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20 Smart Tools And Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Use

20 Smart Tools And Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Use

Running a successful business is hard, especially if you don’t have the right tools at hand. Razor sharp time management skills and keeping your productivity levels high are essential when you have a lot on the plate. Don’t forget: Time is Money. If there’s a tool or an app that can help you do things faster, it’s worth paying for. Here are 20 killer tools recommended by entrepreneurs to cater all your needs – from effective social media marketing to sales and networking.

1. Streak (For managing emails)

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    Streak will power up your gmail and turn it into an actual CRM that will channel all your discussions into actions. There are different gmail add-ons available like Streak Sales to track your leads and close the deals faster or Streak Support to deal with urgent customer queries. It’s graphical, intuitive and comes with a free plan for up to 5 users.

    2. Casual (For managing projects)

    Casual 900-600

      A neat new app, re-inventing the way how you manage your projects. Organize all your tasks in a visual flowchart where you can easily track their dependencies, urgency and keep all comments in one place. Casual is extremely easy-to-use, graphically appealing and works great both for personal projects and small team collaborations. You can start using it for free and choose a relevant pricing plan afterwards.

      3. Rapportive (For smart networking)

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        An excellent browser add-on for outreach and networking. Rapportive pulls out all the data associated with a certain email address including all the information from your Linkedin profile, photo and other publicly available contacts like Skype, Twitter and other social media. Start sending better outreach letters today with all the information at hand. And did I mention this browser extension costs nothing?

        4. Slack (For better communication)

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          Slack brings team communication on the next level. With Slack you can create open channels for specific projects with different groups and topics everyone on the team can see and contribute to. You can upload files, add comments, inline images and video, reach link summaries within the discussion and Slack will make sure everything’s neatly organized. All  the data is conveniently searchable, so you won’t miss out on anything important again. The service is free and folks from Buzzfeed and About.me have already been raving about it.

          5. Strikingly (For a quick new website)

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            Yes that’s another new website builder. Yet what makes Strikingly stand out of the crowd is that it’s the best solution for non-coders. You can create a gorgeous mobile-friendly, multi page website in less than an hour. The platform also comes with a simple text editor, page analytics, beautiful site templates and a custom form builder. You can create a website on Strikingly domain for free, yet you’ll need to switch to a paid plan if you’d like to use your personal domain.

            6. Conspire (For fast network expansion)

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              Ever struggled with finding the right way of connect with someone from a higher-league or a well-known company? Conspire has you covered! Set up an account and let the service analyze your network and suggest you the best way to connect with any person or company. You don’t need to search for people who could introduce you or waste time sending emails to the wrong folks at the wrong time. Consipre is free to use. Just sign up and see how you can elevate your network connections.

              7. ZenPayroll (For effective payments)

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                Make sure your team gets paid on time and you don’t need to spend a gazillion of hours for that. ZenPayroll automatically calculates all the taxes, schedules payments and provides your employees with a beautiful paystub where they can see all their bonuses, reimbursements, vacation hours and much more. Moreover, Zen Payroll with generate all the contractor forms at no time and help you create a flexible payment schedule. You can test it for free and purchase a basic plan for just 29$.

                8. Fiverr (For micro-jobs)

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                  Fiverr is like a box of wonders – you can find a huge variety of fun, creative and useful services all sold for just 5$. From banner design to professional voice overs and social media promotion, Fiverr can have you covered at nearly any occasion, so you could have more time to focus on urgent matters. Can’t find a gig you need? You can always request it from the community and someone will show up to do it for you. Fiverr is an essential service for solopreneurs and small businesses with limited budget.

                  9. Zapier (For managing apps)

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                    Zapier is a cool new service to save you loads of time and sanity on organizing and transferring data between all your apps. It’s a powerful app integration service that will sync data sharing between all the apps you use and store it in one place. Currently Zapier supports over 300 apps and you can start using it for free or opt for a paid membership plan that suits your needs.

