Best Free Apps Every Small Business Owner Should Have in 2024

Last Updated January 9, 2024

The ever-evolving modern business landscape is filled with apps focused on boosting efficiency for businesses. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to remember that leveraging mobile apps for running a small business is one of the most efficient ways to grow your company. When utilized correctly, the right apps can significantly improve your team’s workflows, collaboration, and efficiency – which can lead to overall business growth. Fortunately, numerous apps that can aid in small business growth are completely free!

But, of course, as a business owner, you’ve got a lot of things on your plate. One day, you’re thinking about cash flow management or how to best manage your budget, and the next day, you’re coming up with a plan for if the economy takes a turn for the worst. Frankly, many business owners don’t have the time to figure out which apps could best support their business.

Don’t fret – we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a list of the best free apps for small businesses, including apps for marketing, collaboration, accounting, project management, and more. Keep reading to find out which apps could best help your small business grow!

Best Free Small Business Marketing Apps

A small business with an effective marketing strategy is poised for growth. After all, your product won’t sell itself.

By utilizing these free marketing apps, you can tap potential growth and better reach your target audience.

1. Mailchimp

Email marketing remains one of the best ways for small businesses to connect with their customers. In fact, 77% of marketers say that they’re still seeing an increase in email engagement, according to HubSpot.

Mailchimp has been an essential app for email marketing efforts across industries. This email marketing platform is an easy-to-use way to create email campaigns and measure their effectiveness. Plus, their free plan allows you to send 1,000 emails per month, so you don’t have to spend any money to get started.

2. Buffer

In 2024, if you’re a small business not utilizing social media, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. In fact, 77% of small businesses say they use social media to reach their customers.. But a successful social media presence requires attentiveness and activity. For small business owners in particular, that can be a hard task, considering all of your other responsibilities.

Buffer is one of the best free social media scheduling apps for small businesses. The platform is easy to use and very intuitive, making it an approachable tool that can take one more thing off your plate.

Their free option gives you access to their planning and publishing tools, landing page builder, and AI assistant. However, for just $6 per month, you can also gain access to their engagement and analytics reports.

3. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a completely free tool that can help you gather and analyze data related to your website. In the platform, you can easily view how many people have visited your site during a given time period, the demographics of your web visitors, how engaged they are on your site, and so much more. Because Google Analytics is chalk full of useful information, we recommend all small business owners that have a website set up the analytics tracking platform.

Best Free Small Business Communication and Teamwork Apps

Businesses that communicate well create a more efficient and effective work environment.
Having a well-organized communication strategy and network saves valuable time and allows for projects to move forward smoothly.

Here are some of the best free communication apps for your business:

1. Slack

Slack has revolutionized the way teams communicate. Its chat-based interface facilitates real-time interactions, reducing email clutter and ensuring vital information is easily accessible. The creation of dedicated channels for projects, departments, or topics sets up a virtual office, allowing team members to tap into whatever they need at any moment. Plus, on top of instant messaging, team members can easily hop on calls or video chats without the need of another platform (or phone!). Additionally, Slack has recently rolled out their new Canvas feature, which can take the place of your 3rd party project management tool, helping you consolidate all of your work into one place.

2. Glip by RingCentral

If your small business relies on video conferencing, Glip by RingCentral has become a go-to platform for team collaboration. It combines messaging, video conferencing, and task management into one platform. It’s an empowering tool that encourages your team to work cohesively, regardless of their physical location – as easy as popping into someone else’s office for a quick chat, even if that office is on the other side of the continent.

3. Loom

If you or your employees work remotely, you may feel like some tasks require more than just a Slack message but less than a full-on meeting. Or maybe you may want to explain something in-detail to a colleague, but you are working asynchronously.

Loom is a great in-between tool, as it’s a free screen recording desktop app used by those looking to record quick videos on their screen or camera. Educators and trainers across the globe use Loom to walk through various tasks step-by-step, and it’s incredibly beneficial to explain complicated topics without having to set up a meeting.

The free version of Loom allows you to record up to 25 videos, each with a 5 minute time limit. However, if you find that’s not enough, their monthly fee is just $12.50 and allows you to record unlimited videos.

Best Free Small Business Accounting Apps

Don’t let your finances get in a mess – it’ll cost you later even more than it costs you now. Some of the most useful business apps are in the accounting department.

1. Wave

Wave is a slick app that caters to all of the financial needs of small businesses with a comprehensive set of tools.

With the Wave platform, you can handle all elements of the financial journey, from invoicing and expense tracking to payroll management – ensuring your business’s fiscal health remains robust and in good standing.

All of Wave’s invoicing and business accounting features are completely free; however, if you want to add on additional tools like their payroll management software or mobile receipt features, you will have to pay extra.

