10 can’t-live-without-it apps for startups

6 min read
Luke Buesnel

Starting a business from an idea armed with nothing more than a vision for what you want to achieve is a brave move, and one where the odds are stacked against you. Lucky for you, there are heaps of apps for startups just like yours.

More than 60% of small businesses in Australia fail in their first three years.

There are many reasons for failure, but most can be attributed to:

  • Bad project management
  • Lack of communication among teams and/or with customers
  • Not enough financial accountability
  • Poor time management
  • Not understanding the legal requirements of operating a business

So, to help minimise your chances of becoming a statistic, you must look at ways to address these core elements.

Fortunately, there are apps for startups that can help you systemise, streamline and prioritise everything that needs your attention.

Here are 10 apps you should consider as you look for tools to help your startup thrive.

Come in we’re awesome sign hanging in shop window

Project management

Missing deadlines in small business is a killer. When time is money, customers won’t put up with it for too long.

To systemise your customer projects (and external processes) here are two online project management platforms that can help:


Notion is a workspace that offers a variety of customisable templates for making a content calendar, task list or project roadmap. When shared with team members, you can update progress on each block.

Notion’s Team Plan is best for startups. For a small monthly per-member fee, you have access to unlimited storage and up to 1,000 content blocks.


Trello makes use of boards, lists, and cards to organise projects. You can include a mountain of information on them such as photos and videos.

Screenshot of example Trello Board

Trello integrates with thousands of third-party applications including Slack and Google Suite so you can work efficiently on the app.

Trello can be used for free with limited features. The Business Class plan charges a monthly per user fee.


With people asking things of you consistently, it’s almost impossible to know who asked what (and where).

Were you asked that question via text, email, Tweet or carrier pigeon?

Communication apps are a great way to stay in touch better than traditional means — they even enable you to conduct meetings without leaving your home or office.

Here are two apps for effective communication:


Screenshot of Slack app

Slack is convenient for team and individual discussions. You can create channels for specific projects or tasks and include only those who need to be there. You can chat within each channel in threads, and team members can tag others to pull them into the conversation if needed.

The basic plan is free for an unlimited number of users. More advanced features require an annual fee.

Related: Managing email as your small venture grows


Zoom is a reliable video conferencing app, and its popularity is due to its many features.

It’s screen sharing capabilities makes it convenient for large-scale meetings and webinars. You can also record any call as a full-length video and download it.

Anyone can use Zoom for free with up to 100 maximum participants. Its Business Plan allows up to 300 participants for a monthly fee.


Managing your finances is critical to running a startup and having healthy cash flow.

The average Australian small business is owed an estimated ,000 in unpaid invoices.

That’s why efficient and streamlined financial practices are vital when starting a business.

These smart apps help you remain in control of your finances:


Xero is an accounting software that helps businesses manage transactions and create and send invoices. A key feature is its invoice reminder, which sends notices to your customers who have overdue payments.

Xero offers a 30-day trial, after which a monthly fee takes effect.


Stripe is a contactless payment processor for online businesses. It accepts global payments in up to 135+ currencies and accommodates a variety of credit and e-wallets.

Stripe supports all major eCommerce platforms, so integrating it into your cart software will be seamless.

The platform and all its features can be accessed for 2.9% plus a per-transaction fee.

Related: Bookkeeping apps for those who don’t do numbers

Time management

Open calendar notebook next to laptop.

Posting something on Instagram doesn’t mean you should spend the next 30 minutes scrolling.

In today’s world, distractions are everywhere and can result in lost opportunities.

To keep yourself organised and focused on what truly matters try using one of these organisers.


How often do you go back and forth on email just to schedule a single meeting? Avoid that by using Calendly instead.

Calendly works for all meeting types, and sends automated confirmation and reminder notifications.

Its basic plan is free for one calendar per user. For a monthly fee, the Premium Plan gives each user two calendars while the Pro Plan offers six calendars.


Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that lets teams focus on producing content while the automation makes posts go live when needed. You can write captions on the dashboard and include links and media.

On a free plan, you can schedule 10 updates for free on three accounts. Its Pro plan allows up to three social accounts to be managed; the Business Plan can accommodate 25 accounts.

Legal issues are ever-present in the startup world, and you need to make sure you remain compliant every step of the way by having accessible legal forms.

These two apps are great for legal matters:


Docusign landing page

DocuSign is a popular eSignature solution. It places a strong emphasis on security, including encryption to limit access to what you’re sending. It can provide audit trails that show the exact time a document was signed.

Choose from a standard or more advanced plan with payment collection — all paid.


Avodocs is used by more than 4,000 startups worldwide, and is a go-to place for legal documents. They save startup teams tons of time by providing free NDAs, privacy policies, terms of service, and more. It also enables you to e-sign contracts and collaborate on documents with your team.

Avodocs charges a monthly per-user fee.

These apps for startups could be the difference

As a startup founder, your success depends on you. To help build a small business that’s functional, agile and intuitive, sign up to these apps and start automating how you operate. Who knows? They might just improve your chances of beating the startup odds.