Having your own consultancy, whether it’s business consulting, management, or coaching, requires completing a diverse stream of tasks. It is not without its challenges. Do you need to be a superhero to handle them? It surely helps. But you can also make use of up-and-coming, must-have business apps for independent consultants. These tools help you stay on top of your game and grow your consulting business.
Naturally, you need to create relationships with customers and sustain them. Then, there’s the issue of maximizing your own and your team’s time in order to achieve high productivity. For this purpose, you need solid organization and project management. And last but not least, you have to stay on top of branding and marketing trends, so that you can build your business.
The good news is that there are numerous tools that can lend you a helping hand in the process of running a consulting business. We’ve prepared a list of the best apps for consultants, which each address a challenge that professionals like you have to deal with on a daily basis.
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11 Must-have tools for business consultants
Sales and customer relations
At the heart of any consulting business is the relationship with clients. How you enter into projects and how you grow them is essential to your trustworthiness as an advisor and a specialist in your field. To achieve this, you need to be responsive, available, and focused on your clients’ goals. Having the right apps in your hands can help you streamline your processes and simply perform better.
Followup.cc is a handy addition to your business’ Gmail inbox. It offers two solutions: one for email and another for personal CRM. The first one helps you not miss anything important in your mailbox. When an email arrives, you can quickly set up a reminder, and Followup.cc will deliver it with no hassle. It also provides you with real-time notifications, giving you insights into when receivers actually open your emails. Besides emails, you can use Followup.cc to get reminders about websites and even social media profiles.
The Followup Personal CRM was created with the goal of making business relationship management easier. It replaces spreadsheets and address books, so you never lose an important contact. You can store all contacts within your Gmail account, and even add notes to the profiles.
Pricing: The monthly price of Followup for Email starts at $18 for the Starter package. The Salesforce Edition starts at $40/month and provides you with easy CRM input. The professional pricing for Followup Personal CRM starts at $23/month.
Pipedrive is one of the most wanted CRM solutions out there. It presents the data from your sales processes in a highly visual way, thus helping your sales process get more transparent and efficient. The visual sales pipeline allows you to seamlessly input and organize information about leads and customers.
Pipedrive integrates with email, which makes it easy to deploy. It also uses various automation features that save you time and effort. For example, email, calls and project progress are tracked automatically. Additionally, the CRM software provides you with sales reporting and sales forecasting features. It also has built-in reminders and can sync with your Google Calendar. Ultimately, Pipedrive helps you turn your sales process into an efficient, well-oiled machine.
Pricing: The Silver plan starts at $14/month. For more features, you can use the Gold plan, which is $28/month, or the Platinum plan at $56/month.
Teamgate is a smart Sales CRM that features a series of useful integrations with Mailchimp, Zendesk, Quickbooks, Zapier and a multitude of others. Teamgate software provides simplicity and customization to help you organically grow your consulting business. Among its strengths are its customer service and support and a user-friendly interface.
Pricing: The Starter plan starts at $9/month. For more features, you can use Professional at $22/month, or the Enterprise plan which is $65/month.
Proposify might as well be one of the most necessary apps for consultants. It offers you an easy and stylish software for creating your business proposals. The platform has numerous ready-made yet customizable templates that you can use for your professional proposals.
Besides bringing beauty in everyday documents, Proposify also provides you with an online signature tool. With its help, your customers can sign contracts with a few clicks. This, in turn, makes the contract signing process faster and seamless. If you’re working with a team, you can use it with your whole organization, as collaboration is what Proposify was made for. In addition, the tool integrates with most popular CRM platforms, as well as with project management and invoicing systems.
Pricing: The plan for individuals costs $25/month. For small businesses, the plan is $75/month. Proposify also has on-demand options for bigger businesses.
Time management and productivity
Whether you’re running an independent consultancy, or have a large team, time is always precious. Skillfully fitting numerous responsibilities in the limited hours of the workday is an art. But with the right software, time management can become a science.
Time-based apps can be a big support in the process of optimizing your workflow, saving time, and achieving higher levels of productivity.
One of the biggest challenges that consultants from all venues face is handling a multitude of tasks which require attention daily. Among the best productivity apps for consultants, Hubstaff can take a handful of recurring responsibilities off your plate.
It offers easy online time tracking for yourself and your team that’s as easy as starting and stopping a timer. With its help, you can be sure that the monthly timesheets will be done before you even think of them.
As a consultant, you’re likely traveling from client site to client site, so having robust mobile time tracking apps and easy reporting is key. Hubstaff offers both, along with GPS location and a suite of business features.
Hubstaff saves you time and effort by providing you with features such as automatic payroll based on time tracking, online invoicing, and optimized scheduling. You can even take care of your project budgeting right inside the platform. Hubstaff integrates with dozens of other work tools, making your overall workflow smoother.
