If you are starting your own business, chances are you have heard all those disheartening facts about the tiny success rates. However, just because starting your own business isn’t easy, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t tools out there that can ease your path to success. In fact, there are a number of resources that can prove hugely valuable in a range of different areas, from allowing you to increase your efficiency levels, to helping you grow your professional network.
The list below features some of the most useful tools for start-ups. No matter how limited your manpower, time, or budget, success is never out of reach.
1. Personalized Business Cards
Having your own customized business cards is probably one of the most valuable tools that can be used to help you grow your professional network. Having a business card ready in your pocket, in case you ever meet a potentially useful contact, will ensure that you never miss out on an opportunity to grow your business. Personalizing your business cards to represent your brand can increase their value, allowing them to not just hold your contact information, but make an impressive impact, too.
Not only are business cards a quick way to impress and convey your professionalism, but they are an expected ritual in some cultures. For example, in Hong Kong, not returning your business card when you have been given one is a sign of disrespect. In Japan, the quality of your business card is seen as a direct representation of how effectively you run a business and conduct yourself.
2. Helping a Reporter Out
Helping a reporter out, or Haro for short, is perfect for businesses that wish to spread the news of their idea without the need for a big public relations budget. Haro is a platform that is used by both companies and reporters looking for content. With a Haro subscription you are given access to top reporters, providing your business with opportunities which have traditionally been accessible only to large and more established companies.
Evernote is a free information organization tool that is designed to increase efficiency. It puts all your information in one place so that you will no longer have to scour through your pockets and desk searching for that note you jotted down last week. There are three basic components of Evernote: capture, access, and find. Capture information on a range of different sources, such as phone, tablet, desktop, or even a photograph, and it can all be stored in one clearly marked location. This frees up your time so you can spend more time on the important things like growing your company.
LinkedIn is a hugely popular platform, with over 500 million total users. It can prove to be a valuable resource for small businesses looking for new talent to join their teams. Not only does it allow you to easily access your own network, but the networks of those you are connected with. You are also able to scroll through an online directory of resumes to find the best candidates for a job, which can help you transform your business idea into a reality.
F6s is a platform that has been designed to help start-ups and entrepreneurs find funding opportunities such as accelerator programs and angel investors. There is also the option to connect with a Facebook group, which is used by start-ups, founders, and angels, and can prove to be a useful networking resource. By combining all the information you might need in one place, F6s helps you save time as you no longer need to spend hours searching the internet for funding opportunities.
Dropbox has been designed to simplify working life. No longer will you need to carry around different devices because the documents they contain are too large to email or wait for an employee to send over a presentation. Using cloud technology, Dropbox enables you to save all your images, documents, videos and audio files onto one account, which can be accessed anywhere, from any device. You won’t have to worry about losing a document again. Dropbox allows you to easily organize all your information and also has a simple sharing feature which makes it easy to share content with other users.
7. Time Tracking and Management Software
Using time tracking and management software is one of the easiest ways of maximizing productivity around the office. Since it monitors what is being accomplished it gives you information you can use to better regulate task allocation. It also has a feature which monitors employee working hours such as overtime, vacation time, and sick leave, so that you are easily able to stay up to date on invoices.