So you started your own design agency, and it didn’t take long to register that it takes a lot more than a wicked awesome creative capacity to make it big in this already crowded market. You also need to plan your projects carefully, manage your time, organize your team, learn about marketing, and keep your finances in check. The good news is that you can sort it all out with the help of a few well-chosen apps. You’ll be back on your feet shortly, and ready to dominate the market faster than you can say ‘cash’.
Invoicing and Financial Apps
Nutcache is a supremely useful web application for your company and, in my view, a highly recommended solution when you need to keep your finances in check. As an added benefit – you may also monitor your own and your colleagues’ time spent working. It’s unbelievably easy to control this tool, and chances are that it will change the way you perceive accounting on the whole. However, the best parts about this app are that it’s updated very often, and besides, it does not actually cost you anything.
You are free to add all of your team members and clients, regardless of the size of their ranks, and will find that it’s a piece of cake to manage your team’s time, monitor expenses, create estimates, and send invoices. Taking all this into consideration, it’s hardly any surprise that Nutcache is so widely acclaimed.
Pulseapp does not fall short of its name, as this tool concerns itself with the single most essential mechanism in your business: apt decision-making. We are often pressed by time to reach decisions as quickly as possible. Yet, in doing so, we embrace the huge risk of facing many severe implications that have been left out of your calculations.
Recruiting a fine app like Pulse makes a lot of sense when you wish to balance out your company’s cash flow. Sit back and let this software will take care of everything, by generating automatic estimations of your income and expenses within the following days, weeks, and months. Pulse will also integrate Xero and Quickbooks in the proximate future.
Apptivo is equally trusted by a very large number of small company owners and independent designers from all across the globe. The following numbers speak for themselves: 130K IT specialists and designers, and a total number of 40K companies use Apptivo in more than 40 countries worldwide. Impressive, isn’t it?
This is the first all-in one solution to be met with such great enthusiasm by creative professionals. It is rooted in a common data model, and allows you to command every single administrative aspect of your business. Aside from sending branded invoices, you can also use any of the 45 available applications, which focus on Project management, time tracking, and Customer Relations Management.
Wireframing and prototyping tools
The questions of testing prototypes and presenting them to clients should never be taken lightly. If you’re busy working on a mobile app, web app, or website, and you want to stay on course, then the best thing to do would be to run effective simulations. Proto.io is an excellent cloud-based app that will help you find and fix whatever is wrong with your ongoing project in terms of UX and basic functionality.
Furthermore, you can rely on this app to help you construct feasible presentations. For this purpose, you can feel free to use animations and screen transitions in order to get your point across. Then, simply send the link, and your presentation can be viewed through an iOS/Android device, with the player app.
Sometimes, an attractive package can make all the difference in the world. When you’re pitching clients with a fantastic new idea, or care to share the vision with the developers in your team, then you need to make yourself understood. What better way to do that, than by creating a great PowerPoint presentation? Powermockup is the add-on that helps designers to wireframe their projects in a way that is comprehensive for others. The tool is compatible with PowerPoint 2007, 2010, and 2013, and it unlocks a library filled with wireframe stencils and icons. If you’re feeling inspired, you can also design new stencils using plain PowerPoint tools, and add them to the library.
Collaboration and project management tools
How well do you fare on project management? If you want each project to go smoothly, then it’s imperative to recruit the assistance of a competent project management tool. As far as this type of web apps are concerned, you couldn’t possibly choose better than Freedcamp. This tool offers priceless services at absolutely no charge, and it does not tolerate advertisements.
Freedcamp is a social project management platform. A Meebo chatbar allows you to communicate with colleagues and clients alike, whether it’s via Gtalk, AIM, or Live Messenger. In addition, you can share documents from Google Drive, track time, assign tasks, or send invoices. Finally, there are other applications you may find useful, like Issue Tracker, Password Manager, CRM, or Calendar.
Every design agency, large or small, has to synchronize its members’ unified efforts in order to operate at peak performance. In short, you need an application that helps you organize as good as possible. Comindware Tracker will definitely help you in that regard. It is unique, insomuch as you are permitted to assign and re-assign tasks, on top of the software’s automatic processes. Comindware takes the liberty to automate your workflow, according to your predefined priorities and deadlines. Even more, you can use this app to program certain tasks to start repeatedly, and appoint sub-tasks, as well.
Time tracking is a certain way of boosting your company’s productivity, and it doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Freckle is living proof of that. With this app, your team won’t take more than 5 minutes each day to register their time entries. As bonus, you can also use the same app to manage your clients and bill them.
Why trouble yourself with manual time entries at all? TimeCamp gives you an irresistible alternative, whereby you can import your projects and tasks, the entire structure is synchronized, and your precious time spend working is tracked. On top of this, you are also free to add 3rd party apps for CRM, project management, or finances.
The consequences of bad email marketing can be catastrophic to your finances. There are several cloud-based apps that you may wish to consider. Take Mailigen, for instance. This tool will maximize the efficiency of your newsletters, by helping you set up glorious email campaigns, and by laying a vast assortment of templates at your disposal. Besides, Mailigen also analyzes your campaigns and generates in-depth reports and statistics. Go ahead and give it a try, now, for free.
On second thought, you may also appreciate what Sendloop has to offer. When it comes to email newsletters, you should never ever compromise on their quality, because that decision alone might cost you a great deal of clients who’d otherwise be on board. Sendloop gives you the chance to come up with fantastic e-mails in a matter of minutes. A drag-and-drop builder makes easy work of designing dazzling emails that are completely responsive to all types of display, and the service also keeps track of your email metrics in real time.
As far as collecting data goes, you need to make sure that you’re using the proper forms for each occasion. GravityForms gives you proficient tools to work with, regardless of your purpose. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in getting some address details, or want people to make contact, as this service will help you create both simple and complex forms.
Typeform can offer precious assistance with your forms. It is, in fact, suffused with many types of data collection tools, which are mobile-ready and engineered to propel your response rate. For example, you can use this wonderful app for surveys, forms, contests, landing pages, recruitment, events, education, and not only. Two kinds of memberships are possible with Typeform: a free membership, or the entire PRO deal. Free users are never obligated to keep to a certain number of devised forms or received responses. Yet, PRO members integrate their brand identity, and get logic jumps, and hidden fields.
The final subject I’m about to skirt is the manner by which files circulate within your team. Dropbox is the famous file sharing service that enables you to upload all kinds of files and folders, and make them available for other people involved in your projects to view, edit, and download them.
Hightail is another great file sharing option, and it’s very safe to use. Much like Dropbox, it’s available in cloud and desktop versions. Apart from uploading files and placing them in folders, you are also able to use this app for sending them directly. In that case, the transfer limit is 2GB.
Thank you for your time. It is my sincere hope that this list of 15 web apps and tools is going to help you improve vital parts of your small enterprise or freelance. You should get back on track soon enough, and take giant steps towards the ultimate goal: success.