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For every business, there comes a time when it has to make a jump. Either are things going too slow, or there’s too much manual work for the business owner and not enough time. Or, even more stressful, success comes unexpected and forces an entrepreneur to quickly adapt its systems. Time to scale up.

In this article, I am introducing 3 excellent tools that can take over a lot of the manual back-and-forth-tasks that every entrepreneur is going through during the beginning stages of their business endeavor.

“You need to either eliminate, automate or outsource your tasks, or you just won’t have time for the nicer things in life.”
— Tim Ferriss

One obvious way to scale up a business is by replacing manual, repetitive tasks by tools that do the work for you. With the availability of more and more sophisticated tools that connect web apps, this topic has become increasingly popular in the last years in the freelancer’ scene. And since the Age of Automation is still in its infancy stage, we can expect this trend to grow progressively.

The three tools introduced in this article have the potential to unburden any online entrepreneur. Whether that’s a photographer, coach, designer or consultant of any kind. Everyone who needs to schedule appointments will benefit from a business management tool.

Everyone who needs to schedule appointments will benefit from a business management tool. Click To Tweet

When manual tasks take too much time, people begin to look for solutions. This is what I want to help you with today. Business management tools are those tools that help with email ping-pong, proposals and contract management. They also do the appointment scheduling for us and include a service to get paid for what we do.

I have chosen three Business Management Tools for a comparison.

Two of them are what I would call anchor apps: 17Hats and Satori. The third one – Acuity, I think is a candidate for implementation in a business’ automation strategy.

So, let’s get started with a quick overview before I dive into details.

Comparison of 3 Business Management Tools

17Hats

Satori

Acuity

Contract Templates

Calendar Integration

Advanced Scheduling Tools

yes

yes

no

yes

yes

yes

no

yes

no

Invoicing

Bookkeeping

Tax Management

Cash Flow Tool

yes

yes

no

no

yes

no

yes

yes

no

no

no

no

Multiple Payment Provider

yes

no

yes

Multiple Currency Support

no

yes

no

Integrations

Free Trial

Free Plan

no

yes

yes

no

yes

no

yes

yes

yes

Outstanding Features

Mobile App

Advanced Calendar Scheduling Features

Connect to other tools through Zapier

17Hats

17Hats  is a business management system aimed for small businesses.

>>> Who Is It For?

It seems to be a particularly good fit for freelancers like web designers, photographers or coaches. It helps them automate, organize and grow their small businesses.

 

>>> What Can It Do?

We all have to start somewhere to streamline our internal processes.

17Hats  is a good starting point. From within the app, you can send proposals, contracts, and invoices. The tool lets you build a library of professional templates (e.g., for emails, contracts, invoices or questionnaires). You can also collect payments for your provided services. A bookkeeping and time tracking features are also included in 17Hats.

business management tools

 

17Hats is what I call an Anchor App. You can do a multitude of tasks in there. For instance:

 

  • Build a library of professional templates, like emails, quotes, contracts, invoices, and questionnaires.
  • Send proposals and contracts in minutes,
  • Collect payments through Square, Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.Net

Additionally, 17Hats can be used on a mobile app. Running a business doesn’t mean we are always at our desk. With the mobile app, you can track your billable time and easily invoice it, and you can manage your client’s documents in one handy spot. Plus, the project dashboard allows you a 3-day glance, so you always know what’s next on your list.

There are several payment plans ($25, $39) offered. With the free account, you cannot do that much, but you can validate the tool and get familiar with its user interface.

There’s a lite plan for growing businesses with 15 active projects. The unlimited plan options allow unlimited active projects as well as multiple accounts. Multiple payment providers are only available to paid plans.

Satori

The second tool with great potential for many small business owners is Satori.

>>> Who Is It For?

Coaches seem to be the main audience group this tool is good for. But I think everybody who is in need of an advanced scheduling tool for client appointments should have a look at Satori. Its set of business features (contracts, invoices, or payments) makes Satori a force to be reckoned with in the business management tool universe.

