Ah, you are own your own. Being a professional Accountant, Doctor, Architect etc is one part excitement, one part sheer terror. The stakes couldn’t be higher and you know you need to provide more quality service and thus grow your business fast, beating competition.
To run your small business efficiently, you need to do these five things really well:-
With the right combination of software tools (plus the unavoidable hard work, long nights, and grit), you could find yourself with a thriving, 6-figure business [case study].
In this blog, I’ve organized some of our favorite small business apps, some of these we also use to grow rightapp4u, into each of these categories. All apps mentioned here have a 4+ star rating with more than 100 reviews (with only a few exceptions for awesome, lesser-known apps).
(Oh — and keep an eye out for kaapis. Those are our RightApp4U partners.)
Manage your money wisely
Proposals, Invoicing etc
Sure, you can create PDF invoices on your own. But if you want to skip the manual labor, offer credit card payment options (for a fee), and send naturally-stylish invoices, you may consider using an invoicing app:
- Wave Accounting – This product, wave accounting, helps you create ledgers, create journal enteries, create invoices, connect your bank account (API), track income and expenses etc and all this for FREE UNLIMITED. I personally use this product to raise invoices for my software development activities.
- Freshbooks – Freshbooks is a cloud-based accounting software specifically geared toward small business owners (professional like you) and freelancers.
- Quickbooks – Because Intuit also owns TurboTax and Mint, Quickbooks has a distinct focus on tracking income and expenses for tax purposes.
HR, Payroll etc
Time to pay your team. I understand small businesses in India do NOT manage their payroll activities formally BUT if you have 3 or more people working for your small professional business and you are paying them, their salaries and other benefits, by cheque or cash then it would be better to manage your business’ payroll activities.
Fortunately, there are several payroll and HR apps designed specifically to help small businesses do it all: payroll, time tracking, PFs and benefits, sick days, insurance covers etc.
- Sumo Payroll – Sumo Payroll is India’s most trusted HR & Payroll software. And, it is FREE for 10 employees.
- Zoho Payroll – Zoho Payroll helps you spend less time running payroll for your employees so you as a business owner can focus on growing your business. Zoho Payroll costs Rs 50 per employee and you MUST have minimum 20 employees (BUT if you have LESS THAN 20 employees then you can write to Zoho support team showing your interest in using Zoho Payroll).
- Paybooks – Paybooks is Cloud based Payroll Software at Best Price in India. It offers 20 employees plan at Rs 1,800 per month.
Online payment processing / Payment engine
- Instamojo – Instamojo is a Multi-Channel Payment Gateway for India – you can receive payment using SMS, Email, Whatsapp, Facebook, Website & more. Never miss a payment – Accept Credit/Debit Cards, Wallets, Net Banking, UPI & EMI. We use Instamojo, ourselves, to receive payments for a couple of our educational products.
- Razorpay – Razorpay is India’s easiest way to accept, process and disburse digital payments for businesses in India. We use Razorpay to accept all Domestic and International payments on RightApp4U.
- Paypal – Paypal does have credit and lending options, and has been a long-standing player in the online payment space. While creating an account is technically free, you’ll pay 2.5%* + Fixed FEE of Rs 3 per transaction.
Grow and keep your customer base
- Zoho CRM – Get more leads, drive more sales, and grow your business faster with the CRM software that’s made in India, crafted for your business. It is FREE for 3 users.
- Hubspot CRM – HubSpot CRM is everything you need to organize, track, and nurture your leads and customers. Yes, it’s 100% free, forever. We, at RightApp4U use Hubspot CRM to manage our Corporate Customer accounts.
- AgileCRM – A super charged All-in-one CRM software fit for your Sales, Marketing, and Service efforts. AgileCRM is FREE for 10 users.
- SuiteCRM – Sell, market & service smarter with the world’s number 1 Open Source and FREE CRM. SuiteCRM is 100% open source fork of popular non-free and non-opensource (post 2014) SugarCRM.
- Hootsuite – This is the high-power player in the world of social media management tools. In addition to the main channels, you can manage Youtube channels and WordPress blogs too. Starts at $29.99/mo (approx. Rs 2100 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate) (billed annually). It has a FREE plan also which allows you to manage upto 3 social media accounts.
- Buffer – Buffer starts at $15/mo (approx. Rs 1050 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate). It’s more affordable than Hootsuite while offering many of the same tools, including being able to manage your social media in one place and schedule posts. It also has a FREE where you can manage upto 3 social media accounts.
- Zoho Social – Zoho Social is a complete social media management platform for businesses and agencies. Manage multiple social channels, schedule unlimited posts, monitor keywords, and collaborate with your team—all from a single dashboard. It has a FREE plan which allows to manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google My Business, and Instagram social media accounts.
SEO & content marketing
Want to pass through your competition and get listed on 1st page of Google? Follow the best practices of search engine optimization: create relevant content, use clear keywords, and turn your website into a resource for topics in your industry.
It’s harder than it sounds … but the right SEO tools can make it a lot easier.
- SEMRush – One of the most widely used SEO tools, SEMrush is packed with tools to help you perform keyword research, plus a myriad of tools to make article optimization much more straightforward. Prices start at $99.95/mo (approx. Rs 7000 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Ahrefs – Another major SEO player, Ahrefs offers similar services and tools to SEMrush. However, Ahrefs’ angle is backlinks. It has an incredibly accurate backlink tool that helps you understand who is linking back to certain websites. Prices start at $99/mo (approx. Rs 7000 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Textmetrics – Today, you’ve gotta create enough content to satisfy the masses. It’s easier when you have machine learning and artificial intelligence powering your content. Textmetrics (previously known as Webtexttool) helps you create relevant, quality content that’s optimized for search. Prices start at $18/mo (approx. Rs 1260 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
Email collection and marketing
- Mautic – This is the tool which brings us the money on our table so that we can, happily, keep on curating the best software and other products deals for your professional independent business. You may ask, what is it? Ans: Mautic is FREE, Open Source and Powerful Email Marketing Automation tool available.
- Mailchimp – If you haven’t heard of MailChimp, you’ve probably never sent an email (I’m only slightly exaggerating). But seriously, MailChimp is geared toward businesses of all sizes. It helps you build a following through landing pages, send sleek newsletters or promotions, and is fairly easy to use. Pricing starts at Free for 2000 email subscribers and goes up based on your number of subscribers.
- Zoho SalesIQ – Track, capture & engage your visitors in real time to increase sales. It is FREE for 2 agents, 100 chats / month for a single website.
- Tawk.to – Monitor and chat with the visitors on your website, mobile app or from a free customizable page. It is FREE.
Get stuff done
- MeisterTask – Organize your work by columns. Each column represents a different step in the tasks completion timeline. Prices start at $8.25/mo./user (approx. Rs 578 per month per user @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Asana – Asana is structured top-to-bottom, like a checklist. As projects get closer to completion, they can be moved down into the next category. This is a freemium service.
- Monday.com – Here, projects follow a calendar-style format. This helps users plan to accomplish certain tasks within the days assigned to the task. Prices start at $25/mo (approx. Rs 1750 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Basecamp – Basecamp (formerly 37signals) lets you compartmentalize every aspect of your business into different sections. You can look at to-do lists, then jump to conversations with clients, then switch to a calendar. It’s $99/mo (approx. Rs 7000 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
Part of scaling your small business is planning your schedule wisely. Consider letting the software do the hard work for you. Try:
- Be Like A Boss – This handy-dandy scheduling app was built for small business owners. It combines client scheduling with easy payment methods, so professional services providers can, well, book like a boss. It starts at $9/mo./user (approx. Rs 630 per month per user @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Calendly – Calendly understands that sometimes you need buffer time between things on your schedule. If one meeting ends at 3 and the next starts at 3, you can add a buffer that allots time in your schedule to pour yourself another cup of coffee, finish jotting down notes post-call, or call your mom to tell her how great your business is going. Prices start at $8/mo (approx. Rs 560 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Google Calendar – This one is completely FREE and is easy to use because sooo many people use it every day. When you send a Google Calendar invite to a meeting, most people know what to do.
- Google Gsuite – Work in collaboration with your team in real-time, share documents flawlessly on the web, and give users varying permissions (to make sure you-know-who can’t ruin all your hard work). Google Docs is one of the most popular word processors in the world. Oh, and it’s FREE.
- Dropbox Paper – Paper is a FREE word processing app from Dropbox that incorporates simple design elements that let you know what a final product will look like when it’s complete. Paper allows simple multimedia integration and many of the aspects people love about Google Docs (like commenting features).
- Coda – Self-described as a “doc as powerful as an app,” Coda tries to reimagine what’s possible in docs. They essentially let you do a heck-of-a-lot more things than you ever thought docs could: create tables that talk to each other to show data in different formats. Make docs on your desktop perform like native apps when you open them on your phone. Dude, it’s so cool. Also, it’s FREE.
To-do lists & Notes taking
- Notejoy – This is a team-oriented note-taking and to-do list app. Imagine Slack for note-taking: you can have private notes just for you, but also have group notes for easy collaboration with your entire team. Notejoy is $100/yr (approx. Rs 7000 per year @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Evernote – One of the most popular note-taking apps, Evernote could have been categorized under Project Management for all its collaboration and categorization abilities. It’s a note-keeping app that goes above and beyond to keep you organized. Evernote provides some limited features for FREE which are enough for small businesses. For advanced features and extra storage it costs $2.70/mo./user (approx. Rs 190 per month per user @ INR 70 / USD rate).
