The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
The online project management tool Basecamp has helped automate everything we do at ZinePak. It’s incredibly powerful and very simple to use. Basecamp helps keep our entire team on the same page and saves literally dozens of hours of work each week that might otherwise be spent in meetings or working sessions. With plans starting at $20/month, I don’t think there is much more an entrepreneur could do for his/her business dollar for dollar.
FollowUp.cc is a super simple email tool that makes scheduling emails and getting reminders easy. There are many more sophisticated SaaS products that do the same thing, have a lot more features and so on — but the simplicity of FollowUp.cc is brilliant. I love it and use it every day.
Zapier changed my life. If you are someone who relies heavily on web apps, then you know that they don’t all “play nice” with each other. Zapier solves this issue by making it super easy to integrate apps with one another to create a unified system that works. Currently, I have 45 zaps set up that take my business automation to the next level.
Most entrepreneurs get hundreds of emails a week, maybe even a day. Boomerang helps you stay on top of email. It’s a simple plugin within Google Apps for your email that lets you “boomerang” emails back to you if someone doesn’t respond or if you don’t want to take action on that email right away but are afraid it will fall through the cracks. It’s one of the only apps I use everyday.
Infusionsoft is an email management and sales funnel tracking software. There are three ways to grow your business: 1. Attract new customers 2. Get them to spend more 3. Get them to buy repeatedly. The hidden goldmine in so many businesses is number three. It’s so much easier and less costly to get people to buy from you again. But you must stay in consistent communication with your customers — Infusionsoft helps you do this.
BuzzStream is a great tool that helps immensely with link building, PR and social media. Through Buzzstream, you can research influencers, track communication and engagement and perform outreach. It’s a key tool in any marketer’s toolbox.
Xero‘s accounting service is the answer to your Quickbooks woes. It’s all online, it connects and automatically downloads your bank transactions (even PayPal) and it allows you to send out invoices and keep track of receipts, contracts, etc. along with bills. They even have a payroll solution. The system is easy to use and comes with all the reports you’d expect, and additional custom ones are easy to build. They also have tons of integrations.
Salesforce is one of the pioneers of SaaS, and when it comes to sales team organization, there’s really nothing else like it. Salesforce has also made tons of acquisitions in recent years, like Buddy Media, RelateIQ and more, so they are always bringing new SaaS innovations under the Salesforce umbrella. Entrepreneurs who are fundraising or selling should consider a Salesforce license as it will greatly help organize their business.
We tried numerous chat solutions ranging from Google chat (great for less than 10 people) to GroupMe (great for less than 20 people) to Flowdock. Then we discovered Slack. I recommend this free team chat service to all startups. It’s great for team chat, one-on-one chat and small-group chat. The mobile app is also highly intuitive. Slack enables you to easily share photos, videos, links and have productive conversations on the go.
We have been using 15Five for about six months and I’m obsessed! It’s the quickest, easiest way to keep up to date with all of our team members on a weekly basis. We can customize the questions for different teams, and I create a report each week that is sent to the entire team providing updates for the company as a whole and giving shout-outs to people who went above and beyond the previous week.
Yesware lets you know within minutes whether or not an email recipient has opened your latest message. This is especially useful for entrepreneurs engaged in customer service, public relations and sales. Knowing if someone has read your email allows you to rethink your follow up approach, too. With Yesware, entrepreneurs can become far more effective as communicators, since they have more information on whether or not their original message got through.