                    10. Clarity.fm (For professional advice)

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                      Feeling stuck on a certain problem and need an advice from a professional in the same field? That’s pretty much what Clarify is about. It’s a new marketplace that connects entrepreneurs with industry experts who are ready to share their experience and walk you through the problem for a fixed fee. Currently, there are over 30.000 members with some big names like Mark Cuban and Eric Ries who are ready to land you a help hand. Create an account, find an expert, schedule a call at the convenient time and talk everything over for as long as you need.

                      11. Quora (For answers to any question)

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                        What is the formula of a successful product launch? How can I expand my customer base? Where should I look for angel investors? Folks at Quora know it all. The community there is awesome and full of incredible professionals in various areas who are ready to share their experience and advice for free. Before asking your question, make sure you’ve searched the existing ones as Quora has already a ton of valuable knowledge published. Seriously, it’s one of the best sources of business advice you can get for free.

                        12. PeoplePerHour (For amazing freelance workforce)

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                          A smaller freelance marketplace compared to well-known Odesk and Elance, PeoplePerHour, however, has a higher concentration of talents and rock-start professionals. All of them pass a serious verification process before they can join, so there are low chances of running into con artists. PPH also has a huge marketplace of ready-to-buy fixed offers (hourlies) that vary from an hour of accounting work to a full scale online marketing campaign. Hiring and managing a freelance team goes extremely easy with their invoice system and customer protection policy.

                          13. Product Hunt (For hawking on new trends)

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                            Discover cool new products daily and keep an eye on the competition in your niche at the same time. Product Hunt will help you find new productive solutions for your niche, discover possible partners and get instant community feedback on your new product.

                            14. Unroll.me (For keeping Inbox Zero)

                            Unroll.me-Rollup

                              As an entrepreneur you just have to stay in pace with all the industry news and posts from the influencers. However, don’t let your subscriptions flood your inbox. Unroll.me will help you with cleaning your inbox from unnecessary subscriptions. Instead of 20 emails, you’ll receive just one containing organized brief summaries from all the newsletters you read. It will be send at the time you specify just once a day.

                              15. Typeform (For beautiful surveys and forms)

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                                Customers’ feedback is one of the defining factors of your business success. With Typeform you can create appealing survey forms in just a few clicks. Include as many fields as you like, add multiple answers questions and receive detailed reporting and analysis after the forms are filled. Typeform has free and paid plans to choose from depending on your business needs.

                                16. Square (For easy credit card processing)

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                                  If your business is both online and offline, Square is your go-to app for processing credit card payments. It turns your device into an instant credit card terminal to conduct all the payments. The app is free, but you do pay a 2.75 percent fee for processing with every transaction. Square works with cards issued by most US, Canada and Japanese banks. Currently available for iOS only.

                                  17. MailChimp (For crafting newsletters)

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                                    Email marketing is among the most powerful techniques nowadays to drive sales and traffic for an online business. With Malchimp you can create customized subscribe forms, beautiful newsletters to funnel your sales or announce special deals, plus track opens, click rates and conversions. The service is free to use with paid plans available for advanced features.

                                    18. Mention (For monitoring your brand)

                                    Mention-Social-Monitoring-Tool

                                      Never miss another mention of you brand on the web with Mention. It’s a simple tool that will send you alerts each time someone publishes a few good words about your company or talks about it on social media. Interacting and responding to your customers is the best strategy to turn them into lifelong fans and your brand promoters. Help the buzz grow and reply on time! The service offers a free 14 days trial and an array of paid plans to suit your needs.

                                      19. LucidCharts (For creating visual components)

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                                        Create appealing diagrams to illustrate your points and cater project management needs. LucidCharts are easy-to-use, comparable with most programs including Google apps and available in numerous formats for exporting. Besides, with this service you can create website and app mock-ups, flowcharts, org charts and much more. All the visuals you create can be shared instantly via email or social media, printed out as high-quality PDF or JPEG images. You can test it out for free and sign up for a paid plan afterwards.