>>> What Can It Do?

Its strength is a holistic client management. A smooth client onboarding process is something Satori praises itself with the inbuilt contracts, proposals, and questionnaires. The calendar integration and schedule automation are great for coaches who have to deal with clients on different time zones.

Automatic invoicing, cash flow projection and tax management are some further features that make this tool a hot candidate not only for coaches but everyone who is looking for a business management system.

Satori eliminates the email ping-pong game that usually comes with initiating a new lead. To simplify the process, client care got streamlined in a way that clients receive a single link, with which they can

  • buy packages,
  • make payments (even with automated billing plans),
  • sign agreements,
  • schedule sessions, and
  • respond to questionnaires.

If you are a coach and are offering group sessions like workshops, classes or coaching groups, Satori might be interesting for you. Within Satori Groups you can manage coaching schedules for multiple members and keep everyone in the loop.

Let’s have a look at Satori’s pricing plans. There is a 30-day free trial, in which you have unlimited access to all features. If you would like to continue using it, you will have to purchase a monthly subscription. It’s a pay-as-you-go service, which means you pay month by month. But you can also pay yearly if you wish so.

There are three packages available: $29, $49, $79 when paid on a monthly basis. Plans differ in how many active offers, agreements and sessions you are allowed to have, and also in how many contacts you can store.

Acuity

Acuity is a little differently positioned than the other two.

>>> Who Is It For?

It’s for freelancer and small businesses, who are comfortable with connecting diverse web applications to build their own business systems.

>>> What Can It Do?

Whilst 17Hats and Satori stand out as true business management tools, Acuity’s business model relies on the benefits that automation and integrated systems come with. Acuity provides integrations to several 3rd party services to allow data transfer to CRMs, invoicing or accounting application, for instance. Additionally, it’s in the tool pool of Zapier. Zapier is an integration platform that builds connections to 500+ web applications, and it is one of the major players on the web when it comes to business automation.

There’s a calendar option available, and it syncs with several calendar types (like GoogleCalendar, iCal, etc.). And you also can embed the scheduler into a website to make it easy for clients to pick a date.
Though invoicing is not available within Acuity, integrations exists that connect this tool to Quickbooks and Freshbooks.

Having talked about all these features … I am sorry to tell you that not all of them are available with the free plan.
The free plan is really just something to get started with for appointment scheduling. But with one of the 3 paid plans ($10, $19, $34) you can begin to explore the features that make this tool noteworthy.

Some Final Words

So, which business management tool should you choose now?

I feel it all depends on how comfortable you are with technology.

Whilst Acuity’s strength pay out only when it is connected to other web applications, you need to be comfortable with getting your hands dirty and dive into the messy part of automating your systems.

17Hats and Satori are real business management tools. They hit the nerve of what a less tech-savvy clientele is looking for, and I assume there will be some developments in the next years. Either will they add new features, or, there will be other vendors showing up with competitive business management solutions.

These tools hit the nerve of what a less tech-savvy clientele is looking for: Click To Tweet

To me, it looks as if Satori’s calendar scheduling features are superior.
But if the availability of multiple payment providers or a well-working mobile app is of significance for you, then 17Hats is the one you should try out first.

Please let me know in the comment section below, what features are most important for your business, and if you are using one of these tools already to streamline your tasks. Also, if you have some secret tip about a tool that could be relevant for the freelancer community, you are more than welcome to share it here!

Maybe you are already aware of the pressing need to streamline some of your business processes. Every growing business goes through this phase of struggle and missing critical pieces. Sometimes, when you hear people talking about their software and what they use to automate their businesses, you wonder what's best for you. There are so many tools becoming available all the time. And it is difficult to evaluate whether the software you are using is really serving your business.

 

I am now offering a custom designed program called the Silver Tech Package. It is a service that is designed for the specific needs of growing online businesses. If you need someone who not only understands the struggle of small online businesses and the technology they need but who is also able to implement and execute the work, drop me a line.

 

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