2. Expensify

Let’s be honest, filing expenses is annoying, and no one wants to do it. Thankfully, Expensify is a solution for efficient expense management and makes the process go as smoothly as possible. Capture receipts, categorize expenses, and generate detailed reports effortlessly. The intuitive interface ensures that your business maintains an accurate record of expenses.

Best Free Small Business Storage and Organization Apps

File cabinets might be in the digital cloud these days – but you still need to use ‘em. The best storage apps for business owners make everyone’s lives simpler, providing easy access to vital information.

1. Google Drive

It’s well-known that Google Drive is a leader for cloud-based storage while offering document creation and collaboration features. Whether your small business utilizes Google or not, Drive remains one of the best options for storage and organization because it’s so universal – a platform that the average person is used to.

2. Microsoft OneDrive

If you’re an enthusiast for the Microsoft ecosystem, Microsoft OneDrive extends a secure cloud storage solution complemented by seamless integration into Microsoft Office applications. This allows you and your team to collaborate on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Do note that you must have a Microsoft account, and the free version of OneDrive provides 5GB of data. If you want to expand your storage, you’ll have to choose from one of their pricing plans.

3. Dropbox

As classic as Coca Cola, Dropbox has been leading in cloud storage since its original development. Its user-centric design and compatibility across devices makes it a great app for small businesses – and unlike Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, it’s not tied to a specific ecosystem. The free version offers up to 2 GB of storage per month.

Best Free Small Business Financial Transactions Apps

From tapping to e-transfers, each day we move closer to a cashless society (which still requires effective cash flow management). For small businesses, it’s vital to be able to receive payments outside of traditional norms.

1. Square

With Square, any smartphone can be transformed into a payment terminal, allowing small businesses to take payments at any moment, anywhere. The platform facilitates payments, monitors sales, and helps navigate the details that come with it. Keep in mind though that while Square is free to use, you will still be charged processing fees.

2. PayPal

As a staple of the online financial world, PayPal has been an industry leader for over two decades. It still provides one of the safest ways to perform digital payments – and the PayPal Business side is no different. Through PayPal, you can not only take payments and transactions, but you can also send invoices, integrate with accounting apps, and utilize other useful features, both for online and offline transactions. Similar to Square, you will be charged transaction processing fees, even though the platform itself is free to use.

Note that many of the most highly-regarded apps for financial transactions are not free, including Quickbooks and Stripe. You may want to consider sacrificing some of your cash for an app like Quickbooks, especially considering the accounting tools it provides.

Best Free Small Business Project Management and Task Organization Apps

Keeping your teams moving is vital for small business growth, and it goes beyond just communication. These useful business apps are great for holding team members accountable and ensuring what needs to get done gets done.

1. Trello

Trello takes what they call a “board-based” approach, meaning it’s a visualized version of task management. It allows leaders to create projects, assign tasks, and monitor progress in real time – all while ensuring both transparency and accountability. Trello’s free version comes jam packed with features, including unlimited “cards,” unlimited storage, custom designs, and 2-factor authentication.

2. Asana

Similar to Basecamp, Asana has an interface that’s a bit flashier – but arguably cleaner. It’s a comprehensive project management platform that empowers users to allocate tasks, set deadlines, and collaborate. Because it’s so customizable, it’s a very effective app if your business has a diverse set of projects or goals. Similar to Trello, Asana’s free version comes with unlimited tasks, projects, messages, and file storage, making it a highly effective free tool for small businesses.

Small Business App FAQs

What’s the best free app for small business management?

The answer depends on your business’s unique requirements. Depending on your goals or what you’re trying to achieve, apps like Slack, Notion, and Asana all promote seamless communication and effective project management. At the end of the day, what is considered best is really about what works best for your needs.

What’s the best free accounting app for small business owners?

Wave offers a comprehensive suite of financial tools tailored for small enterprises. With Wave, you can handle all elements of your accounting needs – such as invoicing, expense tracking, and payroll management. But again, whichever tool is best might come down to personal preference or your specific business needs.

What’s the best free scheduling app for my small business?

For managing schedules, there might not be a better free app than Google Calendar. It’s simple, intuitive, and overall, an easy way to keep track of what you’ve got to do and when.

What’s the best free marketing app for small business owners?

Buffer is one of the best free marketing apps for small business owners. With an easy to use platform to manage, it’s a simple way for small business owners to keep track of what they need to do to serve their audience. And because it’s so easy to use, it’s a great tool for organizations with or without dedicated marketing departments.

However, the analysis side of Buffer is not free, so it depends on your business goals. If you need a tool to help you schedule social media posts to keep your content calendar up-to-date, then Buffer is a great app. If you need an email marketing solution, then you might be better off looking elsewhere, such as Hubspot, which allows you to measure your success for free.