Pricing: Free for one user. The Basic plan starts at $5/month per user. To get the full set of time-saving features, you will want the Premium plan at $10/month per user.
6. Focus Booster
Focus Booster is based on the Pomodoro time-saving and productivity technique. Its goal is to help you develop better working habits, free up time, and stay on top of all your tasks. With the simple Focus Booster, you can overcome daily distractions by working in sprints of fixed length that you can monitor with a timer.
Focus Booster can be applied in your coaching or consulting sessions as well. Instead of using a phone timer or constantly checking your watch, you can simply turn on the app timer at the beginning of a session.
Pricing: Focus Booster has a free plan with up to 20 Pomodoro sessions per month. The Individual plan is $2.99/month, while the Professional plan costs $4.99/month. They come with a one-month free trial period.
Project management and accounting software
Organizing your tasks and documents is key to having streamlined processes. A number of useful platforms can give you a hand in this. The same goes for the tedious accounting, as a bunch of tools can make it manageable to stay on top of collecting payments and taking care of expenses and invoicing.
Mavenlink is a well-known project management platform that has specific solutions for consulting businesses. Its goal is to help you improve margins, maximize utilization and delight your clients. It allows you to visually track progress on projects, efficiently schedule and plan your staff and financial resources, and monitor and improve your results.
Mavenlink is designed to become the focal point of your work. As it integrates with numerous work platforms, it can easily connect with your CRM, as well as various other tools. From project accounting and resource management to business intelligence and team collaboration, you can get a grip of your whole business straight in the same dashboard.
Pricing: The Teams plan starts at $19/month for five users. The Professional plan costs $39/month per user. Mavenlink also offers Premier and Enterprise plans with prices are available upon request.
Evernote has been known as one of the best note-taking apps on the market, and for good reason. It offers you not only a blank page to write down minutes from your meetings. In fact, with Evernote you get a central place for storing and handling your project’s tasks and pertinent files. That’s why it’s great at helping you keep your consulting and coaching work organized and efficient.
Some of its features include web clipper, templates, notes syncing, PDF and handwriting search, document scanning, and notebooks and tags. As a long-standing work tool on the market, it has integrations with various other platforms to make your workflow seamless.
Pricing: The basic plan is free. The Premium plan costs $8/month. The full Business plan is $16/month per user.
Xero is one of the must-have tools for any small consulting business. It is accounting software that will spare you a ton of money and effort. First and foremost, you can handle your invoicing with online payment options. Xero connects with your bank and the transactions are processed daily. It also conducts bank reconciliation, checking your invoices and bills against your bank statements.
In addition, Xero also allows you to track inventory if needed. You can also record, claim and manage business expenses. The platform offers you extra features, such as quoting, reporting, payment processing, purchase orders, handling of multiple currencies, file storage, and sales tax handling.
Pricing: The Early plan is $9/month with limited number of bills and invoices. The Growing plan costs $30/month, while the extended Established plan is $60/month.
Branding and marketing apps
Even the most well-known businesses have to invest continually in branding and marketing as a part of keeping and growing their relationships with clients. Here are a few tools that can contribute to your efforts in reaching out to potential clients and boosting your relations with existing ones.
GetResponse is a comprehensive online marketing platform that can be of great use to your consulting business. With its help, you can craft your email marketing campaigns. It assists in growing your email list and optimizing engagement. GetResponse can also create landing pages, which you can connect with email campaigns if needed.
There are more features that may come in handy for your coaching or consulting company. GetResponse has a webinar creation tool, allowing you to communicate with your audience. The platform also provides you with marketing automation that makes tasks easier, such as planning and handling individual customer journeys.
Pricing: The Email plan starts at $14/month, followed by the Pro plan at $45/month. For larger companies, GetResponse has Max and Enterprise plans as well.
Brand24 is a tool that helps you understand when and what people are commenting about your brand online. It provides you with a feed containing your brand’s mentions, metrics in the form of a discussion volume chart, mention analytics, and sentiment analysis. Brand24 gives you the influence score of participants in conversations, so that you know which people are important to engage with.
With the help of the tool’s analytics, you can better spot problems with your brand image and tackle them before they grow out of proportion. Brand24 can send you customizable alerts about the changes in volume of discussion about your brand. All collected data can be easily exported into PDF and other types of files for easy reporting.
Pricing: The Personal Plus plan costs $49/month. Professional Premium is $99/month, while Professional Max costs $399/month. All plans come with a free 14-day trial.
Start growing your consulting business today
Using software to streamline various bits of your daily work as a consultant can save you time and money. With this list of must-have business apps for consultants, we hope to help you get started on the path to better productivity and results.
Which apps do you use to kickstart your consulting work? We’d be happy to learn about them in the comments below.