM and structuring new employee onboarding programs."

—Marina Byezhanova, co-founder and director, Pronexia Inc.

8. Zapier

Zapier is an automation tool that allows you to connect business apps like Slack and MailChimp so that you can automate repetitive tasks and move information between apps for easier workflow.

What this business owner has to say about Zapier:

"Zapier's connectivity to multiple e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Amazon has made everything from accounting to customer analysis, to creating Facebook audiences, to sending out Mailchimp drip email campaigns a job for one to two people, rather than 10."

—Sebastian Bryers, CTO, Ora

Read more articles on productivity.

Photo: Getty Images