Here is my 4th post in The Rodinhoods and this time round I would want to share a list of productivity tools which every entrepreneur should have. When I started out on building my own company, I did not have much money to spend on tools and found my hard way out, making best use of the free tools available on the internet. I guess most new entrepreneurs would be in the same plight as me, and I would like to share a few useful tools here below.
Usage: Multi-tasking is a word defined by entrepreneurs. We have several things running in our minds, and it is after all human to forget things occasionally. EverNote saves you the absent-mindedness. It is a very simple tool to use, you can create different categories of notes, say Bank Accounts, Useful links, Quick Accounts and so on. Best thing is that it is multi-platform, so you have your notes available with you in mobile even when you are not in office.
Web Link: https://www.evernote.com
Purpose: Password Manager
Usage: Especially when you are running a tech-based business, you will definitely have a lot of passwords to deal with. If you have been using traditional passwords such as 123456 and your birthday, it is high time you start to realize the importance of complex system generated passwords. Dashlane is one tool which helps you in both aspects – generate complex passwords, and also manage all your passwords. Also, the auto-login feature means that you don’t have to spend time typing passwords again.
Another need for passwords is to share relevant passwords securely with your team members. Rather than using excel sheets and Slack for sharing this sensitive information, you could use Keepass, a very effective tool for password collaboration. With the Google Sync plugin, you can store your secure password file on shared storage which your team members can access. Also, the passwords they create/modify can be obtained by you with the click of a button.
Purpose: Internal Office Communication
Usage: You must have already heard a lot about Slack. Slack has simply been the best productivity tool I have come across in my startup journey. Internal office communication has never been so easy and effective. You can organize all your projects into different channels, and also have private groups for more confidential discussions. They have apps for all major platforms, so you can use Slack on the go, wherever you are. Also, with last week’s introduction of the Call feature, you can have quick voice calls with your team members as well.
Web Link: https://www.slack.com
Purpose: Task/Project Management
Usage: When you have a team working for your startup, it becomes necessary to list all your work items and also keep track of who is doing what. There are multiple tools to do this depending on the nature of your startup.
If you are a product-based startup, a Kanban style task management tool like Trello or Taiga would be very effective. Your tasks can have multiple states such as New, In Progress, Blocked, In Review, In Testing, Published, Cancelled, etc., Though Trello is the most popular tool, I personally liked Taiga due to its UI and the scheduling, estimation and rewards integrations.
If you are a service-based startup and have several projects running in parallel, Trello or Taiga might become not very efficient to manage. Of the various tools I tried, I can single out Asana as the most flexible and effective tool for project management.
5. Sidekick by HubSpot:
Purpose: Email Tracking
Usage: When your business involves a lot of emailing, it is important that you know when someone opens it and performs some action on it, say clicks on a link. This is especially useful when you want to send follow-up emails at strategic timings. Sidekick by HubSpot is built just for that purpose. It provides neat addons for Gmail, Outlook, etc., and provides you run-time instant notifications when your email gets some action at the recipient’s end. A very useful tool for those founders who do marketing on their own.
Web Link: https://www.getsidekick.com
6. GraphicRiver by Envato:
Purpose: Graphic Design
Usage: Whether you want a design for brochure or a powerful PPT design for a client presentation, GraphicRiver will be your goto resource. I use it for basically all my client presentations. It has rich as well as pretty economical designs for all types of graphic design. And all of them come with neat do-it-yourself documentation. So you don’t have to be a design expert to be able to use it. The designs might not be completely free, but very cheap compared to the effort involved in getting the designs done through a freelancer. They do have free giveaways frequently.
Web Link: https://www.graphicriver.net
Purpose: HR Management
Usage: In the early days, you cannot afford to keep a separate person to manage all the HR stuff such as leave management, employee profile management, time tracking, recruitment, etc., But all these are must-do things right from the time you have your first employee. OrangeHRM is an open source self-hosted solution for end-to-end HR management. It is quick and easy to install and even easier to manage. You can automate all your HR processes easily using this, and you can handle the tool by yourself.
Web Link: https://www.orangehrm.com
In addition to these, there are a load of other resources as well, you just need to spend a lot of time reading on the internet. If you feel you can add more tools to this basic list, please type them in the comments section below. Thanks for all your support once again!
Read other posts by Ashok on trh here.