Find the best tools to boost your entrepreneur business
When I was starting my first business as an entrepreneur 2 years ago, I have lost a crazy amount of time using the wrong tools. I’ve begun using only the Google ecosystem for everything. I had my project’s boards on Sheets, my ideas, article, translation, and everything on Docs, and my presentations on Slides. I have to admit that it was great for the beginning, but I’ve lost a lot of time setting these tools up.
And throughout these 2 years, I’ve discovered a lot of tools that could (for sure) make me save a lot of time.
Today, I want to guide you on what tools you must have and use as an entrepreneur.
Note: Tools refer to services offered by apps and websites.
Why should you pay attention to the tools you choose?
That is certainly the first question you have in your mind, and I understand it because I was completely thinking like you when I’ve started.
But here are the two main facts that will change your mind:
- As an entrepreneur, you already have so many things you have to care about! You are pretty much on your own or helped by a small team, so you have to take care of marketing, communication, your website(s), blog(s), customers, helpdesk, and the list goes on and on. But most importantly, you have to take care of your ideas, and that is a pretty big task because it is because of your ideas that you will succeed. And trust me, because you have to take care of all of this, you don’t have a second to lose using the wrong tools!
- If you want to succeed in what you do if you want to be different than others, your ideas need help and this help is called productivity. I have to admit it, productivity is a big deal and isn’t easy to master at all. But it is what will make you different. So yeah, some concepts and methods will make you more productive, but if you want to be a productive beast, you have to go with great tools that perfectly suits your needs.
To what criteria should you pay attention to choosing a tool?
Of course, if you are talking about choosing the best tools, you must stick to a precise list of things the tool must allow you to do. This list is very different and depends on everyone’s activities and tastes, but there are a few major criteria you must consider before trying a tool.
Number one — Let things free
Every tool you will use must have a freemium version! And I am not talking about a 14 days trial or a restrictive version in which you only have access to two services. No, you must be able to go with a real freemium version.
Why should you use a freemium version? Because the first thing you want to avoid is to spend a crazy amount of money on the tool you use. You must use your budget for important stuff such as marketing, communication, and R&D. If you begin to pay for all the things you need, you will quickly be in financial troubles.
The only reason that will force you to pay for a tool, is if you MUST have access to a feature that is in the premium version and that does not exist with the other features you need in another tool.
Number two — Go flexible with cross-platform
We are in 2020 (or perhaps somewhere in the 202X), if you want to get clients and people to know what you are working on, you will have to travel a lot. And even if you don’t, be an entrepreneur also means that you will work a lot even outside of your office (if you have one).
To resume, you will be working from your office, home, in transports, perhaps even during your holidays. And even if we are not talking about work, your ideas will not only get into your head during your office hours!
If you want to keep productive and persistent in your work and never miss the opportunity to do something with one of your ideas, you must be able to work anytime anywhere. And the only way to do so with one tool is to go cross-platform.
Just think about the amount of time you will save (and you could already save right now) using the same tools on every device you have.
The tool you choose must be available, at least, on a computer and mobile. If the tool’s website is good and you don’t have far less content on the mobile view, it can be a great start, but my advice is to always privilege apps over websites.
How to identify the tools you need?
As I said before, everyone has different tastes and needs, and because of it, there isn’t a list of must-have tools that will perfectly suit everyone’s needs.
You will need to identify your needs to identify the tools you need to be productive and to do your work at your best.
To find the tools you need, I suggest you follow these steps:
Step 1: Identity the final goal
You should always keep in mind where you want to go. For example, as an entrepreneur, you will need to send and receive a lot of emails, so you will need a good mail app. Or you will need to do some project management, todo lists, planning, etc.
The main purpose here is to identify what you need to do.
Step 2: List the most important criteria
Now that you exactly know where you have to go and what you need to do, you have to make a list of what you need to achieve this goal. For example, if your goal is to make project management easier, you will probably want to be able to create different spaces for each project, add team members, add tasks, a kanban, etc.
The only thing to keep in mind for this step, besides your main goal is that you must list features that you need and not that you want. Step 2 is only about major features.
In this list, I hardly recommend you to add the two features I was talking about before: freemium version + cross-platform
Step 3: List the optional criteria
Now that you are done with the major features you need, you may start to think about the features you want and turn them into a list. This list contains only non-major features that will help you decide what tool should you use in case of doubt between two of them.
For example, for our goal of making project management easier, optional criteria could be the possibility to set the status of your project. Or be able to send email reminders if you are not in time for a task.
These features aren’t essential but they can be pretty useful.
Try it yourself
This article, and what I’ve said in it, is inspired by my personal experience. I’ve struggled a lot at the beginning of my adventures finding what I was needing.
You can trust me, this method will perfectly set you up and allows you to find the perfect tools.
Bonus — A list of tools that I used and that you should consider using
- Spark for emails: Spark is a cross-platform mail app. The design is outstanding and the app allows you to configure as many accounts as you want. Once done, you only have to connect to your spark account on another device and everything will be synced automatically. Little negative point: The app isn’t available on windows yet ( but they are working on it ). If you don’t use a mac, I suggest you consider using Microsoft Outlook on all of your devices
- Asana & Trello for project management. Both tools are amazing and cross-platform. A huge advantage for Trellowhich has a dedicated macOS app. But a huge advantage for Asana for all of the features you can get. Both worked for me but I use Trello daily for what I plan to do on my own.
- Google keep for notes. I use Google keep a lot when I am on my phone for taking quick notes. It is pretty useful as it has a dedicated add-on in google docs that I use a lot too.
- Pocket to manage bookmarks. Pocket is an outstanding tool that allows you to add a bookmark on the page your reading, very quickly. Your bookmarks are synced with all of your connected devices. This tool has been very helpful tome. As an entrepreneur, you will read a lot of articles or go on a lot of websites and it is pretty cool to be able to access everything from anywhere.
- Slack for communication. You will be working with a team, or multiple teams, and for that, you must have a great and stable tool that will allow you to do whatever you want. Slack is one of the most used communication tools for teams. The freemium version is perfect, for what I need at least, and you have access to a lot of features. I strongly prefer Slack over Discord for business as it is more professional and dedicated to business.
- Notion for….. EVERYTHING. Okay, so now imagine that there is a tool that can do everything almost everything, from taking notes to project-management and todo lists, and wikis, etc. Notion can do all of that and it is AWESOME. I have to say that I use it for almost everything, Back in college, I even had my class notes on it. It is an amazing tool for doing whatever you want.
Those are the tools I have used the most, if you also have tools that you use daily or that you love, please mind sharing it with me and everyone who reads this post by talking about it in the comment section.