Being an entrepreneur can be tough sometimes. It requires an incredible level of effort, dedication and skill. If you’re either on the beginning of your adventure or your business is already growing, you need to have in-depth knowledge in many areas, such as team and project management, marketing and communications, sales, finances, customer care, business intelligence… And it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Having experience and ability will not be enough to tackle all the challenges. You need to be equipped with the best set of tools of various kinds that will assist you in achieving your goals and empower your business. Fortunately, in the digital era things are so much easier for us as we can gather all the resources we need in our smartphones an laptops and manage efficiently all the processes that are going on in our professional lives. We have prepared a list of tools that we find useful and we have divided it into 7 categories that represent the most essential areas of an entrepreneur’s work. We invite you to take a look, try the apps that you find interesting and share your opinion with us!
1. Project and task management apps
When you have a lot of going on at work, then the ability of organizing your tasks and your time becomes the Holy Grail. Time to move from post-in notes hanging everywhere in the office and whiteboards with illegible annotations that make you spend more time trying to decipher them than actually working. Switch to a task management tool. There are hundreds of solutions, so it won’t be any problem for you to find a tailor-made app. Most of the popular task managers are based on the kanban system, invented by Toyota in the 50s and used in the factories. Kanban helped the Japanese company to organize the production of the car parts, and nowadays it helps teams and entrepreneurs manage workflows. The kanban system allows you to organize your tasks into boards based on their status (for example: To Do, In Progress, Completed etc.). You can move the tasks between boards, set deadlines, assign projects to coworkers, and many more.
- Asana. This tool provides you with multiple dashboards, project timeline, progress reports shared between team members and templates for common processes like Editorial Calendar or Product Launch. If it’s not enough, maybe the fact that NASA uses it will convince you.
- Trello. Not as advanced as Asana and therefore easier to use. Trello allows you to customize the layout, add comments and attachments, and can be integrated with many more tools.
- MeisterTask. This colorful app was created by the authors of online mind mapping tool MindMeister. The two apps are seamlessly integrated, which lets you move the ideas from the mind map into projects in MeisterTask.
- KanbanFlow. It has a built-in Pomodoro timer or a simple stopwatch timer for tracking the time you dedicate to every task and keep your pace while working. Divide your tasks into a checklist with subtasks to track the progress.
Maybe your company is still small-sized and you think that you don’t need any tool to manage information about your contacts. However, we strongly advise you to implement a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system before this valuable data gets dispersed across too many spreadsheets, paper and digital documents, your employees notebooks, hard discs, sticky notes and – the ultimate horror – small pieces of paper or even worse, napkins. It is so much safer and convenient to switch to a CRM tool, especially that not necessarily it means a big investment – you’ll find many useful and advanced tools that you’ll be able to use for free or at low fees. An online CRM software will allow you to gather all your customer data in cloud, segmentate leads, track sales, register emails, calls, meetings with customers and many more. You can also integrate it with our Marketing Automation platform for even more seamless experience.
- Zoho CRM. Manage your sales, marketing, customer support and inventory with this online CRM software. This tool makes it easier to keep your sales cycle under observation and take care of every single lead exactly when it should be done.
- SugarCRM. An affordable and highly customizable open source CRM software. Its advanced dashboards give you deeper insight into your marketing and sales performance. You get also advanced workflows for automating business processes in your organisation.
- Bitrix24. Among many other features in its free version, Bitrix24 provides a CRM platform for organizing your contact base, managing interactions with customers, issue quotes and invoices, etc. It also has a mobile version useful when you’re on the move.
Check SALESmanago always free CRM tool with dozens of integrations
3. Team communication
Communication within a team seems like a piece of cake when it’s only a few of you in the office. When your team grows, communication among team members may get a little bit complicated, even more if you have employees working remotely from the distant parts of the world. Exchanging endless email chains very quickly becomes unbearable. And that is when a communication tool comes in handy. Most project management tools mentioned before can be used also for communication, but if you need something more convenient solely for communication with unnecessary functions, but with possibilities of integrations when needed, the apps we list below will be perfect for you
- Slack. A leading collaboration tool with great interface and free (but limited) version. You can divide all your company’s communication into different channels, for example one for general conversation (meaning small talk and exchanging memes), other for a specific team or project, etc. It’s integrated with GitHub, so your software developers can use it to keep track of work progress.
- Microsoft Teams. It’s a part of well-known Office 365 package and therefore is integrated with many other Microsoft tools, such as Excel or OneNote, which makes it easier to manage all the processes in the company. The most important features include chat, audio and video conferences, live broadcasts for webinars and presentations.
- Blizz. An app from the creators of TeamViewer that enables you to communicate with your coworkers and customers via audio or video, organize online meetings for up to 300 attendants and record sessions for further use. Anyone can join your meeting by simply clicking a link provided by you, without having to install a software.
