The 10 Best Apps for Small Businesses, Straight From Real Small Business Owners

Entrepreneurs and independent workers all over the country shared their favorite apps for running a business. From project management to marketing—or even getting liability insurance—you've got access to so many tools in the palm of your hand.

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It’s the 21st century, and whether you know it or not, you’ve already got all the tools you need to start a small business in the palm of your hand.

We recently asked over 37,000 real small business owners to tell us what apps they rely on to find work, market themselves, and do their daily business operations. Of those who responded to our Instagram, here are the top results:

There are lots of payment apps out there, but this is the only one to make our top ten list of apps small businesses love. It’s the total package of what you need to send and receive payments for a business: processing debit and credit cards, PayPal payments, PayPal Credit, card readers, and their online platform.

If money talks, then PayPal speaks the language of small businesses everywhere.

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Once you’ve sent and received all those payments, you’ll likely need to balance your books. Intuit’s QuickBooks came in at #2 among the best apps for business, with clean design and affordable options for accounting, payroll, and managing your money (even as a freelancer). And with a name like that, QuickBooks is an easy sell.

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It’s the modern-day business card. It’s no secret that Instagram is the way most people discover new products and services, and small business owners across the country backed that up. From DJs to lawn care professionals and career coaches, businesses of all shapes and sizes use Instagram to promote their business.

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(We didn’t prompt this, we swear!) We’ve covered payments, bookkeeping, and marketing, but one oft-overlooked necessity for a successful business is insurance. It’s oft-overlooked because most insurance is clunky, hard to understand, and not designed with small businesses in mind. Thimble isn’t most insurance. With liability policies sold by the hour, day, week, or month, you can get insurance that works when you do and save money when you don’t. And unlike most insurance companies, we’ve got a killer app. Learn more about Thimble.

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Accounting, invoicing, payroll, and more, managed in a seamless user experience. This makes it clear that entrepreneurs want simple ways to organize the seemingly difficult aspects of running a modern business.

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Great marketing relies on great content, including visually-compelling photos that highlight what you do best! At #6 on our list, lots of small business owners mentioned Lightroom as their go-to app for editing photos that can be posted across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and their websites. It’s a simple tool that allows you to snap a photo, enhance it, and share it out, right from your mobile phone.

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All of these apps allow you to get things done—but how do you put your to do list in order in the first place? A good project management app may very well be the driving force behind your entire operation. Small business owners love Trello because the online board allows you to stay organized, and their app allows you to mark off tasks on the go, even if your “office” is on four wheels.

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Even for businesses without a proper website, Facebook is a cornerstone of digital marketing. It’s the way millions of people find the services they’re looking for, and they can easily crowdsource recommendations from friends to find great businesses like yours. You can build a profile for your business for free and then access their paid services, such as advertising across Facebook and Instagram.

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The ability to talk to your team no matter where you are is crucial. Slack makes it super easy to keep a group in sync, with polling, video calls, and channels to keep the information (and hopefully the revenue) flowing. At Thimble, we’re big fans of Slack.

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10. Adobe Creative Cloud

Along with its photo editor Lightroom, the entire Adobe Creative Cloud is a fan favorite among savvy small businesses. Like we’ve said, social media is huge in any robust marketing strategy, and the Adobe Creative Cloud allows you to edit photo, video, and audio, design logos, and keep your assets fresh. With the transition to the Cloud, Adobe makes it easy to get started and access your projects anywhere.

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These are the top 10 apps for small businesses, ranked by our community of real small businesses around the country. If you’re looking for some simple business solutions that you can download today, these are all services that can help you build a business, right from your phone.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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