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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 10 Best Tools for Documenting Systems Amongst Your Team

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 10 Best Tools for Documenting Systems Amongst Your Team

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What is your favorite software or tool for documenting systems for your team and why?

1. Asana

Blake Miller

    Asana is great because it’s so versatile. Not only is it great for project management, but also you can use it to create checklist-oriented task lists. For instance, at Think Big Accelerator, we use an Asana organization with multiple projects that we share with new startups. It’s called the Playbook and meant to serve as a guide for entrepreneurs from idea to the first customer.
    Blake Miller, Think Big Partners

    2. Courseroute and Camtasia

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    allie siarto

      We’re a small team (five people), so we wanted to build out a really simple platform to record and share screencasts and documents around our company processes. We’ve recorded all of our major day-to-day processes using Camtasia screen recording, and we host the videos and documents on Courseroute, a simple training platform that we built. The beta version will be open to the public soon.
      Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

      3. Basecamp

      Fabian Kaempfer

        We like to keep everything in one place. We use Basecamp as our project management tool for almost everything we do. By using this, we are able to document systems in the appropriate project and refer to it by link if it’s associated with a certain task somewhere else. Having to switch and log into several platforms is a time-waster for us. We like to be efficient, and Basecamp is how we get it done.
        Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize

        4. GitHub

        phil-chen

          Being a technology company with a small team, GitHub allows us both documentation of our systems as well as documentation of our code base in a way we are familiar with. The revision control aspect is very useful to see what has changed and when.
          Phil Chen, Givit

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          5. DocSTAR

          Andrew Schrage

            Use the software offered by DocSTAR. It offers cloud-based document management services and data capture, and it can improve overall business workflow.
            Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

             

            6. Evernote

            Thursday-Bram 2

              With the advent of Evernote for business, I’ve found it to be an incredibly useful tool for documenting systems and sharing the information with my team. Even better, I can clip an article and turn it into a process to follow very quickly if we want to try something new.
              Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

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              7. Streak

              doreen-bloch

                Streak has been a great tool for our team to document a variety of workflows. The tool lives right within our email accounts (where we spend a great amount of time), which is very useful. Streak has many pipelines that can be built and then shared with select team members. Whether it’s sales, bug tracking or customer service processes, Streak maintains the workflows and encourages collaboration.
                Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

                8. Flow

                Phil Dumontet

                  Flow is my favorite task management tool. It holds everyone on my team accountable to what they say they’re going to do and allows your task lists to be private or public. The private lists are key for information control; these let me collaborate on high-level, sensitive projects with the people I choose.
                  Phil Dumontet, DASHED

                  9. Lucidchart

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                  Robby Hill

                    Lucidchart is an HTML5 app accessible from all major platforms and has some team collaboration features as you’re documenting processes and building out very complex diagrams. We use it because some people are on Mac, iPad and Windows, and the service/app works across all of those devices, helping us convey a message with a nice looking graphical chart.
                    Robby Hill, HillSouth

                    10. Google Docs

                    Erin Blaskie

                      We use many project management tools including Basecamp, Evernote and Asana, but what we find works best for documenting systems is Google Docs. The reason? It’s simply the best at keeping one version of a document, and you can organize all the documents into helpful folders. Combine that with the commenting functionality, and you have a streamlined way to document processes and systems.
                      Erin Blaskie, Erin Blaskie Digital Strategist

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                      Last Updated on May 15, 2019

                      10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

                      10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

                      Apart from making crucial decisions for their own businesses, entrepreneurs innovate and grow their ideas. Albeit there being no cookie-cutter answer that fits everyone’s experiences, taking a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs today, you might spot some similar traits and characteristics.

                      Starting and nurturing a business entails a great amount of hard work and commitment. However, for aspiring entrepreneurs who are prepared to dedicate themselves to their vision, here are 10 most successful entrepreneurs you can learn from:

                      1. Melanie Perkins: Know Your Worth and Keep Trying

                        Melanie Perkins founded Canva, a Sydney-based business valued at $1Billion having successfully raised a number of rounds of successful funding and boasting more than 10 Million users in 179 countries.[1]

                        She told BBC that one of the biggest challenges she faced getting into the business was talking about her company’s accomplishments when she first got to Silicon Valley. She attributed this difficulty to a cultural difference where Australians tend to ‘talk down’ their achievements and this would slow down her fundraising progress for a few years.

                        Despite hundreds of rejections, Melanie emerged three years later with a much clearer strategy and stronger investor pitch that prompted a series of fundraising rounds netting the company $82Million of funding in total.[2]

                        2. Bill Gates: Keep Learning and Exploring

                          If you don’t know Bill Gates, you likely know the company he founded – Microsoft.

                          Bill Gates’ story is a prime example of nurturing an idea that might seem out of this world but make sense in the future. One of the most successful entrepreneurs in history did not complete his degree at Harvard University to pursue a vision that the technology would soon become the future.

                          He told a white lie to Altair, saying that he had made a computer program for them, therefore pushing himself to create a system that would change modern history.

                          “The most important speed issue is convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on moving as fast as possible.”

                          Gates’ success is built on self-improvement and the seeds of an idea.

                          3. Elon Musk: Never Stop Innovating

                            Traditional thinking suggests that in order to become a successful entrepreneur, one must focus in a single field or industry.

                            Elon Musk, however, breaks that rule.

                            Today, the multifaceted tech entrepreneur, investor, and engineer advocates for the diversification of skills and businesses by delving into various fields of interest.

