Best Apps For Startups

Startup businesses are a very exciting and rewarding endeavor. However, they can also be very difficult to manage. With so much going on in the business, it can be difficult to stay organized and make sure that you are getting everything done that needs to be done.

This is where apps come in! Apps are great because they allow you to stay organized, but also give you the ability to access information no matter where you are or what device you’re using.

In this article we will go over some of the best apps for startups so that you can stay organized and make sure your business is running smoothly.

10 Best Apps for Startups in 2017

Best Apps For Startups

If you’re thinking of starting a business, or improving an existing one, you’re going to need the right tools for the job! So, in this post we share 10 types of apps for startups that can make your workflow much more efficient and lead to an increase in business growth.

Lets begin with something fairly essential…

  1. A productivity suite
    Before you can do anything exciting with your startup, you’re going to need some apps that can take care of the boring — but very important — things.

That typically means getting your hands on…

a reliable email account
cloud storage
productivity tools.
The industry leading productivity suites which provide all the above are Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite).

However, it can be quite hard to choose between them — there a LOT of pros and cons to weigh up regarding the quality of their services.

So, you might like to read our Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace comparison. This explains the core differences between these two productivity suites, as well as outlining what alternatives are available.

Google Drive, part of the Google Workspace productivity suite
Google Drive, part of the Google Workspace productivity suite

  1. A graphic design app
    A key part of running a business involves taking care of the visuals: ensuring that you have a good logo, a strong brand identity and consistent use of your brand across all the assets you produce.

For this, you’re going to need a tool that lets you produce brand materials easily — our recommendation here is Canva, which gives you access to a host of customizable design templates, royalty free videos, stock photos, graphics and much else besides. Canva comes in two flavours — a forever free version (which despite being free is extremely functional and feature-packed) or a premium one, which unlocks over 600,000 templates.

Read our full Canva review for more information about the app; watch our Canva video review below; learn more about Canva pricing; or find out the differences between Canva Pro and Canva free.

(Our Visme vs Canva article may also be of interest).

Canva free trial | Full Canva review

  1. A website or online store
    It goes without saying that you’ll need a website for your business.

But with so many website building platforms available, it’s important (and hard!) to make the right decision regarding which one to go for.

Example of a website built with Squarespace
Portfolio sites and brochure sites
If you’re not intending to sell services or goods online — i.e., your website is more of a portfolio or ‘brochure’ site with business ultimately taking place offline — then Squarespace is often a good bet for startups, because the pricing is reasonable, it’s easy to set up a site with it, the templates are attractive, and you get support included with your plan.

Our Squarespace video review

Squarespace free trial | Full Squarespace review

WordPress is another great option for portfolios or brochure sites — and one that will give you more control over the aesthetics and functionality of your site — but there is more of a learning curve involved, and you might be best off hiring a developer to help you with the build.

Wix banner advert
Check out our Squarespace review or our Squarespace vs WordPress comparison to find out which is the right option for you; our Squarespace tutorial video (below) might also come in handy.

Our Squarespace tutorial

Free Squarespace trial | Full Squarespace tutorial | Squarespace resources

Online stores
If you’re selling products and services online, things get a bit more complicated when it comes to choosing the right tool.

Although it’s tempting to just embed a Paypal button to a web page to handle online transactions, there are many more sophisticated options available to you which will serve you better.

Shopify store example
Example of a Shopify store
Ultimately, if you’re serious about ecommerce, you’re going to need a platform you can use to to build a fully functional store: one that can adequately cater for things like product variants, shipping, tax rates and abandoned carts. Big hitters in this area include BigCommerce and Shopify.

Shopify video review — 7 key pros, 7 key cons

Full Shopify review

If you’re new to online store builders, we have some guides available that might help:

our step-by-step guide to creating an online store
our tutorial on how to create a Shopify store
our ecommerce platforms buyer’s guide
You might also find our ecommerce reviews section useful.

Have you seen our Shopify tutorial for beginners?

Shopify trial | Detailed guide to starting a Shopify store | Launch checklist for Shopify

If you’ve already got a website, and want to turn it into an online store, you might find that Ecwid is a good solution for you (it’s a ‘widget’ that’s designed to add ecommerce functionality to any existing site). Check out our Ecwid review here.

And finally, if you’re on a budget, then you might want to check out Wix, which offers a lot of decent ecommerce features at a relatively low cost (see our Wix vs WordPress and our Wix vs Shopify posts for more information on how it stacks up against other leading platforms).

Tip: when it comes to the aesthetics of your website or online store, you might find that simple web-based design tools like Crello or Canva offer a cost-effective way to tackle graphic design for it. Another tool you could consider using for branding is Looka’s AI-based logo maker.

  1. An email marketing tool
    A large, high-quality mailing list is vital to the growth and long-term success of any business.

Not only can email marketing provide a fantastic return on investment (up to 4800%, according to Hubspot), it’s a great way to share content widely (something which can build great brand awareness and even improve SEO).