                                        20. Hootsuite (For effective social media management)

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                                          Hootsuite is the ultimate helper for busy entrepreneurs who still want to stay active on social media. Link all your accounts, schedule all updates, track brand mentions and interact with your audience without spending the whole day for that. Hootsuite also offers detailed analytics insights and social marketing assistance from their professionals. You can opt for a free or pro plan depending on how much traffic and sales you drive through social channels.

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                                          Elena Prokopets

                                          Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                                          Last Updated on January 24, 2020

                                          10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                                          10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                                          Habits are behaviors and patterns that you showcase by default. They enable you to carry out crucial activities like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting prepared for work.

                                          Interestingly, you follow this routine every day without considering them. Your unconscious habits create room for your brain to perform more advanced activities like problem-solving and choosing what book to read.

                                          Everyone has habits, and several of those habits are activated every day. I would classify them into three groups:

                                          • The first category includes the habits that you hardly notice as they have become a major part of your life- such as brushing teeth or wearing clothes.
                                          • The second category comprises good habits to have to be more successful-like eating healthily, exercising your body and reading books.
                                          • The last group consists of those habits that are harmful-like procrastinating, smoking or overeating.

                                          Habits are fundamental to becoming successful in life — or probably ending up a failure. Yet, as significant as habits are, some lack the knowledge of their capabilities.

                                          Habits are default activities that you engage in without giving an afterthought. They are automatic behavioral or mental activities. They help you carry out some actions without exerting too much energy. They simplify your life.

                                          Several people aspire to break bad habits. For instance, some people diet to stop overeating. They exercise to reduce obesity. Habits can hinder or impact your performance and productivity.

                                          That’s why I would share 10 good habits to have to be more successful in life.

                                          1. Begin Your Day with Meditation

                                          I recommend mindful meditation early in the morning. This practice helps you to be in the present moment. Consequently, it enables you to be mindful of challenging situations during the day.

                                          Different stressors may trigger as you go through the day; meditation helps you to remain calm before taking on the challenges.

                                          Personally, it helps me to devise strategies and think about ideas. Meditation is a good habit to have if you want to be connected to what’s significant in your life.

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                                          2. Be Grateful for What You Have

                                          Sometimes, you waste time thinking of what’s not enough. You become immersed in those daunting challenges. However, challenges justify the presence of hope. When you have life, you have expectations. You will be free from challenges when you are six feet under. The only strategy you have to stop focusing on your problems is to focus on what you have.

                                          Gratitude is a time-tested pathway to success, health, and happiness. It redirects your focus to what you have from what you lack. Here’s what James Clear does every day,[1]

                                          “I say one thing I’m grateful for each day when I sit down to eat dinner.”

                                          3. Smile

                                          Can you pause and smile before you continue reading this?

                                          Now here is what just happened based on research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science; you set a pace for living a happier life when you smile. A genuine smile or what’s called a Duchenne smile is a good habit to have if you want to find spiritual, emotional and mental peace of mind.[2]

                                          Smiling induces the release of molecules that function towards fighting stress. The physiological state of your body determines the state of your mind. When you slouch or frown, your mind takes cues relating to unhappiness and depression. But, once you adjust yourself by putting up a smile, you begin to feel a new level of excitement and vibrancy.

                                          Can you smile again?

                                          4. Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

                                          Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good habit to have and forms a crucial part of your life. Nevertheless, about 31 million Americans skip their breakfast each day.[3]

                                          If you are fed up hearing that breakfast is a crucial component of your day, you are only fighting the truth. If you want to become more successful, you need to ‘break your fast’ with healthy foods every morning.

                                          This habit is not difficult to form if you usually rush out the door every single morning. You can wake up earlier to fix yourself a meal so you don’t break down during the day.

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                                          Get inspired by these 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time.

                                          5. Exercise Daily

                                          One of the good habits to have is to exercise your body and muscles every day. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift a weight. You only need to engage in less strenuous activities that oxygenate your blood and inject endorphins in your body.

