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Tips for Startups

10 Tools to Improve the Productivity of Your Startup in 2020

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10 Tools to Improve the Productivity of Your Startup in 2020

When growth and success are the goals you want to achieve, it can become easy to give in to frustration over the simple fact that there’s always so much that needs to get done. Entrepreneurs all over the world are constantly searching for amazing productivity tools that will help them become more efficient at what they’re doing – not so that they can kick back and relax, but so that they can use the extra time they gain to focus on other equally important aspects of their companies. Programs such as Asana, Slack, and Dropbox all make for great productivity and project management tools, but they’re not the only ones at your disposal.

When looking for the best tools to improve the productivity of your startup, it’s best to start by doing a bit of reflection. Take a pen and piece of paper and write down your biggest challenges. These might be communication, accounting, or project management. Every company is different, and a great workflow can only be achieved through customization and constant reevaluation.

Once you have a clear idea of what you need to work on, you can look at the list below, and choose the productivity tools that will work for your specific needs.

10 Tools to Improve the Productivity of Your Startup in 2020

1.    RescueTime

No matter how passionate you are about your work, or how disciplined, there will always be time-wasters within your working process that are taking precious energy away from tasks that truly matter. RescueTime is a great solution to analyze and eliminate those time-wasters.

This is a tracking software that works on all your devices and gives you data about how you’re spending your workday. Once it has helped you identify your biggest challenges, you can use it to set goals and alerts, block distractions, set your work hours, and even gain insight into how you spend your hours away from an electronic device.

2.    Iris

Chances are, your entrepreneurial lifestyle has you spending a significant portion of your day in front of a screen. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to look at ways to protect your eyes from strain and the negative health effects of blue light. Iris is an eye protection app you can install on your computer or mobile device, that will make small alterations to your screen. The Pro version offers several modes of working, including health mode, sleep mode, programming, and biohacker mode. It also has a built-in timer feature that encourages you to rest your eyes, but can also increase productivity by forcing you to take a short break every 20 minutes.

3.    Outlook Calendar

A number of entrepreneurs and freelancers are finding that a calendar can do a great deal to improve their productivity. The reason behind this is simple. By blocking out slots to dedicate to a task, they’re imposing manageable deadlines that can be a great driving force for those who tend to get lost in their work.

Microsoft’s Outlook Calendar is one of the most effective apps out there, seeing that it offers a number of extra features including email integration, bill reminders, automatically calculating travel times, etc. You can also integrate it with a number of apps, such as TimeTackle, in order to export all the data you need into reports you can use for invoicing or analytics.

4.    To-do lists

There’s a huge number of to-do apps on the internet. If you own a smartphone, chances are one’s either already installed on it. How elaborate you want to be with these apps completely depends on you. It’s not a bad idea to remember that you can just use the Notes or Reminders apps on your iPhone or download something like the Microsoft To-Do app or Todoist.

If you’re a fan of offline planning, you could also look into Bullet Journaling, which combines productivity and mindfulness techniques.

5.    Dragon

If you feel like virtual assistants are a godsend, you might want to give speech recognition software a try. Dragon is a speech recognition software that can help you significantly cut down on the amount of time needed to do tasks such as document typing, writing emails, updating social media statuses, or searching for something on the web. It’s supposed to be three times faster than typing, so you might just find that it’s an investment worth making.

6.    Accounting apps

Most entrepreneurs aren’t fans of accounting. Unfortunately, it’s a process that’s a must for any small business, startup, and international corporation. To make things slightly easier, you can invest in tools that will automate at least a part of the process.

Apps such as Xero offer features that could minimize your time dealing with accounting tasks but providing you with a host of benefits. Track business expenses, enjoy better insights into your cash flow, and complete invoicing tasks in a matter of minutes.

7.    Upwork

Sometimes, working effectively means letting someone else take care of certain tasks. Especially when they require certain sets of skills you may not have, or take up too much time that you could make much better use of. In these cases, hiring a freelancer or remote worker can be an excellent option. Upwork is one of the best platforms for finding online talent, as it gives you access to millions of experts in any field you can possibly imagine.

8.    Buffer

Is your business reaching its target audience effectively? Often, a good content marketing strategy combined with smart social media usage can be all the advertising you need. But posting on multiple platforms can be a hassle, especially since a number of social media apps don’t let you post content from your computer (Instagram, for example).

In these cases, a solution such as Buffer could do a lot to increase productivity (and save time). In addition to publishing content, it also helps you with analytics, as well as managing engagement, which you should definitely be paying attention to.

9.    IFTTT

Most startups can benefit from automation. With the wide availability of smart tech that can make your life easier (or more exciting), an app that helps them all connect is a must. IFTTT is a free tool that allows you to automate a number of processes at home, as well as at the office.

Turn on the lights at the beginning of the day, automatically lock doors at certain times of the day, set your Roomba to work while you’re away from your desk, have Spotify play your favorite music for concentration, make calls, improve the way your virtual assistant works, order lunch, sync to-do lists. The possibilities are endless. All you need to do is think of an automated process, and you can program it for yourself, without needing to actually write code.