Many new business owners think that a mailing list is simply a bunch of email addresses stored in an Excel spreadsheet that get emailed via Outlook from time to time.

Taking this approach is a big mistake. Dedicated email marketing tools allow you to capture email addresses via your website, host a large mailing list online, create newsletters, automate communications and track results effectively.

Creating a newsletter with Getresponse
Creating a newsletter with Getresponse
There are many fantastic email marketing apps available — but based on value for money and reliability (respectively), our favourite is probably GetResponse, because of the way it integrates webinars and ecommerce features with email marketing.

For more information about your other options in this area, you can check out our email marketing tool comparisons here.

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  1. CRM
    CRM stands for ‘customer relationship management’, and these days the acronym is often used to refer to cloud-based software that allows you to keep track of and manage the business relationships between your organisation and your leads and clients.

Nimble CRM
Nimble CRM
Typically, a CRM app will allow you to

capture, organise and analyse leads
track communication with leads and clients
allocate tasks to your team
manage your ‘sales pipeline’ (i.e., identify leads and track how the process of converting them to a client is going)
manage customer enquiries via a support ticketing system
Now, as with email marketing, many new business owners rely on Microsoft Excel to handle all this sort of stuff — which, as with mailing list management, is a bad move when there are so many more sophisticated options available to you.

Hubspot offers a very functional free version of its CRM tool — this is a good introduction to the world of customer relationship management.

Other cost-effective options include Capsule and Nimble.

Which product is right for you will really depend on the nature and complexity of your business, but either way, finding the right CRM tool will usually be vital to ensuring that it grows successfully.

(Check out our Capsule CRM review and our Nimble CRM review for more information on two of the CRM options mentioned above; Quicksprout also has a pretty comprehensive guide to CRM software which may come in useful).

  1. Cloud based accounting
    Cloud-based accounting apps are increasingly popular — mainly because they are SO much better for managing your finances than Excel…

You simply connect your accounting app to your bank account, and all your transactions are imported into your accounting software in real time (i.e., no more copying and pasting transactions from your online bank account into a spreadsheet!).

The Xero app is an increasingly popular option for managing accounts.
The Xero app is an increasingly popular option for managing accounts.
Not only that, but cloud accounting apps allow you to raise branded invoices and produce detailed reports at the click of a button. They can give you access to in-depth analysis of your company finances, and make preparing tax returns significantly easier.

(Because of these advantages, if you use an accountant or bookkeeper, it often makes sense to hire one that works ‘in the cloud’.)

Industry leading cloud-based accounting apps include Xero and Quickbooks.

  1. Keyword research tools
    It’s all very well having a business and a website to go with it — but if you’re not ranking highly in search results, you’re hampering its potential.

Increasing site visibility: a video guide

Ahrefs vs Semrush | Free SEO toolkit | Subscribe on YouTube

One of the best ways to improve the performance of your website is to make sure that you are publishing content that people are actually searching for. To do this, you’ll need to perform keyword research.

Performing keyword research with Semrush
Performing keyword research with Semrush
Tools like Ahrefs and Semrush are essential for this kind of work.

For more information on keyword research tools, check out our in-depth SEO tool reviews and comparisons:

Ahrefs vs Semrush comparison
Ahrefs vs Moz comparison
Moz vs Semrush comparison
Semrush review
Semrush pricing guide
Ahrefs review
Note: for a limited time, Semrush is making a 30-day trial available (it’s normally just 7) — you can avail of this trial here.

  1. Project management tools
    If you’re serious about getting anything done — and particularly if you’re working with multiple stakeholders — you’re going to need a project management tool.

Possibly the simplest of the bunch — and one that you can use for free — is Trello.

This lets you organize your projects using a ‘card’ based to-do list system that is easy to understand. You can invite people from both within your own organization and outside it to projects.

You can learn more about Trello here.


  1. GDPR compliance tools
    With the introduction of GDPR — data protection laws designed to safeguard the privacy rights of EU citizens — business owners now have to meet strict requirements with regard to how they capture data and use cookies.

Adhering to GDPR rules on data capture is reasonably straightforward, but it’s quite hard to adhere to the cookie laws.

Basically, to be compliant from a cookie-consent point of view, your website needs to display a cookie banner which not only informs your visitors that cookies are being used, but also allows them to give prior consent to them being run.

Example of a GDPR-compliant cookie notice
Example of a GDPR-compliant cookie notice
This can be quite a challenge from a technical point of view, but there’s a new tool called CookieYes which we’ve discovered and which we recommend to our clients as a way of ensuring compliance (particularly where hosted website building products like Squarespace, Shopify, Big Cartel and BigCommerce are concerned).

You can find out more about CookieYes here.

  1. A social media manager
    Most businesses end up struggling to manage several social media profiles at once — it’s hard to stay on top of posting content religiously to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and so on.

Analysing what’s working and what’s not across all your channels can also prove very difficult.

This is where an all-in-one social media management tool like Hootsuite is invaluable. You can use tools like Hootsuite to

manage all your social media accounts in one place
schedule messages across your profiles
measure your social media campaign performance
assign message answering tasks to your team.
All this improves your social media comms, or frees up time to do other important stuff!