                            When done right, skills in a single domain can be carried over then applied into contrasting industries to create something new the world might need. Musk owes his accomplishments to a constant thirst for knowledge.

                            Having birthed Tesla and a myriad of products across the arenas of aeronautics and software design, Musk continues to evolve as an entrepreneur and plans to innovate for the long haul.

                            4. Richard Branson: Develop People First

                              British entrepreneur Richard Branson founded Virgin Records in the early 1970s. Virgin Records has since grown into the Virgin Group, today responsible for over 400 companies.

                              The billionaire is strongly particular about working with a team that shares his core values and aspirations.

                              Branson believes that managing a business can become taxing, thus he acknowledges his employees for putting in the effort that they have.

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                              A good leader knows how to raise morale for positive productivity. Utilising emotional intelligence and compassion is a game changer in seeing results within a team.

                              Branson’s supports the idea of nurturing a positive work environment, with the belief that credentials must go hand-in-hand with an enthusiasm for work.

                              5. Jeff Bezos: A Relentless Focus on Customer Satisfaction

                                Having founded Amazon, Jeff Bezos is known to be one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. The e-commerce pioneer fixates himself on angry customers with the belief that a business’s loopholes are found in the experiences of unsatisfied customers.

                                For the 8th year in a row, customers have ranked Amazon as the number one in customer service (according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index).

                                While numerous companies ignore unhappy customers, Bezos found success in learning from reviews and surveys. By focusing on customer service, Amazon shows they care, both for their customers and for rising above their competitors.

                                While praise and recognition are signs that a business is accelerating, criticism is an opportunity to improve a product or a service.

                                6. Mark Zuckerberg: Start Small, Think Big

                                  Valued at over 55 billion dollars today, Mark Zuckerberg built the first version of what would become a social networking giant in his Harvard University dorm room. As one of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs, Zuckerberg undoubtedly took countless calculated risks to get his brilliant idea to its current status with 2.38 billion active monthly users.

                                  “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

                                  He’s always daring to explore with a fearless mindset.

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                                  The young tech entrepreneur never shied away from innovating outside of the box. Soon after Facebook became a hit to users and advertisers, big corporations took interest in buying Facebook from Zuckerberg.

                                  However, he took the risk and decided to stay with his creation. Turning down billions of dollars offered by Yahoo CEO, Terry Semel, he envisioned turning his brainchild into something much bigger than what it already was then.

                                  7. Steve Jobs: Live Your Own Dreams

                                    Steve Jobs lived a rocky path all his life and an aspect of which is a tumultuous career.

                                    The founder of Apple endorsed his beliefs on the temporality of life and limitations of time. He preached about the importance of working on the very legacies people wish to leave behind, an achievement he’s undoubtedly etched into the the archives of human history.

                                    Never one to hide under someone’s shadow, Jobs did not live by anybody else’s principles so he formed his own. He tirelessly dedicated himself to building a unique brand of products that became the benchmark for contemporary technology.

                                    After his highs and lows through his brief battle with cancer, Jobs concludes with yet another lesson to takeaway from his remarkable life. “No matter how much money you have, even the richest man can’t buy time.”

                                    8. Warren Buffett: Balance is Essential to Success

                                      Despite being the third wealthiest person in the world, Warrant Buffett sported a frugal lifestyle for most of his life.

                                      After buying a house in Omaha, Nebraska for just above 31,000 dollars, he has lived there since 1958. As a leading investor and a founder at Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett believes in setting aside an amount to save and spend only on necessities.

                                      With a long term goal as a top priority in mind always, treating oneself can be sustainable once in a while. He advices to save money by deciding first and foremost what aspects to scrimp on and what aspects to splurge on to ensure a happy and balanced lifestyle.

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                                      9. Jack Ma: Never Give up

                                        On every journey to success, everybody stumbles and arrives at roadblocks. Some more than most, like Jack Ma, who survived countless rejections and failures only to get back up and brave every storm.

                                        Ma is the founder of multinational technology conglomerate Alibaba Group. Despite being rejected to Harvard after every one of his 10 applications, Ma was never defeated.

                                        His grit and tenacity is a fine testament to the fact that grades do not determine a future. While qualifications on paper are important, the development of skills and an attitude is just as helpful in making a recipe for success.

                                        Despite finding himself in the verge of bankruptcy in the 1990s, Jack Ma possessed the resilience to put one foot in front of the other until he finally made it. “It’s important to have patience,” he says.

                                        10. Tan Min Liang: Passion Can Pay Off

                                          Tan Min Liang is the founder of the leading high-performance gaming hardware, Razer. Always on the look out for new opportunities to connect and scale his business, Tan has been bold in making many of his life’s decisions.

                                          Having deviated from a traditional path set by a family that consists of doctors and lawyers, Tan was to find his life’s work and passion while gaming with his older brother.

                                          The idea was simple: there were so many games out there to play, however, there were hardly any gaming equipment to match this.

                                          So he dropped out of law and began going a different direction, into creating solutions in the gaming industry. At the start of 2019, Tan wrote to tech luminary Elon Musk to which Musk’s reply suggested of a joint venture between two of the most successful entrepreneurs today.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          In today’s cutthroat world, the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur is a long and arduous process trailed with ups and downs. A valuable lesson that a good hand of entrepreneurs would love to convey to aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep the spirit of innovation and to explore uncharted waters.

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                                          Learning from experience and failure is one direction to a desired end goal. Exhibiting the same dedication and grit so many entrepreneurs have through their unexpected careers – today’s budding visionaries ought to hang on their dreams and leave room for improvement along the way.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Patrick Tomasso via unsplash.com

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