10. Password

Last but not least, your startup should be taking security seriously, so invest in a software solution that helps you keep all your company data safe, alerts you about possible security breaches, creates an activity log, offers multi-factor authentication, and even helps you control what information team members have access to.

Summing up

As you can see, productivity tools don’t have to be complicated. They just have to work for you. Of course, the apps and programs listed above aren’t the only tools at your disposal. The web is full of excellent solutions, so the best thing you can do is try some of them out and see whether they satisfy your needs.

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Tips for Startups

Tips To Design A Perfect Mascot For Your Startup

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Design A Perfect Mascot For Your Startup

Startups must master the art of achieving more with less because of limited budgets and tight timelines. Whatever initiative you pick, you cannot afford to wait forever for it to deliver results. At the same time, you cannot spend a massive chunk of your budget on it. When it comes to marketing, you must choose the right mix of strategies. Mascot marketing is an ideal option as it defines your brand’s personality to make it more recognizable and sustainable. But designing a mascot may seem like an expensive task, considering it requires brainstorming, creativity, and design skills. Let us explain how to create a perfect one within your startup constraints.

Consider your goals

Before you start working on the design and image, you must consider the goals of your company. The objective goes a long way in defining your brand’s personality, which should reflect in your mascot. For example, you need a lively one if you wish to make life fun and easy for your customers through your offering. Conversely, a more professional design works for a startup catering to a business tool.

Resonate with your audience

The simplest way to ace the startup mascot design is by resonating with your audience. Define your target customers and consider their likes and dislikes to nail the look and feel of your mascot. If you plan to sell to a young audience, the personality should be an instant hit with the kids. Identifying your audience gives you a head start as you have a clear view of where you want to go.

Think outside the box

The key objective of any marketing strategy is to set your business apart, and mascots are not an exception. So remember to think outside the box when you design one. It shouldn’t look like any character already in the market. Instead, it should be unique and outstanding while being consistent across all channels. The character should look the same everywhere, whether you showcase it on social media or through Custom Mascot Costumes at a live event. It is the only way to ensure people remember your new brand and connect with it.

Pick the right hues

The colors you use in a mascot’s design decide how well it can stand out. A bland design hardly appeals to the eye, but going too loud with shades is also not the way to go. You can seek color inspiration from your existing marketing assets, such as your logo and theme hues. Keep the market trends in mind and check the competitor designs to pick the right shades to design your ideal mascot.

Name it wisely

Beyond creating a memorable design for your startup mascot, you must give it an easy-to-recall name. You cannot expect people to recognize your brand’s replica in a huge crowd unless everything about it stands out. So your mascot’s name is as crucial as its design and personality. Think of something that connects instantly with your personality and sounds good. Also, stick with a short and simple name.

Designing a mascot need not stress out a startup owner, provided you are ready to follow these rules. Be ready to spend time, effort, and money on this marketing asset because it defines who you are.

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Tips for Startups

Choosing The Best Tech Service Providers: For Start-up Companies

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Choosing The Best Tech Service Providers

As a business owner, you should carefully choose your IT service provider since it could be one of your most significant business decisions. Your technology partner should be a close advisor on the IT services you need now and in the future.

Moreover, your technology partner should be one that understands your business and industry. So how do you choose the best technology service provider from the hundreds of IT services companies on the market?

Let’s find out.

●     Available Services and Solutions

The first way to get the best IT business is to understand the IT solutions and services since it can help narrow down your options. Every company has its preferences and needs in correlation to its industry.

Therefore you should identify and layout your preferred tech providers based on your needs. When looking for an IT company, it is not only about which service provider has the most services available.

You shouldn’t pick because they offer multiple or several services. Instead, it would be best if you considered the levels of tech support that your company would need, such as an entire managed IT support system, break or fix service, or pay-as-you-go tech support.

●     In-House or Outsourced IT Support

Your business or company will grow and operate seamlessly depending on the tech support you will use. A competitive IT service provider would ask and respect your choice between both parties.

Outsourced and in-house IT support services have several differences from one another. This is why you should pick the correct one for your business.

Like the name, outsourced IT support is ideal for companies that cannot support the additional associated costs of having IT experts residing in their company. Outsourced IT service providers are usually called Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

You may ask, what is a managed service provider and do you need one? Well, a managed service provider (MSP) is a third-party company capable of remotely managing your end-user systems and information technology infrastructure.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), startups, government, and nonprofit agencies usually hire MSPs to perform defined day-to-day IT problems and management services.

On the other hand, as the name implies, in-house IT support is composed of IT experts who will work inside your companies and be assigned to your company’s IT department.

●     Experience and Alignment of Your Industry

You should ensure that your preferred or chosen IT service provider provides tech-related assistance to your company. Ensure that they do not have insufficient experience, expertise, or knowledge about your industry since it could be a massive risk to your company’s operation.

It would be bad to make the mistake of hiring inexperienced service providers in your industry. They would do more harm than good though they might have an impressive overall review or rating as a service provider.