Alternatives to Hootsuite include Sendible and Buffer.

Now – over to you!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about apps for startups! Do feel free to add your thoughts on it using the comments section below.

About the author

Chris Singleton
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Chris Singleton is the Founder of Style Factory.

After graduating from Trinity College Dublin in 1999, Chris went on to advise many businesses and not-for-profit organisations on how to grow their operations via a strong online presence; he now shares his expertise through his articles on the Style Factory website.

Founded in 2009, the Style Factory site provides in-depth, impartial reviews and comparisons of key business apps, and advice on how to grow a business.

Organisations Chris has worked on projects for include Cancer Research UK, Hackney Council, Data Ireland, Prescription PR and many more.

He is also the author of a book on SEO for beginners, “Super Simple SEO.”

You can connect personally with Chris via Twitter or LinkedIn.

successful app startups

The most successful startups never had it good when they actually started. In fact, for most of them, the product looked completely different, served a different need and market!

Now, if you’re looking at building your app with a custom software development company, check out the software requirements document template to request for proposals.

We have compiled the inside stories of 10 most successful startups today. They all began with a simple idea and look where they are.

If you’re looking to get your idea off the ground, Arkenea is a top rated healthcare software development company trusted by healthcare organizations and HealthTech entrepreneurs across the country to develop their HealthTech startups.

1 AirBnB

This is a story of 3 guys and how they went from renting mattresses to a $10 billion company. In 2007, designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, couldn’t afford the rent on their San Francisco apartment.

There was a design conference coming to San Francisco and the city’s hotels were fully booked, so they came up with the idea of renting out three airbeds on their living-room floor and cooking their guests breakfast.

They set up a simple blog and got three renters (two guys, one girl) for $80 each.

After a small success and product market fit, they enlisted a former flatmate and a computer science graduate, Nathan Blecharczyk, to develop the website and join the venture.

2 Instagram

This is a story of two guys who made an app in flat 8 weeks. Kevin Systrom, a Stanford graduate who worked on Google’s Gmail and corporate development, spent his weekends developing an app that allowed location-aware photo and note-sharing, dubbing it Burbn.

That’s how Kevin met Mike Krieger, an early Burbn user and Instagram’s co-founder. Later, Burbn was reduced to photos only and dubbed named Instagram.

3 Pinterest

Raised by doctor parents, Ben Silbermann assumed he would follow the same path. He attended Yale University starting in 1999 and soon realized that he didn’t want to be doctor. After a consulting gig in Washington DC, working for Google, and a failed app, he came up with the another idea.

In 2009, Ben and a college friend, Paul Sciarra, along with Evan Sharp, started working on a site on which people could show collections of things they were interested in, on an interactive pin-board format.

Ben personally wrote to the site’s first 7,000 users offering his personal phone number and even meeting with some of its users. Over Thanksgiving dinner, Ben’s girlfriend thought of a name for it: Pinterest.

4 Angry Birds

Just how many times the founders of Angry Birds tried to build a successful one. Moral of the story is that even if you fail 51 times, you only need to succeed once!

5 Linkedin

In late 2002, Reid Hoffman recruited a team of old colleagues from SocialNet and PayPal to work on a new idea. By May 2003, Reid launched LinkedIn out of his living room, inviting 350 of his contacts to join his network and create their own profiles.

The business started with a slow growth at first—as few as 20 signups on some days—but, by the fall, it showed enough promise to attract an investment from Sequoia Capital.

6 Uber

After a conference in Paris, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were complaining about the many crappy things we all have to deal with in life, including finding a cab. The next thing you know, the two were already brainstorming, thinking about ways to find cars at the right place, at the right time.

7 Snapchat

Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown, and Bobby Murphy, three friends from college were testing out their entrepreneurial skills. During a casual chat Reggie said, “I wish these photos I am sending this girl would disappear.”

Soon after, Evan referred to as a ‘million dollar idea.’ They worked on the app and launched in the name of Picaboo. But later after a clash between with Reggie, Evan and Bobby asked him to leave and changed the name to Snapchat.

8 WhatsApp

Jan Koum and Brian Acton, two friends and colleagues from Yahoo were frustrated with the idea of having so many advertisements on any page. In 2007, both left Yahoo and took a year to decompress. Both applied, and failed, to work at Facebook.

After a lot of ups and downs they launched WhatsApp in 2009, with a clear purpose that their service would definitely not carry any advertising and would maintain a relentless focus on delivering a gimmickless, reliable, friction-free user experience.

9 Twitter

Twitter’s origins lie in a day long brainstorming session held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo.

Jack Dorsey, then an undergraduate student at New York University, introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group.

Source: Mashable

10 Facebook

A 19-year-old lad and a second-year Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg launched an internal social networking site for Harvard students.

Soon after the site got popular among students, it expanded its reach to other universities. In 2004, the site moved its operations base to Palo Alto, California and received its first investment from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Source: Mashable

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