Technological advances have affected virtually every aspect of our lives. From our relationships to our work and education, tech tools have made a lot of things easier. Today’s entrepreneur has a lot of management, marketing and analytical tasks to handle and there is an astonishing number of useful tools and resources available to help with his business. Entrepreneurs in the past had access to computers, fax machines and printers with only a few applications running on the system. Today, smartphones and the internet have changed how entrepreneurs approach their work. There’s a tool for virtually every aspect of your work to help you be more efficient and productive. Probably the only problem with these tools is that there are so many of them and each platform has tools peculiar to it. But there are still apps that transcend platform for those who need them. This list was put together to help you manage your entrepreneurial tasks more efficiently.
- Organization and note-taking: Today’s entrepreneur has a to-do list or calendar that needs managing. As your to-do list grows, it’s more challenging to keep track of all the tasks that must get done on time. Tools like:
Trello – It has the right balance between flexibility and ease of use, and that’s why you can use the boards and cards to organize everything from your software development backlog to your own personal army of sticky notes and reminders.
For everything from quick note-taking to managing documents,
Evernote: Allows you create notes and sync across all your devices, regardless of platform. Windows, Android and iOS.
Google Docs: As far as document collaboration goes, google docs is the clear winner. You can edit a document and add collaborators to view, comment on and edit the document in real-time. There is no save button, because google docs saves to the cloud as you type. Any document opened on google docs can be edited on any Android or iOS device. Windows PCs will need to edit through a browser, though.
- Storage: The cloud is no doubt the best form of storage for today’s entrepreneur. Being able to access your files, regardless of device and location(as long as there’s an internet connection at your location, that is) instantaneously is the definition of convenience.
Google Drive. It starts you off with 15GB of free online storage, and you can also create documents, spreadsheets, forms and slideshows that are easily shareable with links. You can choose to share files with just team members, only people with the link, or making it public.
Dropbox and iCloud from Apple are other widely-used cloud storage platforms.
This enables today’s entrepreneur to work virtually anywhere, anytime, and easily share data with colleagues and clients while protecting their precious data from hard-drive crashes and loss or damage of devices.
- Social media: Today’s entrepreneurs need no lecture on the benefits of social media to their businesses. These networks have changed the way businesses get in touch with their customers and has given a level playing field to everyone from large companies to startups still trying to get into the market. Facebook, twitter, instagram and linkedin are just a few of the host of platforms that give you access to existing and potential customers.
Platforms like Hootsuite enable you to coordinate your social media activities. Hootsuite allows you to manage all of your social media accounts from one dashboard. There are a few similar services such as Buffer and Social Pilot (and several others). You also get to manage 3 platforms for free, which for most of you may be enough, meaning you can use the entire website and app for zero cost!
- Design: It would be very surprising if any of today’s entrepreneurs whose businesses involve some form of design or the other have not heard of Canva. Even if you’re not currently using it, you must have heard about and tested it at some point. For those not proficient with Photoshop or other complex design platforms, Canva is the best option around. Whether you’re designing posters, Facebook covers, business cards or YouTube thumbnails, it’s easy to use and has great templates with endless possibilities. Other platforms include Piktochart for designing infographics, Squarespace for websites and Wordswag for perfect text layouts on beautiful backgrounds.
- Marketing: Though many people think email is old-school, it’s still an effective marketing tool. This is a proven method today’s entrepreneur can use to reach out to existing customers and get new ones. Mailchimp is one of the best platforms for email marketing. Design beautiful emails, create customer lists and segments, automate welcome emails, view analytics and more. Entrepreneurs can use this and other email services like Constant Contact to send out customized announcements, promotions and e-newsletters with easy-to-use templates.