- Workplace. This online collaboration tool by Facebook has an interface that recalls the one we know from the most popular social media platform. What makes it different from other similar tools is News Feed powered by AI, a solution known from Facebook, which filters the information and shows only the most relevant for you.
Yes, tools for planning, again. Nevertheless, in an entrepreneur’s life scheduling can be a true annoyance, so we’ll take a look at the best online calendars for scheduling meetings that will take off your shoulders most of the pain of trying to fit reunions or tasks into your agenda. You can use it not only for planning your work duties, but also any personal stuff like family dinners, doctor appointments, holidays and other important things to do. When you try these apps, you’ll never want to get back to your paper calendar!
- Calendly. Share your calendar link with other people to schedule a meeting without having to exchange emails back and forth in order to choose a convenient date for both of you.
- Doodle. The power of this tool lies in its simplicity. Create surveys and invite all the participants of a meeting to decide the best time for everyone. It can be also used for selecting places or indicating other preferences, for example when it comes to food.
- x.ai. Let a virtual assistant take care of your meetings and calls. The AI is so smart that it can understand the context of the emails and schedule, reschedule, cancel appointments, invite and add participants etc. If this won’t make you feel like you are living in the future, I don’t know what will.
- Teamup. A calendar app made for teams. Use this application for organizing event calendars, staff availability, meeting rooms reservations, managing deliveries and many more.
Surely you know how much of an entrepreneur’s time is spent on analyzing data. It’s crucial to collect information about your business performance, study it and draw conclusions in order to guarantee further growth of your company. You need the best tool to keep track of your sales, lead generation, contact base growth, conversions, and any other metrics that matter in your company. Set your KPIs and use the tools we propose to control its realization.
- Google Analytics. A website analytics that doesn’t need introducing. As our survey found, 38,8% of marketers already use Google tools for web analysis. You got many advanced features in the standard version and there are lots of educational resources, such as Analytics Academy.
- Bitly. Yes, Bitly is mostly used for link shortening, but offers more than that. You can track the performance of every single link in real time in multiple channels. All these possibilities with a simple link only!
- Cyfe. All-in-one business intelligence dashboard that lets you monitor your sales, marketing, web analytics, social media and many more. It has a freemium pricing model, which means you get an advanced tool without spending a fortune.
- Marketing Automation platform, such as SALESmanago. Our Marketing Automation software has analytics modules that will help you to monitor and study all the gathered data and therefore improve your marketing activities.
6. Graphic design
You never know when you’ll need some app to enhance any kind of your creations. Maybe you need a way to make your portfolio, reports or website look more attractive, or you need to preparare content for publications on Facebook or a presentation for an upcoming conference. Whether you need a simple tool for creating basic, functional designs or you’re a professional that want to move from traditional graphic design software to something fresh and innovative, we have something for you. You can choose a full professional software with powerful functions, or opt for apps that’ll give you an opportunity to create beautiful designs with minimal effort, and you’re going to be astonished with the outcome. We also choose apps with mobile versions!
- Sketch. A complete toolkit that is more for experienced designers than newbies, but it’s worth the effort. An interesting feature is a repository with elements that you use multiple times in your designs, like icons and avatars. It has powerful possibilities of sharing and collaborating. If it comes to the cons, only a Mac version is available.
- Adobe Spark. Free online tool with web and mobile versions that allows you to create professional looking social media posts, web pages, presentations and short videos in a matter of minutes. You can choose from hundreds of templates to make your designs look even more stunning.
- Snapseed. This mobile app from Google available for Android and iOS makes any photo perfect with just few clicks. But don’t think it’s a tool for beginners only. You also get advanced options like Curves, White Balance and RAW files editing. You can also add captions and share the photo directly on your social media. Basically, a photo studio in your pocket.
7. Social media
This section only applies to companies that has social media profiles, but those of you that don’t use this channel should excuse us – nowadays it’s a very important part of company’s marketing strategy. Although social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin provide their own tools that make it easier to manage published content and ads or analyze statistics and conversion, sometimes it might get tricky to deal with all the dispersed websites. If you prefer to keep everything in one place, these solutions are made for you.
- SALESmanago integration with Facebook Ads. Use our Marketing Automation platform to target ads on the basis of your customers’ behaviour. Example: you can show an ad of a particular product to the people that viewed it on your website. Remarketing at its best!
- Buffer. Connect all your social media accounts with Buffer and easily post your content from one simple dashboard. It has an extense analytics features and lets you schedule your publications for later, even on Instagram!
- Hootsuite. Connect it with a cloud service and organize your content into a library. It has also a social media monitoring module that lets you find conversations relevant for you.
- Buzzsumo. It provides you with information about trending topics and influencers. You can also use it for content curation or to monitor any news related to your brand, setting various kinds of alerts.