An App for That

Great Free Business Apps that You May Not Know Exist

By Lisa Bakewell

Running your business is time consuming and costly—having some outside help would surely make life easier, wouldn’t it? Of course it would! But, like many small business owners and entrepreneurs, you may not have the required resources to hire outside help.
In this digital era, help is just a click away. But, even though we all know “there’s an app for that,” mobile applications can be costly too (initially and with continuous monthly fees). Getting help—even online help—may not make economic sense either.
What if there were fully functioning, mobile business applications available to you—and they were all free to use? There are! In this article, we’re sharing business apps (you may or may not have heard of) that will help you build, organize, and grow your business—without breaking the bank.

Where’s the Money?

Wave (Android, iOS, PC)

Wave offers free accounting software and two companion apps (a mobile receipt scanning app and an invoicing app) that allow you to connect your bank accounts, track sales and expenses, manage invoices and receipts, generate reports, and prepare for taxes. Made specifically for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, you can create your Wave account in seconds. Just enter your email address and a desired password, or use your Google account. You can then customize your account by filling out your company name and business type, and Wave will create a suitable dashboard for your business needs. You’ll also be prompted to enter your contact information (business address, fax, and phone number) so it will automatically appear on your invoices and other documents. Wave allows you to schedule and send invoices to clients, and you can set up automatic payment reminders to encourage your clients to pay on time. Securely connect Wave with your bank, credit card, PayPal, and 10,000 other financial institutions to automatically download and import expenses, deposits, and other financial data in real time. Also, automatically sync your data with Wave, and you won’t have to manually input transactions.

Hurdlr (Android, iOS)

Looking to maximize your 1099 income tax deductions? Use Hurdlr. By auto-tracking all your income streams, expenditures, and tax deductions—in real time and on the go—Hurdlr saves you time and money. Created for small businesses and entrepreneurs, Hurdlr integrates with Square, PayPal, FreshBooks, and thousands of banks to import your past and future expense reports automatically. Hurdlr can also provide you with real-time quarterly and year-end tax estimates, at the push of a button, and you can export your detailed expense reports (including receipts) to any email address or cloud storage provider.

Marketing Matters

Insightly CRM (Android, iOS, PC)

Building relationships with clients (current and potential) is important for business stability and growth. Insightly, a customer relationship management (CRM) app, can help you maintain these important relationships by managing your client interactions, leads, sales opportunities, and projects. Insightly is flexible, customizable, and accessible. Using your computer and mobile device, you can add new contacts on the go, scan business cards, access to-do lists, and save time by adding voice memos to leads and opportunities.

MailChimp (Android, iOS, PC)

Whether you’re in your office or on the go, MailChimp is ready and able to create and send emails, manage subscribers, and stay on top of your marketing plan. With the app, you can manage your lists, add new subscribers, send campaigns (you created on your computer), and view your reports. MailChimp is one of the best ways to manage complex mailing lists and create email campaigns to make your business stand out from the crowd. The service is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.

Canva Business Card Creator (Android, iOS, PC)

No graphic design experience? No problem! Canva is a drag-and-drop business card creator, and all the layouts are free. With over 8,000 templates and a very large library of free images (or you can upload your own), creating a professional-grade business card is a cinch. And, besides printing your business card, you can distribute it via email blast, social media, or upload it to your website. Canva offers 1GB storage and premium in-stock photography (at only $1 each), and up to 10 employees can use the Canva Business Card Creator for free.

Google My Business (Android, iOS, PC)

Want a free and easy way to advertise your business and interact with potential clients? Use the My Business tool to manage your online presence across Google (including Search and Maps), update your company information (name, location, hours), upload pictures and video, interact with clients, and manage reviews. Also learn how customers find you, where they’re coming from, and how they are interacting with your business listing.

Assistance, Please!

Astro (Android, iOS)

Ever feel overwhelmed by email? Need reminders? Wish it was easier to unsubscribe from mailing lists and stop spam? If so, Astro is for you. This virtual assistant mobile app removes clutter, creates reminders, highlights emails needing your attention, helps eliminate spam, and makes it painless to clean up your inbox. Astro also automatically gives you insights and suggestions about unsubscribing to lists, archiving emails, and making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Need to track an email? No problem! Astro tracks your sent emails too. You’ll know when a tracked email is read, you’ll get follow-up reminders if an email goes unopened, and you’ll receive updates when scheduled emails are sent. Need to remember to schedule a meeting, place an order, or respond to someone, but you can’t do it now? Ask Astrobot to remind you later. Read, manage, and reply to emails hands-free, too, by talking to Astrobot. Astro allows you to type or speak hundreds of commands, and the newest version includes a calendar.

24me (Android, iOS)

You probably have several systems to keep you and your business organized, but wouldn’t it be great to save time and consolidate all the tools of your trade into one app? The answer may be 24me. This organizational tool brings everything together, including social networks, financial institutions, utilities, calendars, task lists, and more. 24me also reminds you what you need to do—and when—by syncing your events, tasks, notes, and real-life accounts on your calendar. Use voice commands to add tasks, notes, and meetings to your calendar; join conference calls without having to remember the dial-in number; and customize 24me by choosing label colors, font size and weight, adding your own photos, and choosing reminder sounds. 24me will also alert you when to leave for appointments based on current traffic conditions, provide you with a street view of your destination, and open your default navigation app with the right address. You can also boost your team’s productivity by sharing tasks, events, reminders, notes, and action items with real-time sync between all participants.