Whether you’re billing by the hour or need to figure out where all your time has gone (turns out it actually is the cat memes after all), get yourself a time tracker:
- Web Timer – This is a simple, FREE web time-tracking plugin for Chrome. It connects easily to web browsers and gives you a pie-shaped breakdown of how you spend your time online.
- Toggl – This app tracks your time online to help you run your business with greater focus. It alerts you when it notices idle time. It tracks how much time you spend on specific projects so you know what your hours are worth. Pricing starts at $10/mo (approx. Rs 700 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- WhatsApp – The powerhouse of text messaging in India and the globe. With WhatsApp, you’ll get fast, simple, secure text messaging and both voice and video calling for FREE*, available on phones all over the world.
- Telegram – Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed. It is also FREE.
- Chanty – Chanty is a messaging app built for small businesses. They’re more affordable, but offer the same private and group chat functions that make Slack so useful and popular. Chanty offers most of its services for FREE up to 10 users. For full functionality, it’s $3/mo./user (approx. Rs 210 per month per user @ INR 70 / USD rate).
Voice and Video Calling, and Online Conferencing
You say: “Is this a voice or video call?” What you really mean: “Do I have to wear pants?”
Meetings are still the worst, but they’re better with good conferencing software. Try one of these:
- Zoom – Zoom is a comprehensive video conferencing platform. They prioritize offering great video and voice quality, as well as many functions to keep you organized and on top of your meetings. It’s FREE for personal meetings but starts at $14.99/mo. (approx. Rs 1050 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate) for all the valuable add-on functions.
- Skype – If you’re looking for the bare minimum, basic video communication tool, Skype works great. Skype also starts FREE but has fees for various other types of calls.
- GoToMeeting – Similar to Zoom, GoToMeeting offers robust conferencing offers that make collaboration and remote meetings much simpler (and clearer). GoToMeeting prices start at $14/mo (approx. Rs 980 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
Desktop Screen Sharing
- Team Viewer – TeamViewer is the world’s #1 brand for remote connectivity solutions. Share your Desktop with any Partner or Share and manage any screen remotely with remote desktop software solution. It is 100% FREE for personal usage.
Today, you can make your Google Home or Amazon Echo talk to your fax machine. Actually, probably not. But you can make your Google Home or Amazon Echo schedule appointments, automatically send emails, and turn off the lights at the end of the day. And if you figure out how to make it send a fax, hit me up, I’ll be really impressed.
To IoT your work life, try:
- IFTTT – IFTTT (If This Then That) is a FREE systems automation tool that lets you easily set up new commands for everyday tools. They connect the digital services you use every day to keep simple tasks moving without your continuous interaction. IFTTT is built primarily for your home. For more advanced functions, pricing starts at $5 (approx. Rs 350 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
- Zapier – Zapier offers many of the same benefits as IFTTT, except it is built specifically for connecting professional services. They help you automate your work routines. It’s FREE for the first 5 “Zaps” and then starts at $20/mo (approx. Rs 1400 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
Be creative and innovative
Image editing and graphic design
- Gimp – GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows and more operating systems. It is FREE software. All our Graphics on RightApp4U are edited in Gimp.
- Canva – This web-based graphic editor is another famous design tool. It is very simple to use (literally just drag and drop) and the basic features are FREE. It offers templates to make designing for specific platforms simple (i.e. a blog or social media post). Pro plans start at $9.95/mo (approx. Rs 700 per month @ INR 70 / USD rate).
Video is all the rage these days, so you might want to get with the program. Here are some popular editing programs to consider:
- Final Cut Pro – This Mac application is popular for creating professional-tier videos on your computer. It’s a one-time price of $299 (approx. Rs 21000 one time price @ INR 70 / USD rate). Also, all macs come with FREE video editor software app which is a low featured version of Final Cut Pro. So, if you are really into Video Making then only you need to buy Final Cut Pro else free version is enough.
- KDenLive – KDenLive is a FREE and Open Source Video Editor primarily used on Linux but has downloaders for Mac OSX, Windows etc. Kdenlive is an acronym for KDE Non-Linear Video Editor. It is primarily aimed at the GNU/Linux platform but also works on BSD and MacOS. It is currently being ported to Windows as a GSOC project.
- Openshot – OpenShot™ was created in 2008, in an effort to build a FREE, simple, open-sourcevideo editor for Linux. It is now available on Linux, Mac, and Windows, has been downloaded millions of times, and continues to grow as a project!
- Movavi – Movavi Video Suite is a comprehensive video making program for Windows that helps you create professional-looking movies and slideshows on your home computer – even if you have no experience. It costs around approx. Rs 2400 one time price @ INR 70 / USD rate.
Bookmark this scrollable guide and send it to your kaapi-loving entrepreneurial friends! What are other apps do you use to power your small biz? Tell us in the comments!