When I was starting my company E2M, the set of organizational tools I used kept me from drowning in all the work. Since then, faster, better and cooler tools have made their presence felt. The right time can save a lot of tears, so here’s my pick of the top four tools that a budding startup can use to accelerate their game to the next level.
Sway is one of Satya Nadella’s new gambles and by the looks of it, it’s a pretty sweet one. Positioned as an app that lets you “build and share a polished, interactive web-based canvas of your work,” it comes across as PowerPoint Lite.
Sway lets you create a web enabled presentation from your iPhone, tablet or laptop and offers the trademark clean and pleasing visuals that Microsoft is becoming known for. Sway is easy to use, with drag and drop functionality for text, images and even Tweets. Sharing is easy via email, messaging or social media and any changes made to the original document are synced to the cloud version automatically.
Give this nifty little tool a spin the next time you want to present some thoughts to your team or are meeting up with a client and have little time to put into a full-length PowerPoint presentation.
2. Screen Recorder.
No startup owner is a stranger to the millions of screenshots of your website or app that you are forced to keep taking and sharing with people both inside and outside your organization. While a lot of us make do with the "Print Screen" option on our laptops or a screen-grab browser extension, there’s very little in terms of choices when it comes to a well thought out, multi-featured screen capture tool.
Enter Screen Recorder from Icecream Apps. This tool captures still shots, records videos, grabs video game play and lets you make annotations on the captured items with ease. My favorite feature is saves the captured screenshots to the clipboard, letting you share it live on Skype during a conference call with a client or a potential investor. It even generates a URL for your screenshot if that’s how you prefer to share it with others. Best of all, it’s free!
We all work our behinds off every single day trying to get our brand new startup to the top of every relevant Google search there is. Trouble is we often don’t know what keywords our target audience is using and how we rank for those elusive keywords.
RankTrackr takes care of these fundamental issues surprisingly smoothly. Not only does it do an excellent job of providing you with updated rankings for your site both at a local and the global level, RankTrackr also tells you about the potential of keywords and provides you with advanced local tracking abilities, such as local map listings. You can track your competitors’ search rank, figure out the trends in your rankings over a defined period of time, and allow team members access to the data with multiple user logins. In a first-ever, the tool even offers you rankings for your YouTube videos and Google Places.
This is not a new tool per se, but it’s still a keenly effective one. HARO or "Help A Reporter Out" is a fantastic way to get your website or business talked about in local or national media, for absolutely free.
The entire system works on a symbiotic relationship between a reporter or journalist who needs new things to write about and a business that needs the extra visibility. As an entrepreneur, use HARO to reach out to journalists and offer them original content, latest industry news or even your own take on how a recent event will affect your industry at large. If your idea resonates with the reporters, they will offer you visibility in the form of a quote and a reference to your business.
It’s a weird mix of exciting, scary and just painfully tiring to launch your own startup. When the hours on the clock seem too few and the tasks on your to-do list seem endless, you’ll be glad you have a support system that helps you keep chugging along just fine.