While working on your own provides the flexibility and freedom so many modern workers crave, it also requires an increased effort to stay on top of everything. Being an entrepreneur means that you handle all tasks yourself, from balancing the checkbooks to managing daily customer communication and everything in between. Luckily, increases in modern business technology have made organizing business matters simpler than ever for entrepreneurs. These resources were created by professionals who have relevant experience and know what their fellow self-employed individuals struggle with every day. It’s because of this relevance that these tools help so much. If you’re wondering what tools you should be using as an entrepreneur, reference this list as a starting point for making your life easier and more organized.
As an entrepreneur, it’s more important than ever before to stay on top of your projects. To help yourself with the organization of tasks, turn to this project management tool to do the heavy lifting for you. Asana works with tasks, projects, conversations and dashboards to make teamwork simple. Assign yourself and others actionable tasks, provide comments on other people’s actions and track progress all within this tool to ensure everyone is on the same track.
To stay on top of your emails, download this email add-on, which informs you when someone has opened an email you sent. It also tells you when, how many times, and from where geographically the recipient opened your message. This knowledge can be extremely helpful when doing a round of mass emailing, trying out a new marketing campaign or trying to track a newsletter. After all, knowledge is power, so use this tool to observe your recipients’ behaviors and implement them for future campaigns.
When you work on your own, staying focused relies fully on your own drive. If you find the internet to be distracting, use this homepage replacement app to kickstart your day. This app works by greeting you by name with a personalized quote and image, not only to inspire you, but also to avoid distractions such as news reports, advertisements or social media posts. While it may seem like a simple addition to your ever-growing list of apps, this can make a big difference in your everyday workflow by cutting down on wasted time browsing the internet.
To make organizing your hard drive and sharing documents simpler, consider using a productivity tool like this one. This way, you can access your stored files on any device and from any location with an internet connection, allowing you to conduct business on the go. Another added benefit of this tool is the second backup of all of your files in the case that information ever becomes compromised.
One overlooked, but extremely important, aspect of running your own business is keeping your data safe. While you may think it’s more common for larger, established businesses to fall victim to cyber attacks, it is actually just as likely for a small business’ information to be compromised. To keep your data secure, rely on a unified threat management solution to protect your entire database from advanced threats.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to communicate with others on a regular basis, whether you hire contract workers or share ideas with a group of local masterminds. Slack is an impressively smooth chat tool that allows you to create public channels for different topics, groups or projects along with private conversations as well. You can use this platform to share files as well as easily find messages, notifications and files across all devices.
Hiring an outside graphic designer can be expensive if not completely out-of-budget for entrepreneurs, so utilizing a graphic design tool to help you do it yourself can be a huge relief. Use Canva to create artwork for your website, reports or newsletters with their free drag-and-drop design feature with millions of graphics, fonts and photos to choose from.
As an entrepreneur, keeping customers happy is crucial for your success, but it can be challenging to answer every request on your own. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and interrupted by your customers’ needs, utilize a cloud contact center to manage customer engagements. The capabilities within this tool, such as web callback, allow you to schedule customer calls when you’re available without putting them on hold.
Keep track of your estimating, invoicing and collections better with this payment solution tool, which can help you get paid faster! The platform offers a full suite of tools, including estimate and invoicing templates, reports, a database for client and project information, automated reminders and acknowledgments, integration with Basecamp, and various payment methods.
10. Google Now
To avoid memorizing every little item on your calendar, consider staying organized with a virtual personal assistant. Connect your phone to your Google account to start getting notifications for when to leave for appointments from your calendar, inform you if your flights are delayed or canceled, and even update you onnew articles on websites you visit frequently. These reminders can help you focus more on the tasks at hand, rather than any distractions that scheduling can cause.
Build up your client database and meet other entrepreneurs naturally by attending conferences, both in your area or at a specified destination. To find where these conferences are located and and what each one specializes in, utilize a conference search engine. Peruse through a variety of different types of conferences to see which size, theme or focus area fits your needs best.
12. HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
If you’re an entrepreneur, you may especially find it challenging to both get your name buzzing in articles throughout the internet and write enough content to keep your blog fresh. Rather than spending a lot of time seeking out authors and pitching them a topic, let them come to you. Help a Reporter Out’s daily emails pop up in your inbox full of requests from reporters seeking quotes, information or experts to be quoted within their articles. Respond to all relevant queries to take advantage of the potentially free publicity for your business.
Even though you may be working alone, you likely will collaborate with others or have to answer customer questions regularly. Often times, answering these questions will require you to give a visual explanation, but that isn’t always possible when you work in physically different locations. To mitigate this problem, use this free screen sharing software to show others what you are looking at, conduct demonstrations and cede control of your mouse to one another for collaboration purposes.
It’s no secret that all businesses nowadays need a website to be successful. It can be expensive to hire a third party to create this site for you, so if your website needs are basic, consider creating your own with a free website builder. This way, you can get your business venture up and running with a full-featured, mobile-friendly site and keep your budget intact as well. If you find that your website needs to expand as your business grows, opt at that point for a paid web hosting service instead.
Since you never know how much you need your data until it’s gone, opt to keep your documents safe from being deleted by installing automated backup software. Make the process easier by setting this software up and letting it do the work for you. The wizard-driven interface allows you to back up your entire computer, manage partitions and select files and folders stored on multiple devices.
While it may be difficult to stay on top of emails and send follow-ups to potential clients, this automated email tool can alleviate many of the challenges that come with mass-email campaigns. Utilize the web forms, pop-ups, automated follow-up and list building tools to keep your business in communication with customers and clients seamlessly.
17. Google Analytics
Just as important as getting your website up and running, analyzing how your customers are interacting with your site is needed to ensure your online presence is as efficient and helpful as possible. To easily do this, use this analytics tool to give you a broad overview or deeper dive into what your customer base really is, what pages they’re visiting on your site, what is turning them away and how to optimize these data points for more conversions.
When you’re looking to connect with other startup entrepreneurs, this powerful networking platform is the place to turn to. You can also use it for building an audience, targeted recruiting, networking and gaining direct access to angel investors. A few tips for success using this tool are making sure you’ve polished up your profile and are publishing to your feed on a regular basis. This not only gives you the ability to find others, but also helps others find you based on mutual connections, interests, experience or business sectors.
If your business venture involves selling a product, either online or in person, this e-commerce platform could help you maximize your potential. This tool makes it simple to sell your physical products on various channels with only a few clicks. These channels include Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, and eBay, and are sure to get your brand out there and in the shopping carts of consumers from all over.
As the person who handles all aspects of your business, entrepreneurs need to remember a lot of things—passwords for all of these tools included. Luckily, there are password manager tools that store all of your passwords for you, so you can not only save time while signing in, but also diversify and improve your password quality. You can also store credit card and other personal information to make all online interactions quicker.