                                          Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, classified exercise as a good habit to maximize his already jam-packed schedule.[4] He said,

                                          ‘I wake up by 5, meditate for 30 minutes, seven-minute workout times three, make coffee, and check-in.’

                                          He said on Product Hunt that he follows this routine every day as it gives him a steady-state that empowers him to be more productive.

                                          6. Manage Your Time as You Manage Your Finance

                                          Another good habit is the act of managing your time effectively. This goes a long way to impact your achievement.

                                          Time management is what separates the successful from the rest of the world as we all possess the same amount of time. How you leverage time determines your potential to succeed in life.

                                          So how do you manage your time effectively?

                                          Here’s Jack Dorsey’s recommendation in one of the Techonomy events;

                                          “I accomplish effective time management by theming my days and practicing self-discipline. These themes help me handle distractions and interactions. If a request or task does not align with the theme for that day, I don’t do it. This sets a cadence for everyone in the company to deliver and evaluate their progress”.

                                          And this is Dorsey’s weekly theme:[5]

                                          • Monday – Management
                                          • Tuesdays – Product
                                          • Wednesday – Marketing and growth
                                          • Thursdays – Developers and partnerships
                                          • Fridays – Culture and recruiting
                                          • Saturdays – Taking off
                                          • Sundays – Reflection, feedback, strategy, and preparing for Monday

                                          No wonder he was able to run two companies when others were struggling with one job.

                                          7. Set Daily Goals with Intentions

                                          Everyone has goals. It may relate to business or personal life. The truth is, we’re all tending towards a particular direction or another. Nevertheless, while long-term goals can offer you direction, it’s your daily goals that you establish that help you develop short-term goals that are essential for your success.

                                          Long-term goals may not give you the motivation you need to keep on. But when you implement your short-term milestones daily, you become fired up, and you can overcome the challenges that come with taking on bigger tasks.

                                          Here’s the main truth:Successful people don’t set goals without establishing their intentions. According to Jennifer Cohen of Forbes,[6]

                                          “What helps you to achieve your desired expectation is ensuring intentions accompany your daily goals.”

                                          Be intentional about your daily goals!

                                          8. Seek Inspiration

                                          It is usually difficult to be inspired for a considerable length of time. Sometimes, you become discouraged and feel like giving up on your goals when things are not working out as intended.

                                          A practical approach to stay on top of the situation is to inspire yourself each day. When you wake up in the morning after meditation, watch some motivational videos, and let the story of great leaders inspire you.

                                          Establish what Anthony Robbins called the ‘hour of power.’ Determine how many minutes you spend but make it count. Inspiration is the fuel for achievement because when you can conceive it in your mind, you can accomplish it.

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                                          Michal Solowow, an investor and the founder of Mitex, a construction company puts it this way,[7]

                                          “The problems I encounter in everyday life motivates me to find solutions. This is a self-propelling mechanism. becoming a billionaire was never a motivating factor.”

                                          9. Save Steadily, Invest with All Prudence

                                          I can exhaust the good habits to have without talking about saving and investing. Most times, you overlook the significance of saving for the future when you are living in your present moment. According to CNBC, a $1000 emergency will propel several Americans into debt.[8]

                                          However, it is not enough to save, and you must invest your fund and be wise with it. If you pay attention to this now, you will set yourself for a life of success in the future. Ensure you save at least six months in your emergency account so you can be prepared for any future emergency.

                                          10. Budget and Track Your Spendings

                                          Benjamin Franklin warned of taking the precaution of little expenses. He said,

                                          “A small leak sinks a great ship.”

                                          It is easy to discard little expenses, but the truth is they always add up. This happens when you fail to budget.

                                          Budgeting is a good habit to have, which can impact your financial life significantly. The money you spend on extravagant lifestyles can be saved and invested in your future.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          Endeavor to cultivate these good habits to have to become more successful as you journey through life. The quicker you cultivate them, the faster you achieve your goals.

                                          More About Habits

                                          Featured photo credit: Andrijana Bozic via unsplash.com

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