As a small business owner with my own personal brand, streamlining my process by finding resources that are affordable and easy to use is a must. I've written about productivity here before, but soon after, I received requests to write more about additional solutions that make our business lives more manageable. I'm happy to fulfill these requests, partly because my list is ever-changing and expanding, with new solutions coming to market constantly.
Here are 25 startups that will simplify your business life, and help you get more done.
Any small business owner knows that you must have a social media presence. Buffer allows you to streamline your postings with a simple UI and times them so that they post throughout the day. I recommend this to any entrepreneur who needs to build their followers, but only has five minutes to plan their tweets.
Charlie has become an ace in the hole for me. The app tells you everything you need to know about the person you'll be talking to in your next meeting. It gives you a cheat sheet before the meeting, including LinkedIn connections, breaking news on the person's company, or what's happening with their competition. I've found it to be invaluable because it provides information that can be used as icebreakers in conversations.
3. Crazy Egg.
Crazy Egg shows you interactive heat maps of users on your website, and tells you who's leaving the site. See where people are clicking, where they're interested, and where they aren't. Tools like these help you better monetize your site and turn visitors into revenue
Having a hard time finding documents on your computer? Documaster uses natural language processing, machine learning, and other keyword strategies to better organize your documents and find what's actually important.
Looking to manage your schedule better but can't afford an assistant? Using a free web tool like Doodle is one of the simplest ways to control your calendar as well as a helpful way to find dates for meetings with your colleagues.
Need funding? Looking to fund startups? Dreamfunded is an angel investing crowd funding platform started by angel investor Bill Payne, who curates startups for angels to invest in. These types of platforms are becoming more and more popular, and are perfect for both angels and startups, as veterans like Payne sift through the ideas so that only really good ones make it on the platform.
One of the biggest headaches that a company faces is paying bills. Due is one of the better services out there at handling it. This platform helps manage accounts payable and receivable and provides easy to use time tracking.
8. Flock Draw.
White-boarding and brainstorming creative ideas is often important to taking virtual teams to the next level. Flock Draw allows your team to whiteboard together in real-time, so everyone can visualize what's being said. Create a free session, and have access to tons of tools to show your idea to the entire team.
Scaling quickly in 10 markets, farm to fresh Grubmarket provides your office with some of the best food and snacks available. Part of being a great employer these days is providing fresh food and snacks for you employees, and Grubmarket will bring you some of the best.
This services greatly simplifies conference calls by allowing colleagues to simply call a personalized phone number assigned to you. HipDial lets you take a conference call at any time without the hassle of scheduling or creating a new room for each call.
Every business needs a website, and therefore needs web hosting. Hostt provides free website hosting, perfect for eliminating an unnecessary expense and helping you bootstrap.
No type of online content is shared quite as much as infographics. Infographics.Space is a design agency that specializes in making highly professional infographics for entrepreneurs on a budget.
13. Last Pass.
Most business owners have to keep track of a thousand different passwords, and often each one has to be different for each site. This includes numbers, letters, bizarre combinations, and other items that can be difficult to remember. Use a tool like Last Pass to keep all of your passwords in one place so you can access them from wherever you are.
Going to conferences and need some cool swag? Lumi allows you to put your logo on anything. Being able to put your logo on items that people keep is a huge bonus, rather than choosing cheap stuff people will just throw away.
15. Near Me.
Need a turn-key responsive marketplace website to sell your merchandise? Near Me empowers owners of small business by making marketplace management simple from design to analytics, and letting small business owners look like a larger company, without any coding or engineers.
One of the most important parts of the sales process is the sizzling proposal that hooks the prospect. Having the right proposal can make or break a deal. One tip I have for proposals is knowing a client's hot buttons and making sure they land in the proposal. That's what makes PandaDoc so great. You can modify and personalize the proposal for each client to insure its gets the clients attention. You can track once they open your proposals as well as what they're looking at within to quickly follow-up and intelligently address objections.
17. Peer Space.
Need to rent a space for a party, or an office for a day? Have an important meeting and need to impress? Perhaps you have an office your team only uses a few days a week. Use Peer Space and rent a spot, or rent out your own - it's like an AirBnB for business offices.
18. Product Hunt.
I've found this site to be the most helpful location on the Internet for discovering new products. Apps that help startup founders are highly popular on Product Hunt. Founder Ryan Hoover's Reddit-like daily list of recently-discovered products has built a massive community, too. Some startups I talk to say they've received tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of visitors when they "hunted" their product on the site and it floated to the top portion of the front page. Overall, this is a highly effective way to launch or find new users for an app, product or service.
If you have international traffic, you should be using this service. Redirect monetizes your international web traffic with a geo-targeting system that uses a combination of CPC, CPM, and CPA strategies.
Interviewing engineers is important to building an A team, however a business owner must usually require some rapid prototyping/live coding to insure that the engineer can actually code. Remote interview allows potential employers to watch the engineer code in real-time and therefore help to insure he or she is qualified (or simply learn about his or her thought processes). The service also provides programming tests, saving your business a lot of time and money before you invest in a team member that doesn't work out.
The cornerstone of a business in the 21st century is its web presence. Being found on the front page of Google for specific keywords is critical. Searchmetrics provides SEO analysis to optimize your content marketing strategy so that your company is found under the right circumstances.
Most businesses have to ship packages at some point, whether its merchandise, contracts, company property, etc. Waiting in long lines at the post office is a waste of company resources, so that's where Shyp becomes a helpful resource. Take a photo on your mobile phone, upload it to the mobile app, and Shyp comes and does the rest - including using the most low-cost, reliable shipping method possible.
Need an online collaboration system to help you work with teammates in order to complete a task? Trello could be the right project management solution for you. I've used it on multiple occasions and it definitely cuts down on confusion, not only in determining how a project should be completed, but in figuring out where in that process you are currently working.
Need another project management recommendation? There are many of these platforms, and entrepreneurs tend to switch among them a little more often than you'd think. Wrike is one that several founders have recommended to me in conversation. It allows your team to have real-time collaboration, document sharing, and a news feed to keep everyone informed.
Often, as small business owners, we become overwhelmed with the little things, and the little details slide. Unfortunately its the little details that often set you as an entrepreneur apart. Zirtual is a virtual personal assistant who take care of calendaring, scheduling, inbox management, and gives your team an extra hand.