As an entrepreneur, I have realised that a team’s productivity lies in the utilisation of its time and resources most effectively. Especially, if you are commencing a small business, it becomes highly important that time management and team management remains top of the chart for us to perform optimally and meritoriously. When I started off as an entrepreneur, I realised that a lot of responsibilities from hiring employees, managing teams, marketing the brand and dealing with finances fell on my platter to handle immediately. Having to juggle with all these responsibilities was not only daunting but stressful as well.
Working together on a schedule with the help of some useful tools, helped me manage my business better and brought the team together working on similar timelines and schedules thereby improving the productivity and saving time to deliver more.
With the diversity in the business world presently, there is an increasing change in the way that we conduct business and communicate with our teams. With the dynamic work environment, setting up an agile work and time management solution becomes necessary. By taking advantage of some the new and innovative tools, one can become a more efficient, productive and successful entrepreneur. Even though some of the tools mentioned here may have been used sparingly by me for my business, but I know for a fact that if they can work for me, they can for sure work for you as well.
- Startup Launch List is a simple yet resourceful tool wherein you can select what you want to learn about launching a startup and it will curate resources for you like articles and reading material written by founders, designers, investors and thought leaders.
- Google Primer is a fast and easy way to learn new marketing skills. You can easily take small-sized lessons that help you either brush up on the basics or help you explore more. Each lesson at the end throws in some personalised next steps that are customised for your requirement.
- Howww.to is a unique website that teaches you coding, designing, and marketing by using GIF courses that are merely 5 seconds and helps you learn the basic skills faster than any online course can offer.
- Coursera offers you courses on marketing, machine learning, entrepreneurship, etc. that has been curated by top instructors from some of the best universities. The certified courses include recorded video lectures, assignments and community discussed forums. From specialisations to online degrees, the website offers it all.
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- Wunderlist is an excellent tool to plan for tasks to-do and assigns them to your peers. It sets reminders so you don’t miss out on an event. You can also share your lists with colleagues on the work that you are collaborating on. It can be accessed from any device and makes it easy to use for everyone. Works great for personal use too!
- Toggl is a time-tracking tool that is built for speed and is easy to use. It allows you to check the amount of time an individual team member spends on different projects that categorises and creates reports by project, client, week and/or day. It lets you identify sources of workplace distraction and unprofitable projects thereby offering you to focus on utilising your time better on the more profitable ones.
- Freedom.to disables internet, social media and other applications that gobble up your valuable working time by distracting. This solution allows you to schedule your time in advance so that you can produce more in the time you allot.
- Nutcache is an all-inclusive, collaborative project-management tool that integrates time tracking, expense management and invoicing. It helps you and your team to organise, track and deliver in a timely fashion and within the budgets allocated.
- Launchy is a free utility that allows you to launch your files, folders, documents and bookmarks with just a few clicks effortlessly. It indexes the programs in your start menu and launches your documents easily.
- Remember the Milk is an online task-management tool that helps you work effectively with the help of a to-do list. It also allows you to share tasks with your teams and assign them tasks accordingly. Evernote and Google Calendar can also be linked to this tool for better results.
- Slack makes your communications with your teams very effective and right on time. No need to send lengthy e-mails and wait for a response. You can use slack live and chat/message without any waste of time. Everything that is work related is organized in one place for team members to access through the search option It is integrated with other useful tools like twitter and mailchimp to ensure you can swiftly toggle from one platform to another.
- Evernote creates a project to-do list or notes that saves all your notes on the cloud and syncs them across your devices. You can also record pictures and sketches to share with teams. It’s a great tool for teams because it lets you easily share work notes with your team.
- Freedcamp is a digital version of staying organized by writing up to-do lists or creating sticky notes. You can also create milestones or events on your calendar so you don’t miss out on a thing. Also, use this for issuing trackers, sending estimates & creating invoices, creating feature rich documents with multiple versions and turning projects into templates for future reference.
- Github offers a fast, flexible and collaborative software development process that allows you to work efficiently with your team and other developers. It offers secure development for small and large companies and you can easily work on code or track bugs on a single integrated platform.
- Dropbox is a secure file sharing and storage platform while maintaining complete control over the shared information and the activities involved. Your teams can download the required information or share it on the platform with complete ease.
- Streak is a simple CRM plugin for Gmail to manage and share your sales leads thereby making it simple for everyday processes to be managed in the smartest of ways.
- Basecamp is a simple and organised way to manage projects and communicate the same with your teams by organising it all in one place so you have a central source for all your data and details.
- Stormboard is a collaborating platform where ideas and discussions can be changed into digital sticky notes for remote brainstorming and workshops. Since it is real-time therefore everyone can see what is on the stormboard and easily add ideas and comments.
- Meldium is a team password sharing and management platform that makes it easy for everyone to access applications from one home screen.
- FreePik offers a whole range of pictures that you do not have to purchase for personal or commercial use. The designs are prepared and created by a team of designers and you can edit the vectors as per your requirement. This is simply the best thing for designing your own pictures.
- FlatIcon is an extension tool of Freepik where you can find thousands of free modern flat icons for your website here. Its free and easy to use. You can also go premium if designing is one of the essentials of your business.
