David Rocke is a self-professed computer geek and tech savvy blogger and writer for the Chicago based company, Vanguard Archives. He writes and blogs on a variety of topics from digital rights to Records management.
As the mind behind a startup or small business you have a host of to-dos on your plate, some of them occasionally unanticipated and others that will leave you scratching your head in confusion. What’s the most effective way to send that invoice to your new client? Can my business partner and I collaborate on the same spreadsheet? Which kinds of documents and files should I be backing up? Don’t worry, you are not the only one who has asked these sorts of questions. Owning and operating a startup should be an exciting time of your life and a chance to really prove to the world you’ve got what it takes. This time should not be spent pondering over simple tasks and jobs. With the ever expanding app store available to anyone with a smartphone or tablet, it has never been easier to get that startup up and running. Below are five great apps that will help alleviate some of these headaches and keep you on that path to success.
Huddle– Collaboration and Management– Free Trial
These days, cloud storage apps and services are a dime a dozen. Making sure you chose the best one for your startup or small business can be a bit of a chore. Luckily, Huddle happens to stand out amongst its competition. Huddle takes the best ideas from apps like Dropbox and Amazon’s S3 and even adds some of its own flair.
Huddle gives you all the basics like multiple file uploads, access from any device with an internet connection and remote data wipe in case of a security leak or accident. But what really makes its stand out is its news feed feature. One the home screen of the software you can view which items were uploaded recently, from what user and in which format. Huddle is an invaluable tool for any CEO of a startup who is constantly on the go.
99 Designs– Product and Logo Design- Price Range Dependent on Designer
So you have your business up and running but you still don’t have a great, eye-catching logo? Perhaps you want your business cards to really pop but don’t know what direction to take? 99 Designs is a great resource to use when you run into these problems.
To get started with this incredibly cool and collaborative resource, take a stroll over to their site and request a consultation. Specify what you are looking for (logo, web design, app, product, banner etc..) and mark in any requirements that you may need such as content, color or size. Put in all the necessary contact information and after a consultation with a 99 Designs representative, designers and artists will begin drafting up concepts for you to choose from. You are then free to pick and choose which ever idea pops out to you, only paying for the idea that you want to implement into your business.
Campfire– Communications Free 30 Day Trial, $12 a month
Needing to collaborate and chat with potential clients, vendors or colleagues can become a tricky field to navigate if one of the parties involved doesn’t have a messaging service like Skype or AOL installed. To get around this, the people over at 37 signals have come up with a completely web-based chat service that allows you to upload files and photos of all kinds directly into the chat feed and with no need to download, clients who don’t have an existing chat service, won’t be kept in the dark.
Campfire also takes this one step further and allows you to move seamlessly from the chat room to a conference call all with the touch of a button, you can even record your calls for later review.
Harvest– Time Tracking Free 30 Day Trial, $12 a month
If your startup needs to keep track of billable client hours or hours spent on a project and using a traditional clock has become too cumbersome, Harvest is a great app for you. Harvest comes equipped with a lot of great tools that are easily exported to bill clients or create invoices.
Harvest also comes with a great mobile app for your smartphone or tablet that lets you easily track that client lunch meeting and instantly upload it into the database back at your home base. You can even snap a photo of billable receipts and expenses and let Harvest integrate them into the appropriate client’s spreadsheet.
Giving your startup a great online presence is essential in the social media age. Hootsuite is definitely at the top of their game when it comes to amazing features and tools for almost all social media platforms.
Using Hootsuite you can do everything from tracking multiple social media accounts and news feeds, to even scheduling when a status update or Tweet goes live. That’s right, you can actually set up a notification ahead of time to coincide perfectly with the launch of a new product, news story or update. Hootsuite also offers a wide variety of mobile apps to let you use their great features on the go.
What about you? What apps are you using for your small business or startup? I’d love to hear your stories below.