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10 Must-Have Apps for Startups and Small Businesses

10 Must-Have Apps for Startups and Small Businesses
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Running a startup or small business can be costly and hectic, but today’s apps can help save entrepreneurs time and money. Download these apps to make living the entrepreneurial life a little easier:

Rescue Time

This time management app runs in the background of your computer and mobile devices to track activity on websites and applications. At the end of each day, users are sent a report with a snapshot of how their time was spent. Entrepreneurs will be able to better manage their days knowing what activities are taking the most time. Sounds perfect, right? The only downside to this miracle app is it is not yet available for iPhones.

rescue time app

    Mobile Day

    This app eliminates the frustration that comes with having to access your Outlook calendar and type in a 10-digit number for a conference call while trying to rush out the door to catch a flight. Mobile Day syncs with your phone’s calendar and provides one-touch access to any conference call or online meeting you have scheduled.

    Running behind? This app also allows you to easily text or email all attendees when you’re a few minutes late.

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    mobile day app

      Slack

      Pick up the slack with the Slack messaging app. Each conversation can be organized into channels that can be defined by the user. Whether you want to split up the channels by project team, department, or another way is up to you.

      Not only does this useful app allow for instant messaging, it also integrates with other apps such as Twitter, Google Hangouts and MailChimp to keep your conversations all in one place. These notifications can be assigned to appear in whatever channel you choose. For example, create a channel with your marketing director and assign Twitter notifications to appear here so both of you are aware when your company receives a retweet, mention or direct message.

      slack app

        LogMeInPro

        Traveling entrepreneurs have a new best friend with the LogMeIn Pro app. This app gives you fast and easy access to your PC or Mac from your browser, desktop or mobile device. Using the app, entrepreneurs can access files or applications stored on a PC or Mac from anywhere.

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        logmein app

          Humin

          As an entrepreneur, you probably know networking is essential to growing a business. But are you really expected to remember everyone you meet? Not with the Humin app. This revolutionary app combines contacts from your mobile device and social media accounts with your calendar, email and voicemail to provide context to the contacts in your phone. After this information is brought together, you can use a Google-like search feature to sift through contacts.

          What was the name of the person you met last Wednesday night? Ask Humin.

          Know someone who works at Apple? Humin does.

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          humin app

            Mint                    

            An essential app for any small or growing business, Mint brings financial management to entrepreneurs’ fingertips. This app compiles all financial accounts into one spot to provide a quick overview for business owners. Each transaction can be categorized so entrepreneurs can track expenses, revenue and monthly spending with a simple visual chart. The bill pay reminder feature is an added bonus for on-the-go (and forgetful) entrepreneurs.

            mint app

              Perka

              Brick and mortar store? Perka is a must-have for your business. Don’t force your customers to carry around a dingy paper punch card to prove their loyalty! Perka brings these old-fashioned reward cards into the digital age. Customers simply log-in to the app and check-in to your location, which will allow their account to show up in your system. When the customer is ready to make a purchase, all he or she has to do is tell you the first name the account is under in the system. No hole puncher required.

              perka app

                Asana

                Yoga practitioners may recognize the word asana as a pose or posture, but entrepreneurs will now associate it with one word: efficiency. This project management app works great for organizing tasks for small businesses. Each user can create to-do lists and assign tasks to others with due dates, relevant files and detailed notes. Users have the capability to comment on or add subtasks to lists, eliminating the need for incessant back and forth emails.

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                asana app

                  Pocket

                  How many times have you scrolled through a newsfeed and reminded yourself to come back and read an article later? How many times have you actually remembered to do so? Chances are, even if you did, it would be difficult to relocate the article.

                  With Pocket, busy entrepreneurs can stay up-to-date with current events, industry news, and that funny video your best friend sent. Using this app, you can quickly bookmark articles, work documents, videos, or photos with ease and revisit them later at your convenience.

                  pocket app

                    Unroll.me

                    Tired of sifting through holiday sales, 20% off coupons, or social media notification emails to get to the ones that really matter? Busy entrepreneurs and small-business owners should not be tied down with cleaning out a cluttered inbox.

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                    With the Unroll.me app, users can unsubscribe from aggravating email lists with one click instead of having to open each individual email and go on a scavenger hunt to find the microscopic “unsubscribe” text. Unroll.me goes one step further and combines the email lists you decide to keep into one daily digest.

                    Which apps for startups and small businesses do you use? Did your favorite make the list? Tell us in the comments below!

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                    Joel Goldstein

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                    Published on July 27, 2021

                    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

                    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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                    During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

                    But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

                    Put the Pro in Professional

                    After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

                    1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

                    The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

                    Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

                    2. Dress the Part

                    While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

                    Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

                    For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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                    Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

                    3. Stage Your Workspace

                    Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

                    Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

                    4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

                    Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

                    Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

                    Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

                    Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

                    5. Arrive on Time

                    In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

                    Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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                    6. Turn on Your Video

                    Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

                    If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

                    Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

                    7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

                    Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

                    Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

                    Attend to the Pesky Details

                    8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

                    With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

                    Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

                    9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

                    Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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                    Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

                    10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

                    As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

                    Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

                    Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

                    Talking Has a Time and a Place

                    11. Chat Appropriately

                    Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

                    At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

                    12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

                    The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

                    Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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                    13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

                    In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

                    Manage Yourself

                    14. Minimize Distractions

                    While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

                    Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

                    15. Save Snacking for Later

                    Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

                    However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

                    Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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