The Best CRM & Business Management Platforms For Creatives & Small Businesses

October 6, 2021

When you first start out as a small business owner, it can be easy to fall into the habit of trying to do it all. From daily operations to sales, to everything in between, implementing a CRM or Business Management Platform can be a game-changer for your business (and your sanity!)

We often get asked by our clients what our favorite CRM system is and what we recommend for them. Quite frankly, it really depends on your needs. We’ve been through a lot: Hubspot, Active Campaign, and the like, searching for a platform that is affordable and helps automate tasks as much as possible while keeping us organized and on top of client communication. 

The Difference Between a CRM and Business Management Platform

CRM stands for Client Relationship Management. The main focus of CRM systems is client/customer relationship management. The truth is, if you are a small business without a sales team and are not constantly juggling handfuls of clients, prospects, and leads at a time, you may be more interested in a Business Management Platform. 

A Business Management Platform is intended to help you manage multiple aspects of your business better. These aspects include client relations, financial goals, document signing and management, lead capturing, project management, and more depending on the platform. 

Depending on your needs, a CRM can help you manage your business beyond simply client relations. The goal of choosing the right CRM for you is to help your business be more efficient as well as anything else that you might find to be helpful! All CRMs and Business Management Platforms are slightly different and offer value for different goals. Considering this as well as pricing, tools, and additional details can help you determine which is the right option for you!

Join us as we detail a few of our top picks for small businesses, solopreneurs, and creatives! 


If you’ve looked into CRMs before, you may have heard of Dubsado. Dubsado is actually a business management platform and…full disclaimer, we use Dubsado here at The Mug and we LOVE it! 

Dubsado is a great option for service-based businesses since it offers tools to help small businesses manage client relationships, project timelines, and implement automation, among many other things. It’s perfect for the small business owner looking for a fairly comprehensive software solution that will help them gain, capture and manage leads as well as follow leads all the way through a workflow. 

Pricing and plans are fairly binary, with minimal options (monthly or annual). However, you can start with a free trial to see if it would be a wise investment for your business.


Similar to Dubsado, Honeybook is a comprehensive business management software that helps small businesses manage their leads, clients, projects, and invoicing. With Honeybook, you can create lead capturing systems, canned emails, inquiry forms, and invoices. It really is a one-stop-shop for the right business!

Honeybook does everything that Dubsado can do and the two options are very similar. Honeybook’s payment and invoicing process are all handled within the platform, which can be easier for clients to navigate. If you operate a highly collaborative business, Honeybook might be for you! Proponents of Honeybook praise the ease of collaboration within the software. 

Another key factor in the decision-making process might be pricing. Honeybook does offer more pricing options than Dubsado as well as a free trial to test the waters!

At first glance, you might not consider Monday to be a top CRM. It comes across as more of a project management tool than a client or customer management tool.

However, it really depends on your business goals and needs. In our opinion, no one does project management and collaboration like Monday! This software will help you streamline your projects and track your workflows. We use in addition to Dubsado to help keep us on track with our daily deliverables and project goals. 

More than anything, Monday is super customizable and can be used in SO many different ways. Monday can be more cost-conscious as there are more pricing options and flexibility for businesses of all sizes.

We hope we’ve helped to get you thinking about what you might need from a CRM or Business Management Platform. If you have any questions about which platform may be right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out!

The Best CRM & Business Management Platforms For Creatives & Small Businesses By The Mug Creative

By: The Mug Creative

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