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Today’s Question: What are some of your favorite tech tools that help entrepreneurs start and run their businesses?
1. CRM Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is vital for three reasons:
1. It allows you to share data about clients obtained by different employees. That way, each employee can use the data as if they had conversed with the clients themselves.
2. It acts as a central place to track data specifically related to my business, such as events registered for and membership information.
3. It allows you to schedule appointments and email clients and prospects from one central location.
— Scott Eisenberg, Swap the Biz
2. Analytics Software
You need to know your data and numbers. Free tools like Google Analytics are fantastic ways for startups to track what is working and what isn’t.
When it comes to tracking data that isn’t related to a website or app, I always recommend tools like Klout, which is helpful for measuring social media influence and creating content for your segment. The more you measure, the more you can optimize and improve.
— Thea Myhrvold, Teach Me Now
For graphic design and marketing, Canva is a great tool. There are free and paid versions, with the paid version allowing you to create and save brand colors and fonts.
— Amanda Haddaway, HR Answerbox
First things first: You need to quickly get an attractive website up. Squarespace is simple to sign up for, has a (relatively) easy interface that anyone with some computer sense can operate, and offers a multiplicity of useful integrations.
— Derik Timmerman, Spreadsheet Sherpa
I really like this tool. It has the right balance between flexibility and ease of use, and that’s why you can use the boards and cards to organize everything from your software development backlog to your own personal army of sticky notes and reminders.
— Nicolas Rodriguez Seara, Recluta Pro
Every entrepreneur/business could benefit from using Slack, a task management software that enables virtual teams to communicate under “channels” – i.e., projects/assignments.
With Slack, all of the many moving parts within our startup are easily categorized and followed up on. Nothing is lost in email any more! On Slack, we communicate, collaborate, assign tasks, and upload documents, all in one place. We can access it all online, any time – oh, and it’s free!
— Makenzie Marzluff, Delighted By
One tech tool I’d recommend is a project management system, like Asana. This will help you keep track of everything that you are doing to grow your business. It has helped us in three ways:
1. It keeps us accountable.
2. It keeps a record of tasks that we have completed (aligned with our business strategies).
3. It acts as a repository for future ideas and tasks that are aspirational right now.
Of course, Asana also does everything else you would expect from PM software: it tracks projects, assigns tasks, sends out alerts, tracks time, etc.
— Jennifer Garcia, Red Bamboo Marketing
Basecamp gives us a way to collaborate and keep a log of all the decisions we make on a project. Most importantly, it gives us the context around why we made those decisions.
— Matthew Brogie, Repsly
Recurly is a tool that sits between my tool and the payment gateway that I use. Recurly automates everything to do with billing, from payments and invoices to EU VAT (European Union value added tax) compliance. This allows me to take an almost hands-off role in billing, even though we process hundreds of payments each month.
— Scott Sherwood, TestLodge
MailChimp is a very easy-to-use email marketing service. To build an effective brand, you must have a relationship with your audience. Using MailChimp will give your business the opportunity to send out engaging newsletters and discount promotions on a weekly basis, which helps you develop a strong relationship with your customer base. Mailchimp is packed with functionality and modern templates, making it the best system out there for email marketing.
— Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco