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7 Essential Tools Every Serious Startup Needs

7 Essential Tools Every Serious Startup Needs

Being an ideology for the new age, the startup practice has already endowed so many with the means, expertise and experience necessary for thriving in the ever-changing climate of the business world. So far, this practice has been fuelled by great networking potentials, intellectual freedom and state-of-the-art tools, all of which came as hugely beneficial aftereffects of the rapid digitalization.

Once opened, such countless possibilities have allowed us to think more inventively, act more bravely and succeed more easily. In the modern world powered by internet and technology, starting up has never been less arduous – all that is needed is a reliable toolkit and a bit of courage. Here’s what to seek and where to find it.

1. Let There Be An Idea!

Assume you’ve already spent a lot of your time trying to come up with the next big thing that will launch you straight to the top. Yet, instead of the sudden strokes of ingenuity, you’ve been wasting away your brainstorming sessions by beating around the bush. All along, that brilliant business idea has remained on the tip of your tongue, but you still cannot seem to define it. Although frustration can be a strong motivator, there’s no harm in seeking assistance – when a creative mind fails, idea generators come to the rescue.

Even though not intuitive enough to promise an unfailing success story, startup idea generators can do a nice job of crystallising your thoughts, discarding bad notions and helping you choose between a number of viable projects. And once the most promising one has been pinpointed, business name generators like Brandings, Names4Brands and FreshBooks will help you shape it all up and get it ready for the big launch.

2. Analyse First, Act Later

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    There’s no foolproof business plan without performing thorough market research. Everything from marketing strategies to competitive positioning hugely depends on the unique conditions your niche is currently being subjected to, which is why getting familiar with, evaluating and analysing customer habits, field competition and latest business trends is absolutely paramount. Besides, the today’s market is mostly data-driven, and your startup is pretty unlikely to succeed without actionable information.

    To keep the odds in your favour, you’ll need all possible facts, particulars and statistics you can find. Luckily, tools like Think With Google’s Marketer’s Almanac, Nielsen’s MyBestSegments and SurveyMonkey offer much-needed insights on how modern customers browse and buy, provide data necessary for major business decisions, allow greater understanding of targeted demographics and their lifestyles and survey both market and customer preferences.

    3. Spread the Word (Digitally)

    Although businesses are still adjusting to the prevailing automation, advertising is one niche that is already entirely online. In consequence, little can be achieved, marketing-wise, without some serious digital campaigning. Social mingling and blogging, audience engagement and content creation are at the very core of today’s advertising strategies; however effective, these techniques require plenty of time and creativity. Being a philosophy of its own, digital marketing demands a little more than an online presence.

    Nothing has significantly changed since Bill Gates declared content a king way back, and SEO is definitely still one of the most potent strategies for getting noticeable in the online environment. To make the best of your optimization efforts, try Answer The Public or Screaming Fog. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, on the other hand, are brilliant for getting your social media campaigns up and running.

    4. Get Your Work Flowing

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      Long ago in the pioneer times, which is how we now call the pre-internet era, hard-working people needed to rely on paper-based planners in order to stay on top of their to-do lists and daily commitments. Although productivity methods have notably changed, a flawless workflow management process is still a prerequisite for running a successful business. Efficient organisation is therefore a necessity for those looking for a structural support sturdy enough to manage both the bigger picture and its little details.

      If in need of a productivity boost, you’ll certainly get it with Toggle, SaneBox or Trello. Whether by saving time, sorting out the emails or reminding of the scheduled tasks, all of them provide virtual assistance and organizational support crucial for making the best of your working hours. Consider it as a clever delegation of assignments – instead of depending on sticky notes to keep you on track of all that’s coming up or due soon, you’ll have a smart and intuitive helper to categorize and outline all of your tasks on a daily basis.

      5. Plan, Manage & Track

      Just like business planning, project management is a long and intricate process with an infinite number of little tasks, but it has a nasty habit of not coming through exactly as imagined. Ultimately, the first is being written and developed by a small circle of startup founders and partners, while the later implies flawless communication within a team.

      As such, project management cannot thrive without an efficient division of labour, knowledge and skills, as well as the organizational method that ties all of these elements into a well-oiled machine with a common objective. Due to its overwhelming complexity, this process may just be in the greatest need of automation.

      For businesses in development, project management tools like the aforementioned Trello, Asana and Basecamp are absolutely essential.

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      Not only will they provide a platform for effortless and comprehensive project planning, help managers with assignment delegation and assist team members in managing their schedules, but they also offer greater visibility and transparency for all parties involved, thus making the process significantly easier and more trackable, all while synchronizing the workflow both within individual teams and at the interdepartmental level.