●     Reactive Support/Proactive Maintenance

Quality support should not end with solving a problem. A good tech service provider would be proactive in monitoring systems to ensure issues are stopped before they start.

When they monitor and practice conditions maintenance, your tech service provider would be able to keep minor problems from becoming large and affecting your business productivity.

It would be best if you had a proactive tech service provider, but your business might also need a reactive tool to handle your day-to-day IT problems such as network connectivity, phone issues, printer problems, cloud issues, and computer problems.

●     Budget Planning 

As a startup or a small company, you should consider your budget before choosing a tech service provider. Though all budgets are not equal, this does not mean that you should skimp on quality for cost. Instead, a good tech service provider would help you identify and budget for services to help your business succeed.

●     Efficient Communication Channels

Lastly, ensure that you choose a tech service provider capable of establishing good communication platforms accessible to both parties. You have the right to know what happens behind the scenes as their client and also get involved in monitoring your tech systems.

You can efficiently handle this by establishing a communication channel that is convenient and favorable for both parties.

Final Words

Excellent companies are differentiated from bad ones by the integration of IT support. In the current era, you must manage your business data process and information in an organized, efficient, and smooth way.

Moreover, you can achieve this by collaborating with a tech service provider. When searching for the best tech service provider to solve your business needs, the above guide will help you with that.

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Tips for Startups

Best Sustainability Tips For Construction Startups

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Sustainability Tips For Construction Startups

The construction industry has immense opportunities, making it one of the top choices for startup entrepreneurs. The demand for new projects is high, and renovation and upgrade projects also keep contractors busy. The domain promises massive profit margins and long-term revenue growth. But startups have to face several challenges such as competition, complexity, and regulations.

Moreover, the growing public awareness of the environmental impact of the industry makes sustainability a necessity. Not surprisingly, going green is one of the key goals for businesses operating in this segment. But most entrepreneurs struggle to find ways to bring eco-friendliness to construction processes and projects. We have the best sustainability tips a startup can follow.

Lower impact on surrounding areas

Most projects require excavation as an integral element of the construction of buildings, bridges, and roads. It can have a far-reaching impact on the surrounding area, leading to soil erosion and the clearing of green belts. But you can do your bit by retaining as much of the soil and vegetation as possible. Trees, shrubs, and grass prevent soil erosion and flooding, so preserving them can make your business green. Apply mulch or geotextile materials to prevent additional soil loss. You can install graveled or padded areas along the entrance and exit points. These points act as a buffer and keep the mud, soil, and sediments from reaching public roads.

Source local materials

With growing globalization, construction companies and designers can access a greater variety of materials from far and wide. The idea is alluring as it can enhance the aesthetics and add novelty to your projects. But it may not be the best thing to do from a sustainability perspective. Transferring construction materials over long distances entails the use of more energy and resources. Sourcing locally takes you a step ahead with an environmentally-friendly approach. It cuts down the carbon footprint of your business by lowering fuel consumption for transportation. Moreover, it is a way to support local suppliers and providers.

Choose eco-friendly materials

Another measure that takes your construction startup an extra mile with sustainability is the use of eco-friendly construction materials. Ensure that the materials you use are non-toxic and made using sustainable practices. For example, switching to low-VOC paints is a good idea. You can use cement blended with calcium carbonate instead of the standard variant. The use of CaCO3 reduces the carbon emission from cement plants significantly, so you can pick the material in an effort to go eco-friendly. Using non-toxic materials has additional benefits as it limits respiratory issues for workers and residents. It boosts your reputation as an employer and business alike.

Reuse building material

It is easy to use the principles of reducing, reusing, and recycling in construction projects, so you are in a better place to embrace eco-consciousness. Whether constructing a new building or renovating an existing space, you have to deal with waste materials such as concrete, wooden planks, and steel trusses. The last thing you should do is dump the waste into the nearest landfill. Opt for an eco-friendly approach by recycling the waste material. You can look for a crushing facility to turn the waste into dry aggregate and reuse it in other construction projects. Besides taking your startup a step ahead with sustainability, reusing these recycled materials entails massive savings in the long run.

Revamp your processes

Revamping your processes is another way to achieve the goal of eco-friendliness for your business. Start early because it is more efficient and cost-effective than changing the course somewhere down the line. Consider establishing a vendor network that provides you with eco-friendly materials. Hire people with experience in sustainable construction and invest in sustainability training programs for your existing team. Build eco-consciousness into your company culture rather than trying to force the mindset into the existing business processes. Also, you can consider standardizing processes as it helps in wrapping up projects more quickly and efficiently. Moreover, it reduces mistakes and eliminates waste from projects. Using equipment efficiently and avoiding wastage of energy are other crucial aspects of revamping the processes.

Sustainability in the construction industry is an achievable goal, provided you are willing to take the right approach. Even startups can go eco-friendly from the early stages because the initiative does not require immense effort and investment. You only need to make wise choices and think of better ways of doing things. Starting early gets you in a vantage position as you can build a sustainable business with a good reputation in the long run. Follow these tips to move one step ahead with the goa.

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