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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

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        Last Updated on February 15, 2019

        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

        Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

        Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

        Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

        So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

        Joe’s Goals

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          Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

          Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

          Daytum

            Daytum

            is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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            Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

            Excel or Numbers

              If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

              What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

              Evernote

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                I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                Access or Bento

                  If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                  Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                  You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                  Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                  All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                  Conclusion

                  I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                  What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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