      6. Nurture Your Relationships

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        While market research helps aspiring entrepreneurs detect patterns in customer’s purchasing habits, customer relation management has a responsible task of identifying and pursuing quality leads, converting them into buying customers and, most importantly, retaining the clientele by keeping it happy and satisfied.

        More than anything else, a unique customer experience is considered a differentiating factor in the saturated marketplace; once the audience is compelled to engage with a brand, everything needed for a long-lasting and profitable customer satisfaction is an efficient managing system.

        It goes without saying that choosing a software system is important, because this one is not an easy feat. For startups particularly, Pipedrive, Hubspot and Vtiger are all equally proficient at tracking leads and closing sales, gathering and analysing data that promises more focused marketing efforts, increasing productivity and coordination, providing sturdier administrative support, and consequently, improving the overall customer service and experience.

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        7. Keep Your Books in Order

        Now, imagine a successful company that, digitalisation or not, has got each of these aspects of business operation neatly arranged and smoothly functioning. No matter its size or phase of development, a thriving business is always in great financial risk if lacking a dependable bookkeeping structure.

        And when it comes to startups, the budgeting issue is even more problematic – faced with little material resources for commencing their corporate endeavour in the first place, startups are in great need of getting properly endorsed for all of their efforts. Financial management is, thereby, a key element for any business growth whatsoever.

        Quick and effortless invoice tracking, daily updates of payment statuses, as well as transparent visualisation of real-time incomes, expenses and profits are all included within the best financial management tools like Salesforce Invoice and Payment Platform, BodeTree and Shoeboxed.

        Apart from turning all of your startup paper clutter into organized, easy to read and mobile accessible data and reports, these platforms are money-saving solutions by themselves, since they provide an accurate and reliable substitution for an entire accounting team.

        Starting a business is hard; even with enough resources, aspiring companies are faced with developmental and management challenges that are sometimes too daunting to overcome. When supported by an unfailing, dependable and user-friendly structure, which is something online tools certainly provide, startups are one step closer to accomplishment.

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        Djordje Todorovic

        Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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        Published on November 9, 2018

        How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

        How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

        Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

        Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

        So, are you ready? Here we begin.

        6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

        When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

        1. Spreadsheets and Databases

        Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

        To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

        In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

        • Microsoft Excel
        • Microsoft Access
        • Statistics
        • Data Analytics
        • Adobe Campaign
        • Quickbooks
        • XML Database management system
        • Filemaker Pro
        • MATLAB
        • Hive
        • FORTRAN
        • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
        • SAS

        2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

        Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

        Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

        • Content Management System (CMS)
        • Google Analytics
        • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
        • Email Marketing
        • Web Page Design
        • WordPress
        • Digital Media
        • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
        • Campaign Management Software

        3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

        A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

        • Adobe Photoshop
        • Adobe InDesign
        • Adobe Illustrator
        • AutoCAD
        • CorelDRAW
        • Microsoft Visual Studio
        • Maya
        • Microsoft Word
        • Microsoft Publisher
        • Operating Digital Cameras

        4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

        The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

        To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

        • HTML
        • C/C++
        • Java
        • Python
        • XML
        • UI/UX
        • LINUX
        • CISC and RISC architecture
        • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
        • Memory Management
        • PCB Layout
        • SQL

        5. IT Troubleshooting

        Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

        So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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        • Backup management
        • Diagnostics
        • End User support
        • Client-Server management
        • Installation and configuration
        • Issue tracking system (ITS)
        • System administration
        • Tech support

        6. Enterprise Systems

        Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

        Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

        The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

        Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

        Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

        Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

        1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

        a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

        Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

        Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

        b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

        This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

        c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

        Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

        Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

        2. Rule the Social Media World

        a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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        Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

        From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

        b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

        This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

        c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

        Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

        Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

        3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

        a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

        From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

        b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

        Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

        The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

        c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

        The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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        4. Live and Breathe Creativity

        a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

        It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

        From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

        b. Canva Design School

        From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

        c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

        62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

        d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

        The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

        Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

        5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

        a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

        IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

        It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

        b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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        The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

        Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

        The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

        • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
        • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
        • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
        • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
        • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
        • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
        • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

        Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

        Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

        1. Practice, Practice, Practice

        It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

        Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

        2. Work on Your Efficiency

        Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

        For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

        3. Look for Shortcuts

        Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

        4. Apply for an Internship

        Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

        By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

        How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

        The Bottom Line

        Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

        So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

        Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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