- Canva is an easy-to-use online graphic designing tool. It is easy to design a logo, poster, or social media post quickly and you can even add your team to use it. With various ready templates, it is easy to create a personalized combination as well. You can create flyers, brochures, social media images and infographics all for free!
- Pablo. With over 15000+ images at Pablo, you can design engaging images for social media posts with design images and inspiring quotes on it. With this tool, it is easy to share it on various other social media platforms as well.
- Start Bootstrap has some free themes and templates for quickly building a website for your blog or your company. All the templates are responsive and free and if you are getting to experimental, they have premium templates as well.
- Crate lets you create a group of influencers or competitors and uses that list to compare it to the social graph so that it is easy for you to know the best links that these people use and share. You can add Twitter or Buffer account to Crate and share the best articles which are of relevance to your business and other stakeholders.
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- SumoMe gives you free tools like Sharing, Heat Maps, Listbuilder, Content Analytics, and Free traffic for your website to enable you to grow more traffic, build a following and track your success. Hop on to their website and you would understand how easy it is to associate with it and get quick results.
- Elevio is a 24×7 concierge support for your website that promises to reduce your support tickets by educating your visitor on how to use your website. Additionally, you can integrate and connect to your existing support services as well.
- MailChimp is probably the most popular e-mail marketing tool that allows you to send newsletters and build your email list. It enables you to send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. Building a newsletter is easy with their existing templates.
- Survey Monkey is another very popular tool to create surveys. It is an online survey development cloud-based software as a service company with over 200 survey templates you can choose from. From simple polls to extensive market surveys, it helps you cover almost everything that you need for your business. Also, you can analyze the results in the backend.
- UserVoice helps track and manage the feedback of users and customers thereby leveraging the best suggestions directly from the consumer of your products. This makes it easy for you to focus on what are the areas that need to be stepped up and which areas to improve on.
- Virtual Assistant is a remote worker who helps you with your admin tasks that you can source either through industry referrals or through an agency called Virtual Staff Finder or Zirtual. It is an affordable way to free up time to focus on strategising and growth, along with ensuring that the main operations are getting actioned consistently.
- Google Docs/Google Drive is an online word processor that lets you smartly edit your documents with stylish tools and collaborate with your team on a real-time basis. Google Drive allows you to store all your Google Docs (and any other files) in the one place and syncs all devices with the cloud. It also assists in creating and storing presentations, spreadsheets, design specs and planning and procedural documents.
- Trello is a collaboration tool that works great if you are designing a workflow for a project. It organises your projects into tasks on boards, much like a board with post it notes, which makes tracking your progress easy. Trello informs what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process by assigning action items and inserting automated tasks. With its versatility to move tasks and items around with a minimum of fuss, it allows me to assign color coding to tasks to keep up to speed on how things are progressing.
- Drip is an email management tool that lets you send out marketing emails to targeted groups automatically on a schedule. Even today, it is observed that email is still highly effective in getting people to buy, so the importance of creating and building email lists cannot be underestimated and therefore Drip allows you to customise automated email sequences for specific target markets.
- Buffer is a social media management tool that helps you to share your content as per a schedule for you to increase your followers, engage with your audience and build your brand. You can easily identify which are the social platforms you would want your content to be shared and then add customised content accordingly.
- Hootsuite is a platform for managing social media marketing, all in one place, that enables you to respond and post across all your social profiles in one easy-to-use dashboard quickly. You can also use the analytics function to view how well your social media marketing is doing.
- Spaces is a free logo maker website where a 4-step process lets you create a logo for your company easily. Though it is not a substitute for any other editing software but a basic use logo maker
- Sniply is a powerful tool that allows you to attach an inbound button or call to action into a frame that the article sits inside. Thus, giving you some control of the platform and perpetuating traffic from the non-affiliated content that you share.
- Scraper lets you easily pull content from a web page and export it into an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a perfect way to extract contact information or competitor’s data. Once you have this data, you can use it to create cold-email lists, content topics, and other data-driven marketing tactics.
- Sprout Social is another social media marketing platform which allows you to establish different user roles and delegate tasks to them. It also furnishes social listening functionality that allows you to perform better content topic research and market research by plugging into your key users’ social media interactions.
- Zapier is an online application that allows you to share content easily and quickly across apps that do not have any inbuilt integration. You can get your automated tasks into Trello for further action. It is also easier to share your content/files with you teams for their action on Trello.
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- Google Analytics is a free platform that suits well to any of your analytics needs. It simply gathers which sites to monitor and imply through a tracking code you can get details of all the parameters you would want your site to be analysed on.
- Google Keyword Planner allows you to see how many people are searching relevant terms that you are sharing or are relevant to your business. This can be a very effective tool in increasing online sales and planning for your future marketing endeavours.
- Facebook Ads lets you use the targeting options to compare the approximate size and location of various interests and demographics and helps you drive online sales, increase local sales, promotes your website/application and raises your brand awareness.
Using all these tools together would be tedious, but I can share from my experience that some of them work wonderfully well with my business and has been able to give a boost to my and my team’s productivity. You may want to choose what works best with the kind of startup that you are involved with and then take it forward from there. Nevertheless, it may not be wrong to mention that each of these amazing tools are bound to streamline many of your processes and that surely is a great start.