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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 September 20, 2018

        11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

        11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

        In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

        Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

        In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

        Minimizing Tabs

        Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

        Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

        Incognito Mode

        Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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        1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
        2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
        3. Download extension New Incognito Window

        This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

        Save Webpages as PDF Files

        Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

        Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

        Open Recently-closed Tabs

        Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

        One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

        The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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        Solve Mathematical Problems

        Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

        For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

        Play Media Files

        Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

        In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

        Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

        With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

        Stay Focus(e)d

        Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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        Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

        With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

        This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

        Grammarly for Editing

        Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

        You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

        Loom

        There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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        There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

        With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

        Chrome Calendar Extension

        No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

        Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

        Final Thoughts

        Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

        Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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