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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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        40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

        40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

        Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

        There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

        Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

        It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

        Productivity apps to help you get things done

        1. OmniFocus

        This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

        Download it here.

          2. Forest

          Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

          Download it here.

            3. Things

            Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

            Download it here.

              4. 30/30

              Recently covered here at Lifehack

              , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

              Download it here.

                5. Any.Do

                A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                Download it here.

                  6. PocketLife Calendar

                  This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                  Download it here.

                    7. Asana

                    We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                    , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                    Download it here.

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                      8. ToDoist

                      This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                      Download it here.

                        9. FlowTasks

                        From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                        Download it here.

                          10. Calendars 5

                          This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                          Download it here.

                            11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                            A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                            Download it here.

                              12. Due

                              A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                              Download it here.

                                13. Checkmark 2

                                I use this app

                                for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                Download it here.

                                  14. TeuxDeux

                                  Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                  Download it here.

                                    15. Wunderlist 

                                    Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                    Download it here.

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                                      16. Nirvana

                                      For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                      Download it here.

                                        17. Priorities

                                        An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                        Download it here.

                                          Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                          18. Productive

                                          With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                          Download it here.

                                            19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                            You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                            Download it here.

                                              20. Streaks

                                              This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                              Download it here.

                                                21. Remember The Milk

                                                Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  22. Day One Journal

                                                  When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                    23. Evernote

                                                    Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      24. Pocket

                                                      You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                      Download it here.

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                                                        25. Sync.Me

                                                        This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          26. Droplr

                                                          One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            27. Dropbox

                                                            Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              28. iDolly 

                                                              In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                              Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                29. Soulver

                                                                It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                                  30. Captio

                                                                  A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    31. Drafts

                                                                    A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                      This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                      Download it here.

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                                                                        33. Doodle

                                                                        This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                          I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                            A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              36. GoodReader

                                                                              This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                37. LogMeIn

                                                                                Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                                  38. 1Password

                                                                                  There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                    You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                    All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      40. Truecallers

                                                                                      Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                        Reference

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