We asked over 250 small business owners about the tech tools they swear by. Based on 500-plus hours of research, here is our curated list of the best apps and software for tiny companies—as told to us by real small business owners.

Glued to your iPhone? No shame.

Your phone is the gateway to your company, and many of those flickering apps on your home screen are essential to running your business.

The thing is, there are thousands of apps to choose from. So ≈

Best for Costco-obsessed business owners who hate actually going there: Boxed

Boxed _ Best iPhone Apps for Small Business Owners

Boxed brings Costco-like shopping to your phone, minus the membership fee and long lines. You can use it to buy cheap groceries, beverages, cleaning supplies, home and office supplies, and other essential business goods.

Why business owners recommend it

  • It saves you a trip to the store. “I use Boxed for ordering office supplies so I don’t have to run out during the day to buy toilet paper or trash bags,” says Suzanna Cameron, the owner of Brooklyn-based floral shop, Stems Brooklyn.
  • There’s no membership fee. Wholesale stores like Costco usually charge annual membership fees. Boxed lets you access bulk pricing without paying regular dues.
  • They take the shipping part seriously. Every order is photographed before being shipped, meaning your groceries are protected from potential slip-ups.
  • Your team can add items to your cart. Through group ordering, you can send a link inviting your team to add to the cart. You can also ship to multiple locations if you have more than one office.

Things to consider

  • The selection isn’t massive. The app doesn’t have as large of a selection as other wholesale places, so you can’t be as particular about brands or product sizes.
  • The prices aren’t always competitive. Some respondents felt that their local BJ’s or Costco had lower prices. However, the app does save you the time and energy of trekking to the store.
  • You have to buy a membership in order to get cash back and free priority shipping. Boxed Up is an upgraded version of Boxed that gives users two percent cash back on each order and free shipping. However, it costs $49 a year to join. On the bright side, that’s usually lower than typical wholesale club memberships.


  • Free, unless you upgrade to Boxed Up, which costs $49 a year.

Best for business owners who still write calculations on the back of napkins: Calzy 3

Calzy 3 _ Best iPhone Apps for Small Business Owners

Calzy is a tricked out version of the built-in calculator app on your iPhone. For business owners who often crunch numbers on the fly, this app is a pretty sweet option.

Why business owners recommend it

  • You can save calculations. It’s easy to make mistakes on traditional calculator apps if you’re not sure of a particular equation or if you mistap a number. Calzy saves everything so you don’t have to start from scratch. You can bookmark calculations and drag and drop values to an area at the top of the screen, sort of like a scratchpad. This allows you can save things so you can easily continue on with your calculation.
  • It’s helpful for doing taxes. The tax option lets you add a pre-saved tax amount to your calculation, so it’s a cinch to get a ballpark figure for your FUTA tax or some other amount that doesn’t change.
  • You can pick up your calculation on another device. Calzy works on Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad, so you can keep up with your calculations on another device.

Things to consider

  • It’s a little slow to load. Some users noted that Calzy is slower to load than the iPhone calculator app—but it does work harder for you.
  • Some found the numbers hard to see. People like Calzy for its sleek interface, yet at the same time, the thin font was hard to see for some. Luckily, the font size and thickness is customizable in the settings screen.
  • There’s no Clear button. Some respondents don’t like that there’s no separate Clear button, which you’d find on standard calculators.


  • $2.99

Best for business owners who are sick of the built-in iPhone calendar: Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 _ Best iPhone Apps for Small Business Owners

Fantastical 2 is a supercharged version of the stock iPhone calendar app that comes with every phone.

Why business owners recommend it

  • It works with the calendar apps you use outside of your iPhone. Fantastical isn’t just stored on your iPhone—it also syncs with the most popular calendars like Google Calendar, Outlook, iCloud, Exchange, and others.
  • You can quickly visualize what’s happening. Users recommend Fantastical for its detailed hourly view. A day ticker at the top of the app shows a brief overview of events to come, while an event view sidebar shows all your events in the scheduled order.
  • It’s easy to make and edit events. You simply tap on an event to edit it. “I just hit the + sign and Enter, and it creates a calendar invite with all the right pieces at the right time,” says Maia Bittner, a serial entrepreneur and CTO of Pinch.
  • It understands what you type and creates events based on that info. Fantastical has really phenomenal natural language processing,” explains Bittner, which is when computers can understand human language. “It understands everything you type,” she says.

Things to consider

  • It’s pricey for an app. If you live and breathe your calendar reminders, then it may make sense to upgrade to this $4.99 app. The Mac desktop version costs $50.
  • The natural language processing isn’t perfect. For example, if you create an event called “Breakfast with Kate,” it can sometimes call the meeting “breakfast” and put “Kate” as the location.
  • Not everyone is a fan of the views. It only has one view in portrait mode—an agenda view—which makes it hard to read for some folks.


  • $4.99

Best for business owners who need to slow down: Headspace

Headspace _ Best iPhone Apps for Small Business Owners

Headspace is a meditation app that provides quick, accessible guided meditations around a variety of topics. For a number of our respondents, Headspace has not-so-quietly transformed their productivity, and for some, their entire outlook.

“It makes me way more productive,” says Sim Thadani, the talent acquisition lead at online education startup Springboard. “I like knowing that there is a nice British man on the internet who gives me some wisdom.”

Why business owners recommend it

  • It helps you deal with the real-life stressors you face as a business owner. The app offers guided meditations to help people work through the top issues we encounter at work, like dealing with a scary meeting, a big presentation, or a teammate conflict. “It’s a nice reminder to pause, which I don’t often do,” says Thadani. Keep in mind that for certain meditations, you have to subscribe.
  • The 10-day beginner’s course makes it easy to test drive. The app encourages you to log in for 10 minutes a day for 10 days when you first sign up. It’s a good chance to learn about meditation and how to do certain basics like measured breathing. It also helps you turn it into a habit instead of something you only do when you’re battling something stressful.
  • It reminds you to take time for yourself. It also alerts users to take a moment to walk or read during the day, “which is great if you don’t have any time to think about these things,” says Thadani. “Having 10 minutes at the beginning and end of the day is huge.”

Things to keep in mind

  • You have to upgrade to access more meditation sessions. To get the most out of Headspace, you’ll want to subscribe so you can access the more personalized sessions tailored to specific problems, like anxiety, sleep, etc.
  • Stick to it in order to see results. Some respondents said it was only after using it daily that they really saw an impact on how they were feeling. Using it every so often doesn’t have the same effect.
  • You may want to offer it to your team. They also offer team pricing, so if you think your employees would benefit from the app, check out Headspace for Teams.


  • An annual subscription costs $95.88 per year, or a monthly subscription costs $12.99 per month.

The next time someone judges you for being on your phone too much, just show them how rad your home screen is. Take a tour through the App Store to check out the ones we listed, and see which ones give your business that extra productivity kick.

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Kinjal Dagli Shah Kinjal Dagli Shah is a writer and journalist living in Toronto. She has worked in newsrooms in India, the US, and Canada over a span of 15 years and counting.
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