The Best Note-Taking Apps for Small Businesses: The Best Digital Tools for Jotting Things Down

Sean Lund-Brown

Taking notes and writing things down is a helpful way to remind yourself—and these days, who couldn't use more reminders? Moreover, what about more effective reminders?

Note-taking apps have evolved over the years, and while you might be thinking they're "just notes", these tools are challenging you to take that notion to the next level. There are plenty of basic note-taking tools available, sure. But there is also a robust selection of apps with unique features, collaborative elements, and other tools that can help you take your note-taking to the next level.

Everyone has their own methods. Some people like to just jot things down wherever they can. Others might carry a notebook or memo pad. Still others might have a unique system for taking and filing away notes so that they can keep track of things. Today, the paper trail doesn't have to be another hassle in your life—the digital note-taking apps that are out there will take care of everything you need and more.

Note-taking apps are the same as tangible products—you can write literally anywhere. You can find Google docs, simple tools like sticky notes and empty text files, and even dedicated, cloud-based note-taking apps that include digital "notebooks" that translate handwriting to text—it's getting pretty advanced out there, thanks to modern technology.

For the sake of this list, we're going to focus on dedicated note-taking apps that are designed to improve your notetaking, help with organization, and empower you and your ideas to go further and do more than ever before.

We've taken the time to peruse the market of solutions available today, avoiding super-niche apps that are too focused for our purpose but focusing on apps that offer a diverse range of functions to serve different types of people. There are literally hundreds of options available, but we've narrowed it down quite well.

How'd we choose? Well, here's what we considered:

·  Execution. The apps on this list do the job, and they do it well. Not only that, but if they advertise a feature, they hit it out of the park. Anyone can claim to offer writing-to-text, for example, but if they're not actually good at it, it's more of a drawback than a tool. There are so many different ways to use these tools that what some people need, others consider unnecessary—when you choose an app, choose one that executes what you need effortlessly.

·  Ease of Use. We're taking notes here, not writing the next great epic. Thus, the apps being used need to be simple, succinct, and designed to deliver all of the performance and convenience that you need. Consider tools that make it easy to create, edit, and sort notes, as well as those that allow you to customize more so it works better for you.

·  Availability. You're not going to want an app that you have to chase down every time you need to jot something down—that's counterproductive at the least. You need these apps to be readily available, either as an icon or Widget, and it's best if they're either cloud-based or available in app form. Offline functionality is always a good choice because you don't want to be left without a notebook just because there's no network.

·  Value. Mind you, we didn't say price. We said value—the apps on this list are going to give you a lot of bang for your buck, including those that offer free forever note-taking tools that deliver powerful performance without cutting into your already tight budget. Some of the best apps have subscriptions, but they're generally worth every penny.

So, now that you've got a better idea of what we looked at and what you should be looking for, let's take a look at the top note-taking apps for small businesses below.

 

Evernote: best digital notebook

Evernote is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and the web, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere. It's one of the most popular note-taking apps for personal and business use alike because it offers a simple user interface, a left-handed navigation panel for easy navigation, and plenty of tools to keep your notes organized and help you stay focused and keep your ideas on track.

You can add tags to notes, search tags, arrange notes into notebooks, and even move things around whenever you need to. One of the best features is its search option. You can upload a business card, a menu, a sign, or anything else that has text on it. Then, Evernote will process the image and text, making it easier to read and allowing the text to be indexed for easy searching. This tool will work with handwritten notes, but only for those who have the neatest handwriting.

While the free plan offers basic tools, you don't get a lot of features and it's limited to two devices. Therefore, we prefer the Premium plan because, for just $7.99, it's well worth the investment for unlimited device use and offline access.

 

Microsoft OneNote: best free app

Microsoft makes the list, as well, because they've got OneNote. Where they falter on some of the apps and tools that they've made, they do well with this one. OneNote is available for Mac and iOS, as well as Android, which is part of the allure—anyone can use it and it's great for small teams that need a common tool across multiple devices. This tool offers a lot more freeform functionality than some, which is another reason we like it.

With OneNote, you can create sections and subsections, known as pages. The pages are essentially a blank canvas that you can use to create any kind of notes you want. You can drop images, add text, or even use a stylus on your tablet to handwrite notes and add your own doodles. It's familiar, and it's free. The only downfall is that the app uses your OneDrive storage, which comes with 5GB, but if you save a lot of photos or audio, you might need to upgrade.

