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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Save on Startup Costs by Choosing the Right Energy Provider
Energy costs are often underestimated when calculating startup cash flow and expenditures. Since energy prices continue to increase, expenses rise, and customer purchasing power rapidly declines, startups can struggle to meet their financial obligations.
Several energy providers, including Ofgem, predict that the rising cost of utilities will force many businesses to operate below the fuel line. However, the impact can be reduced by switching to a more affordable energy provider and improving energy efficiency. You may want to read more to find out how you can easily switch business energy suppliers and save money on your energy bills.
Electricity Service Basics
Your power supply and delivery are both parts of your overall service. Your local utility controls the delivery system and owns the cables that enter your property, so changing it is not an option.
Your choice of energy provider is, however, somewhat flexible. The local utility is the default supplier for business owners, and they typically charge a monthly variable rate. The default supplier for business owners is the local utility, and they typically charge a monthly variable rate. Here’s where business owners should consider switching energy providers to save big.
Switching Energy Suppliers
Ofgem introduced Faster Switching in July 2022. The regulatory project is designed to assist domestic and non-domestic consumers in switching from one energy supplier to another, making the process easier, faster, and less expensive.
You can easily and quickly find the most affordable rates by comparing prices online or working with an energy broker. Companies often choose the most inexpensive electricity or gas because these are commodities.
When your existing contract expires, you can choose your new tariff. Suppliers handle all the paperwork for the new system during the transition, so there is no sense of helplessness.
What To Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers
It is important to consider several factors before switching energy providers.
How Soon Can You Switch?
You can usually switch your business energy when you have a deemed or a default energy contract. In most cases, it applies if you are moving to a new location, if your fixed-term contract has expired, or if a new contract has not been signed.
Furthermore, you are not bound by any terms under your business energy contract if it has expired. Some contracts for business energy require notice. If you’re unsure about your notice period, check your terms or contact your supplier.
Getting a Competitive Energy Rate for Your Business
It is crucial that your startup gets the best deal when switching energy suppliers. Using a comparison site or working with an energy broker to find the best energy provider for your startup could result in savings on your energy bill. There is a good chance that the variable rate your utility charges will often be considerably lower than the competitive rates offered by suppliers competing for your business.
Consider Switching From Variable To Fixed Rate
Consider the situation where you are unaware of your energy options and don’t select the electricity provider that meets your needs. In that case, you will most likely be charged a variable rate since your local utility will supply you with electricity by default.
Depending on the month, the variable rate may fluctuate significantly. Hence, switching to a fixed-rate plan gives you the peace of mind that your rate will remain stable for the duration of your contract.
When Should You Not Change Your Energy Supplier?
If you have to pay the exit fee or penalty to end your current contract and the penalty is greater than the savings you might realize, you should not change energy providers. While evaluating whether there are better energy suppliers for you, do not change suppliers before your contract has expired.
If you are considering switching to renewable energy sources like solar panels, the financial savings from switching to renewable energy might outweigh the marginally higher price or exit fee.
If your current energy supplier goes out of business due to the current energy crisis, Ofgem will automatically find a new provider for you. Continue taking meter readings while Ofgem coordinates the switch.
If you’re wasting energy, your bill will remain high even if you switch energy suppliers and get the lowest tariff. You can significantly reduce your energy bills by switching out light bulbs, using a programmable thermostat, and using energy-efficient equipment.
Easy Hacks To Overcome Startup Lead Generation Pitfalls
Startup entrepreneurs encounter several common challenges during the early stages of business. From cash constraints to operational bottlenecks and recruitment issues, everything seems to go against them. But the sheer dream of launching a startup keeps them going. Lead generation is another concern you may face when new in the business landscape. After all, convincing buyers to choose you over established brands can take a lot of work. But it is one thing startups cannot survive and grow without. Fortunately, you can embrace an actionable plan to build a robust sales pipeline for your business. Let us share a few easy hacks to overcome startup lead generation pitfalls.
Gather audience data
Relying on guesswork is the worst way to generate leads for your startup because it may never pay. Moreover, not getting them in the initial stages can topple your growth plans and hit your motivation levels. Gathering audience data is the key to your customer’s heart as it enables you to target the right audience at the right time. Besides following the correct data, you must keep up with the timelines. Failing to reconnect with leads within a reasonable amount of time is a surefire way to drive them away for good.
Think beyond referrals
When you just land in the market, you tend to rely on referrals. It seems the most sensible thing as people hardly know your brand, and you have a minimal marketing budget. Undoubtedly, the word-of-mouth marketing tactic plays a significant role for startups, but it is not enough. You cannot rely on it to get authentic leads, and it may cost more than you imagine, as people expect incentives to spread the word. A small but strategic lead generation campaign puts your business in a better place. The best part is that you can scale it over time.
Since launching a campaign is essential, you can consider outsourcing expertise instead of hiring an in-house team for the job. The good thing is that you can find custom lead generation services at a fraction of the cost of recruiting and managing an in-house team. Since these are seasoned experts, they can get your pipeline flowing sooner than later. You are in a better place to give your business a great start with specialists handling your lead generation process from the outset.
Prioritize quality over quantity
Startups should focus on prospects that are more likely to convert instead of chasing a broader audience. Spreading your net too wide can deplete time and resources, so it is always better to take a targeted approach. Fortunately, lead generation experts can help you prioritize quality over quantity. Your sales team can take on from there and achieve more with less with a list of prospects with high conversion potential. At this stage, it is easy to personalize campaigns according to the pain points and expectations of the target audience.
