These days, there’s no shortage of apps and cloud-based software programs designed to help businesses streamline their operations. Whether you want to track it, count it, schedule it, organize it, write it, or charge it, there’s an app. With so many different apps and programs on the market, it can be tough to cut through the clutter and figure out which apps work best – particularly for local businesses and those just setting out on their entrepreneurial journey.
We’ve pulled together some of the best free, or cost-efficient ones we’ve found for 2022 that are worth a look, whether you’re actively searching for a solution or just want to see what else is available.
Project Management Apps
Find a system that works to help organize everything from ideas to projects, to task delegation.
Asana is an intuitive, project management system that allows up to 15 users on the free version. Keep track of projects through project lists and easily know who is doing what, when at a glance. Alternative programs include Trello and Monday.com.
If you just want a place to keep track of all of your ideas and “brain dump,” Evernote is a free program that will allow you to combine your notes with your to-do lists and your schedule.
Moving files off of your computer and onto a cloud-based storage program can help not only in terms of sharing files with employees and clients, but also in case anything should happen to your physical computer.
Dropbox or Google Drive
Both Dropbox and Google Drive offer the ability to store and share files with team members via a cloud-based storage system. While Google may offer cheaper options and increased storage initially on the free and lower-price tiers, when it comes to usability, Dropbox may take the edge particularly if you’re looking for something that will allow you to pull attachments easily into emails and other programs.
While DocuSign has been a leader in legally binding electronic signatures for years, HelloSign offers a cost-effective alternative that’s particularly appealing to smaller businesses. While it is a Dropbox product, it also seamlessly integrates with Google Drive and Gmail.
LastPass is a password manager and online vault that organizes and stores sensitive information online so that you don’t have to worry about constantly guessing your various passwords. It’s also a perfect solution for sharing sensitive information including passwords and credit card information with team members who may require that information from time to time in order to carry out tasks.
IFTTT or If This, Then That is an easy-to-implement systems automation tool that can save you time by automating various tasks that eat up your day. Have Alexa automatically add tasks in Asana or automatically save photos your business is tagged into Dropbox.
While Quickbooks has long been the gold standard for accounting software, Freshbooks offers a simplified, more intuitive experience that is perfect for solopreneurs or small businesses who are doing a lot of invoice-based accounting.
Bill.com is an app that helps small and mid-sized businesses automate their accounts payable and accounts receivable processes. It allows you to easily pay vendors with ACH.
Scheduling & Time Tracking
No task is more irksome than trying to schedule a meeting between very busy people. Calendly helps alleviate that pain point by offering a free, easy scheduling solution. When you need to book a meeting just send over your link and they can see all of your availability at a glance based on your settings.
Clockify is a free web-based service that lets you schedule and track time across projects or team members with a simple click. Easily export your data to see where team resources are being utilized the most.
MailChimp, Constant Contact, or FloDesk
When it comes to email marketing, MailChimp and Constant Contact have long been the favorites for their free or cost-effective pricing combined with their easy-to-use drag-and-drop template options. But for businesses looking to up their game aesthetically, FloDesk is worth a look. These apps offer the same drag-and-drop functionality as the others but with beautiful, professional templates that will impress customers and clients.