Fortunately, Microsoft offers 100GB of storage for just $1.99 per month if you need it. And if not, the app is free.

 

Google Keep: best for Google users

Google Keep is a great notetaking tool that often goes overlooked. So often, Keep is unused in the Google family, but it really can help you in several ways. Available for those who love Google, as well as those who need iOS access, the Keep platform makes it easy to send notes with direct Gmail integration, search notes, and more. You can even copy notes to Google Docs and turn them into documents, transcribe audio notes, and more.

It's a really diverse app with a host of features and functions that will give you the chance to make even more out of your Google power using. Even if you are using other note apps, you'll find that Keep goes above and beyond because it's so easy to use throughout the entire Google ecosystem. There's even a Chrome extension for those who want to go that route.

When you use Keep with your existing storage (15GB), it's free. You can pay $1.99 to upgrade to 100GB for additional space, too.

 

Notion: best for collaboration

When you're looking to take notes for the team, Notion is what you need. This tool offers plenty of standard notebook features and it also gives you the option to take things to a collaborative level. You can create and share notes, manage projects and tasks, and even use the reference feature. Templates are available to help you get started, and there's an easy sidebar that allows you to access everything with ease.

Notion includes separate sections for users so that everyone can manage their own areas. It's great for those who want to encourage collaboration but not enforce it. Notion claims to be an Evernote competitor at the personal level, but it's really better as a business tool for small teams. Of course, the personal version is free, so that's something to consider. It also has areas for feedback and revisions, making it easy to keep things moving and improving.

If you want to upgrade to an unlimited team plan, you can get the app for just $10 per month per user. There's a free trial available that gives you up to 1,000 blocks, too, in case you want to check it out before you commit.

 

Apple Notes: best for Apple users

Apple Notes is our pick for apple users who want a native tool that just gets the job done. This tool may also be known as iCloud Notes or just Notes, depending on how you're using it. Plus, it's already built into the system, so you just have to go open the app and get started. The nice thing is that you can head on over to icloud.com/notes and access the stripped-down version of everything from a PC or Chromebook, too.

This is a bit more basic in terms of functions, but it does offer ease of use and integration with Siri. You can use the search bar to find what you need, and although it lacks tagging abilities, you can organize your folders by the dozens if you want and you can even look for text that has been scanned in on a document. This tool offers a lot of unique, simple features for users who don't want to bother with a paid app or downloading a new tool.

Apple notes is free to use, as we mentioned, and you get up to 5GB of storage, but you can also pay for more storage—rates start at $0.99 for 50GB.

 

Take note and take stock, then call Smith.ai

 

If you're looking for better basic tools, these note-taking apps should all be on your list. It's going to be the key that keeps you organized and, if you want, even helps you collaborate better. Plus, most of these tools can be integrated into your existing tech stack, giving you the chance to continue to grow your automation and AI and improve your digital business operations.

Throw out the memo pads and get rid of the random scraps of paper. It's 2021—keep a notebook if you'd like but start using a digital note-taking app if you really want to harness the power of the technology for your business. Even just to keep things organized somewhere they won't get lost, this can be an invaluable asset. Moreover, these tools have features that make them more robust, such as the option to turn Google Keep notes into Docs, and so forth.

The selection of apps available on the market today is quite impressive. If the big names above don't quite hit the mark, or even if you just want to see what else is out there, check out these other note-taking apps that just barely missed making the list.

·  Bear

·  Standard Notes

·  Slite

·  Typora

·  Zoho Notebook

·  Notability

·  Simplenote

·  Joplin

Once you've found the perfect note-taking app, take note of how Smith.ai can help you improve other areas of your administrative operations. From answering overflow calls to handling live chat 24 hours a day so that you can run your business and rest your brain, we've got you covered. Our dedicated virtual receptionists will work with you to create a custom solution for all of your needs, no matter what those might be.

We can even integrate with your apps and tools to keep everything streamlined and organized and help you find better ways to grow your business and build your brand for success. We love note-taking apps and other productivity tools, and we love helping small businesses like yours give customers the dedicated attention that they deserve. You don't have to do it all, and when you partner with us, you won't have to worry about missing a single beat when it comes to mission-critical services.

To see what we can do or discuss your needs further, schedule your consultation today. We can help with everything from Facebook message answering to appointment scheduling, lead intake, and more so that you can stay focused on the tasks at hand. You'll also find us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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