Nurture new leads
Generating new leads for your startup is only half the work. You also have to nurture them to make the most of the list from your outsourcing partner. Everything boils down to engaging consistently with your customers. It convinces them that you have the best option to resolve their pain points, so they definitely reach out for solutions to their future concerns. Besides boosting sales, nurturing your customers also strengthens your startup brand enough to compete with the top players. Creating valuable and interactive content is the key to lead nurturing, so ensure having it ready.
Track ROI for your campaigns
Tracking the ROI of campaigns is crucial for all businesses, even more for startups running on tight budgets. You must absolutely do it to learn about the gaps in your campaign and ideate ways to correct them for a better conversion rate in the long run. You can measure the campaign ROI by defining key metrics and using tracking tools from the start. Analyzing these metrics enables you to find pitfalls along the conversion funnel and address them with relevant strategies. A little effort is often enough to fine-tune the campaign for better outcomes.
Startups often struggle to get new leads and convert them into customers because they fail to take a strategic approach from the outset. But it is easy to define a strategy and get the best results if you follow these simple steps. Most importantly, let experts do the heavy lifting so that your sales team can focus on driving real results by chasing only the deals that are most likely to close.
5 Modern Auto Shipping Hacks For The Budding Entrepreneur
As a business person, one of the choices you may need to make is picking a car shipping service. If you’re a rookie in the business, you may need some hacks to help you make the right choice. Running your company will always present you with decisions that you must make. Business people often need to make fast choices. But that law doesn’t always apply. When shipping your company vehicles, ensure you’ve picked the best service. Otherwise, you may end up regretting it once you’ve lost money. Here are tips to assist you when you need auto transport services.
Before committing to the first shipping service you hear about, it’s wise to do your research. Learning what your alternatives are, helps you filter the different options. You can only make the best decision when you have many service providers that you can hire. The best place to start your search would be on the Google search engine.
It’s easy to find what you are looking for when searching by including your location in the query. Using Google for Business will also aid in finding nearby services. Come up with a list of various auto services. That way, you can start filtering your options until you find the company that will serve you best. Being patient with the process will help you save time and money in the long run when picking a car shipping service you can count on.
Next, you need to work hard to ensure that you’ve done adequate homework on the company. You can’t make proper choices without a clear picture of their auto-shipping background. You can only make the best choice after you’ve looked at whether the provider is someone reliable. Indeed, business is always a risk. But it’s about calculated risks. And that means having adequate information before setting on anything. That way, you won’t be spending money based on guesswork.
To learn more about the service, start by looking at their website. Browse the site and learn as much as you can from the platform. Any serious shipping company will have a digital presence. Their website should tell you how long they’ve been in business. Such information is critical as it helps you know whether the company has past clients.
While going through their site, look for any accolades or signs of positive work they’ve done. The idea is to get a well-recognized shipping company for what they can do for you. If you want to be sure you’ll get quality service try finding out if they’re BBB accredited. That way, you can be at peace knowing the service will handle your cars with care.
Before booking any calls, you must also look for testimonials on their website. Doing this helps you know what you can expect from the service provider. A testimonial is an excellent way to learn how well a company handles its clients. Customers will always share the details of how happy they are. And this is the perfect place to know how the service may deal with your vehicles.
Reading online reviews is also an excellent way to gather details about the company. Unlike testimonials, reviews allow you to see the strength and shortcomings of the company. Such a perspective is critical because you only pick a service knowing what to expect. With reviews, you learn from other people’s previous experiences with the service. Having this information helps you avoid making your own mistakes. Also, an online review makes it easy to see how clients rate various shipping services. The higher the company rating, the more likely the quality of service they provide. If the company’s online reputation checks out, you should be in safe hands.
On top of this, you can also seek recommendations from others in your line of business. Recommendations are often the fastest way to learn which company you can pick. Anyone who enjoys quality service will have no problem sharing their experience. If you’re in a hurry, you can glean a lot about a service with only one trusted recommendation. After all, if someone is willing to vouch for a company, it means the company has a good service history. Once you know what option to pick, you don’t have to worry about doing more research.
A shipping company with a positive history should also give you their references. It helps to know which businesses they’ve served before. Find out whether they’ve got any previous customers you may know. Sometimes they’ll display it on their website. But other times, you may need to inquire about it during the interview process.
Don’t settle for any shipping service without getting all your questions answered. Shying away from asking tough questions will only cost you money. Besides, when you notice the company dodging your queries, it may be a sign that you can trust them.
Always ask about the drivers working with the company. It helps to know whether they have the skill and experience needed to handle the task. Also, glean whether the company does any background checks on its drivers. Knowing this gives you peace that your cars won’t end up missing. If the company lets you know they have a tracking system while shipping the cars, the better. With such a service, you’ll be able to track where your vehicles are at any moment.
Always look for a registered company with valid documents and licenses. Moreover, all shipping services must have insurance and bonds. Make sure you get to know what happens in case of an accident. You don’t want to be the one paying for any damages or losses. Also, do your best to learn about the prices by asking for quotations. That way, you can compare offers from different services and pick what suits your budget.
Finally, don’t make payments before reading the contract. A business will always try to protect itself first with such a document. Most business people lose money because they failed to go through the terms. If you don’t understand or like anything you see in the conditions, be sure to make it known.
Choosing the perfect auto-shipping service should be a walk in the park if you use these shipping hacks. The pros of using a quality shipping service include
- Peace of mind.
- Reliable service.
- Discounts from your service carrier.
- Adequate insurance policies ensure the safe transportation of your cargo.
If yours is a company that is transporting a lot of vehicles, teaming with a reputable company can be a key element to ensuring that your investors and other clients are kept happy. With a reliable shipping service, you’ll save money and time. Many shipping companies will help guide you through tricky situations such as transporting multiple vehicles out of the country. Whatever your car shipping needs, make sure you choose a quality solution that can benefit your company for years to come.
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