Online tools and mobile apps make it easier than ever to ditch the pen and go digital. Here is our selection of the best free and paid small business apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets that can help you to manage all aspects of your small business more efficiently and effectively
Best apps for planning and project management
A simple, visual and customisable project management and planning tool that lets you manage all your team’s work in one place. Quickly and easily see what everyone in your team is working on and manage to-do lists, tasks and projects across your business.
Use readymade templates or customise and design your own process or workflows. Superb functionality and an intuitive interface make monday.com the best planning app for businesses of all sizes. Get a 14-day free trial (no card required). Ongoing plans start at £7 per person a month (minimum three people).
Visualise project progress, share files, and manage resources, all in one place. Wrike’s project management software helps you avoid delays, collaborate across teams, and seamlessly execute your projects.
Get a free trail (no card required). Free version for up to five users. $9.80 per user, per month, for more than five users.
With Backlog, you can choose how you envision work happening. Quickly see which tasks are completed, are currently in progress, or need more attention through Gantt charts, burndown charts, or Kanban-style boards.
Free for up to 10 users, $35 a month for up to 30 users.
Slack is a popular business planning app for managing digital teams and is free for small teams. It brings everything related to a project or team together in one place and gives you the ability to share files. There's also an app store where you can add a number of additional integrations. Slack also offers a free trial for paid plans.
Trello aims to make project management fun and flexible, by organising projects into the boards, lists and cards. It’s a simple and intuitive system that offers a great deal of control and visibility for business owners. Free for individuals and small teams.
Manage remote teams with detailed and accurate time tracking, GPS tracking to assist fleet management, proof of work and timesheet managment. You can also automate payments with payment integrations. Free version available.
Whether it's planning a work project or a family event, nTask helps you stay organized and meet deadlines. See all your tasks and team tasks in a range of views and improve visibility and communication so that your tasks are completed successfully. Free version available.
Best apps for to-do lists
Get things done with Google's plain but popular system for managing, capturing and editing your tasks. It integrates with Gmail and can be synchronised across all your devices, with free Apple and Android apps.
Never lose track of tasks, organise notes and improve productivity with this reliable cloud-based to-do-list app. Use the Task Manager to share lists with colleagues and colour-coded lists to distribute tasks. It’s one of the best free online planners around, from a brand that you can trust.
You can prioritise, set reminders, collaborate with others and plan the best way to tackle tasks with this highly popular to-do-list app. Free for up to 80 projects with up to five people per project.
Omnifocus records and organises all your to-dos and syncs them so you can get an up-to-date state of play wherever you are. A business planning app powerhouse that's available for iPhone and iPad.
Best business apps for organising your thoughts
A simple way to create sophisticated diagrams, flow charts and process maps. Share with colleagues and collaborate online.
Mind-mapping software that can help improve the way you brainstorm, capture and organise ideas and plan projects.
Organise your mind with this intuitive mind-mapping tool. Capture ideas and store them in the cloud, or forward to friends and colleagues when inspiration hits.
What are business planning apps?
Business planning apps are programs designed to work on your mobile phone or tablet that make the difficult process of running a business a little bit easier.
How can I download the business planning apps featured here?
The apps in our round-up can be downloaded to an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. You can either click the links above or search in the App Store or Google Play store for the app you want to download.
How much do business planning apps cost?
Many of the business apps in our round up are free, but in some cases, you may need to pay a small fee to download the app or pay a monthly subscription. Costs can vary, but nothing here is going to break the bank.
If you already have an existing account with a provider such as Microsoft Office 365, for example, then in most cases you won’t be charged an additional fee to download and use the app.
Will my information synchronise across multiple devices?
Yes. The seamless, and almost instantaneous, sharing of data across platforms is one of the best reasons to use mobile business apps.
If you share the same log in across multiple devices, then your data should be accessible across all platforms. Apps such as Dropbox are designed to share files across devices. Most apps in our test only function with access to a network connection (through your mobile phone provider or a WiFi network) and will automatically update the data held in the cloud without you needing to do a thing.