Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

Turn your phone into your PA with these five apps

By Gabriele Ottino, Productivity Expert and MD of Doodle

If there’s one thing small business owners need more of, it’s time. Unfortunately, not many of us have the luxury of a personal assistant who devotes their time solely to saving ours.

Every week many costly hours are wasted on necessary yet menial tasks, such as organising meetings, planning travel routes or waiting on hold.

Thankfully, there are a range of amazing apps available that can turn your smartphone into your very own pocket-dwelling PA.

Download the following apps to win back your valuable time and allow you to focus on the thing that matters the most – growing your business:


Organising a meeting or catch up can be stressful. Trying to find a date everyone is free is a painstaking process – so much time is wasted in the endless and unproductive back and forth of WhatsApp or email chains. Perhaps the meeting you’re trying to organise is with potential investors or new business opportunities; this precious time could be much better used for vital pre-meeting preparation.

Doodle helps you reclaim this time. Easily create polls by suggesting possible dates and places, let others vote, and Doodle will do the rest, selecting the time and place that works for everyone.

Available to download for free on iOS and Android.


Entrepreneurs have to juggle a lot of tasks – because of this, it’s easy for the less urgent ones to get pushed back, and eventually forgotten. This becomes even more of a problem when working in teams – it’s tough to track the progress of a project, not to mention time-consuming as multiple catch ups are required.

ToDoist allows you to create personal and shared task lists, set priorities, track everyone’s progress, and receive notifications when each task is complete. To make sure that each person is pulling their weight, you can assign specific tasks to individuals. Whether you’re working as an individual or as part of a team, ToDoist gives you the peace of mind and frees up your time.

Available to download for free on iOS and Android.


Although being a business owner is exciting, it doesn’t mean you get to sidestep the dull, mundane, yet necessary tasks that most of us are guilty of trying to avoid. A great example of this is timesheets. No one likes doing timesheets.

Harvest lets you manage timesheets with quick to use drop down options. It also helps you auto-submit invoices and log expenses through one straightforward and user-friendly platform and even has a handy app for posting on the go.

Available to download for free on iOS and Android.


Whether it’s for meeting new business prospects, clients or attending an industry event, owning a small business comes with a lot of travelling. Planning your routes across big cities while trying to get your head around confusing timetables and tube maps can cost you a lot of time. This is especially true when there are unexpected delays or cancellations which only compound your problems as you  try to figure out how and if you’re actually going to get there on time!

Thankfully, CityMapper will do everything for you in a matter of seconds. It shows you the quickest route and a number of alternatives, will reroute for you if a train is cancelled, shows how much it’ll cost you and for the fitness gurus amongst us – how many calories you’ll burn in the process.

Available to download for free on iOS and Android.


Dealing with customer service teams is a necessary evil when running a business. Not only are you forced to listen to the mind-numbingly repetitive ‘on hold soundtrack’, but waiting on hold for what can feel like days is a huge waste of your valuable time.

The good news is that you can outsource this time drain. WeQ4U does just what it says on the tin; they queue for you and ring you when you’re off hold, allowing you to spend your time on the things that really matter for your business.

Available to download for free on iOS and Android.