Managing Tasks and Time

Trello (Android, iOS, PC)

Want to get a bird’s-eye view of your projects? Let Trello be your sidekick! With Trello, you can create multiple—and very visual—boards to organize anything you’re working on. Then, add checklists of to-dos on cards, customize project workflows, attach files from Google Drive and Dropbox, and upload photos and videos to customize your boards. You can also use a calendar power-up to display your cards in a calendar view, and you can invite coworkers to collaborate with you on one or all of your projects.

Asana (Android, iOS, PC)

With Asana, you can track projects from start to finish. You can set up unlimited tasks, projects, conversations, to-do lists, reminders, and requests. You can also comment on items and send images within the app. Asana works across multiple devices, and it’s free for teams of up to 15. Changes made in Asana’s mobile app will immediately appear in the software version. Don’t have a signal? You can use Asana offline and your updates will sync when you are back on the internet.

TickTick (Android, iOS, PC)

TickTick is a simple, powerful, and effective to-do list and task manager application that offers seamless cloud synchronization (across all devices and platforms) and various themes, which makes getting your to-dos done more fun. TickTick can help you schedule, manage time, remember deadlines, and organize tasks—in seconds—via voice input or typing. You can also add tasks via email, share lists with coworkers, and upload attachments.

Checklist (Android, iOS, PC)

Not looking to reinvent the wheel? The Checklist app has thousands of templates you can use to easily manage your projects, share with colleagues, set reminders, repeat tasks, write notes, etc., across various platforms and devices. You can easily sync your app to your online Checklist account. You can also send your checklists to any app on your device (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Work offline in Checklist when internet is unavailable. Checklist is multilingual too!

Ike (Android)

If you’re easily bored and love visual stimulation, then Ike is the go-to list app for you. This app is especially visually pleasing, and the core of the app is based on setting priorities (similar to Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). You mark your most urgent tasks, and then you build your day around those most crucial to-dos. You can also attach images and voice notes to tasks, set location-based reminders, and celebrate your accomplishments with animations and a visualization of your progress.

Cool Tools

Send Anywhere (Android, iOS, PC)

Send Anywhere is a file-sharing application created to solve the very real problem of transferring large files, photos, and videos between devices. This app not only solves the transfer problem, it is also supported by all platforms and can be used to transfer files between devices running on different platforms. Send Anywhere will generate a six-digit key, as well as a QR code, which you use to transfer files one on one in real time. A link can also be generated if you need to share the file with multiple people, without any limit, before the link expires. With the free version of Send Anywhere, you can effortlessly transfer files up to 10GB in size.

Tiny Scanner (Android, iOS)

Tiny Scanner is an app that turns your mobile device into a portable scanner. You can scan documents, photos, receipts, reports, and more using the camera on your mobile device. Your scans will be saved as images or PDF files, allowing you to name and organize them into folders (and protect them with passcodes, if desired). You can then share them via email (and other supported platforms) and/or send them directly to your computer using Wi-Fi. Scans can be saved in color, grayscale, or black and white, and you can set page sizes for your PDFs (Letter, Legal, A4, and more). Tiny Scanner is optimized for quick scanning and you can search your scans by document title.

AirDroid (Android)

Are you constantly checking your smartphone for messages from clients or employees? Is productivity plummeting because your concentration is broken? If so, try AirDroid. Just install the app on your Android device, and then install the desktop client on your computer. Once your Android and computer are linked, you can read texts, send texts, and view call logs on the big screen—the one you’re already focused on. The AirDroid app also makes it easy to quickly add or remove files from your phone’s internal storage and lets you manage all your Android device’s files, photos, and so on straight from your computer. If you have one of the supported phones, you can even mirror your phone’s display on your computer screen.

Pocket (Android, iOS, PC)

How many times have you been online searching for something and found yourself distracted? It’s all fun and games when you’re not working, but it can be a time waster when you’re on the clock. The next time you find an article, video, or link that interests you, just put it in the Pocket app instead of losing focus. Pocket is a very popular productivity app because it allows you to save all the articles you want to read for a later time—and it will even read the articles to you. (What a great way to catch up on your reading while driving!) Pocket syncs across all your devices, so you can come back to it whenever and wherever you like—even when you’re offline. You can also save to Pocket from pretty much anywhere, including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly. Read and watch everything in Pocket in a clean, easy-to-view layout that’s free of distractions. You can customize Pocket to match your reading style too, and it includes unlimited storage and tags for easy organization.

Biz Ed (On-the-Go)

Google Primer (Android, iOS)

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to keep on top of current trends, grow your company, continue to learn new skills, and stay competitive in today’s ever-changing digital world. But, who has the time for school? You do! If you have 5 minutes, Primer is a fast, easy way to learn. Topics include business planning, brand building, marketing, customer engagement, website creation, social media, email marketing, and much more. Learn from the best, as Google partners with top industry experts to bring you the latest, most relevant business topics, tips, strategies, and tutorials.

Classics to Go

Microsoft Office Mobile (Android, iOS)

Did you know that you can view, create, share, and edit documents with the Microsoft Office Mobile app on your mobile device? The familiar Office interface has been optimized for mobile phones and tablets and, although the Office Mobile apps aren’t as powerful as Office 365, they are still extremely capable—and free for use on devices with a 10.1-inch screen size or smaller. Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and more sync effortlessly between Windows or Mac over the cloud. Microsoft Office Mobile is great for your on-the-go productivity tasks!

Lisa Bakewell is a full-time freelance writer/editor in the Chicagoland area. Her areas of writing expertise include health and fitness, travel, parenting, company/personal profiles, business, money-saving, and “how-to” articles. She can be reached at