As a new founder working on your first startup or even as an accomplished entrepreneur starting your 10th business, it is likely that you are building the business on your own, have 1-2 partners or maybe are part of a small team. In either case, with only so many hours in a day, it often gets tough to manage everything from designing to accounting to business development.
As an entrepreneur what you really need is a set of tools that free up your hours, make work seem easier and help you focus on the stuff that matters most to for your business. What are these magic tools and where can you sign up for it? Here’s a list of some of our favourites:
1 – Online Business Model Canvas
Something that can be useful even before you start your business (and will sometimes stick around longer than even your co-founder!) is the Business Model Canvas (BMC) for your business. It can help you spot product opportunities, define customers segments, identify value propositions your marketing campaigns should talk about and so much more. With tools like Canvanizer or cnvs you can now quickly create an online BMC that evolves as your business grows, works as a context for brainstorming and can even be emailed to a friend for a point of view.
2 – Free Logo Design
Some say nothing is more important than your logo, your business’ identity for your customers. So how much do you need to spend on designing the logo for your new business? Nothing, yes NOTHING! Tools like Tailor Brands, Squarespace and ucraft can help the most left-brained (read: not creative) of entrepreneurs design a fabulous logo. These tools can quickly guide you through a series of choices to help you arrive at one or more designs that represent the image you have of your business. Plus, they’re absolutely free!
3 – Instant Website
Once you’re ready to reveal your business to the world, depending on the type of business you are growing, chances are you’re going to need a website. If, like we said at the beginning of this article, you are short on time and in a hurry to test that business model, a quick plug and play website is what you might be looking for. Website builders like Wix, HostGator and Strikingly are some of the best tools out there for quickly building a classy website even if you’re someone who doesn’t have a background in technology.
4 – Your App Like You Imagined
Maybe a website isn’t what your business needs and what you are building is a cool app. You’re probably spending hours in meetings with the tech team explaining your vision. With tools like Proto.io, Figma and Wondershare Mockitt you can create quick prototypes of the app you have in mind and help your team really see what you’re thinking. With easy-to-use dashboards and tutorials, these tools make it as easy as ABC and long as you have a clear idea of what you want, you will be well on your way to a prototype in no time.
5 – Pictures are worth a 1000 words
Pictures are worth a 1000 words: Whether it’s a gorgeous landing page you’re designing or an application you need to beautify, you are going to elements like images, videos, charts or infographics to get your message across! The right visual can help make your message so much clearer. Websites like Unsplash, Icons8 and Pexels, give you access to a virtually endless supply of royalty free images, videos, icons and even illustrations. If on the other hand you’re looking to convert business numbers into something fun, Visme can help you create a beautiful chart or infographic in minutes! Now there’s no reason your website or app can’t look every bit as amazing as you imagine.
6 – Copy is King
There was a time you had to hire an agency, a copywriter or at least a copy intern to write high performing, SEO friendly copy for your business. Enter Artificial Intelligence – now you can make AI do this work for you and often at one tenth the cost and effort! Tools like Copy.ai, Conversion.ai and Writesonic.com allow you to get unique copy for your business and in different languages too! Your Business will still need a fabulous copywriter at some point, but maybe these will help you save a penny when you’re just starting out!
7 – Manage that to-do list
Whether you’re working alone, with a small team or even partnering with a larger organization, keeping track of what needs to be done by whom can be challenging, especially if multiple projects and stakeholders are involved. Fortunately, this is a common problem for business managers, and some have even made it their business to solve this problem for you! Tools like Monday.com, Trello or Asana make managing your daunting list of to-do’s easier than ever. You can use these tools to manage and schedule everything from tasks, content, documents to entire projects.
8 – Together they can!
Who? Well, all your different apps of course! If you’re managing things by yourself or in a small team the smallest bit of automation can go a long way in reducing your workload and overall stress. That’s where tools like Zapier and IFTT come in. They can link other apps like Gmail, Trello, Instagram etc., and help you automate the steps involved in running your business. For example, did you know that just by typing something into a Google sheet, you could be sending out a marketing email?
9 – Your Scheduling Assistant
No matter what stage of growth your business is in, the one thing you probably want to spend less time on is scheduling meetings. We have all been part those never-ending email chains with multiple team members trying to find a meeting date and time that is convenient for everyone! If this sounds familiar, what you need is a scheduling app like arrangr or Doodle that will not only help you find the best meeting slot for everyone but will also add it to your calendar afterwards.
10 – Finally, take a breath
While we hope that all the above tools will help you become more efficient, nothing is quite as effective at problem solving as a stress-free mind. We all have days where work feels like too much and the to-do list (even if well-managed by our tools) seems to be endless! For those days, we recommend tools like Calm, headspace or Simple Habit that can help you quickly destress and get back to being more productive. If meditation isn’t your cup of tea, you could even try a destressing game app like Slices!