16 Entrepreneurs Share 16 Tools They Cannot Live Without In the chaos of starting up, tools can provide infinite value, and finding the ideal tools can be the "saving grace."
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In the thralls of startup battle, efficient teams figure out how to maximize their precious resources. Bootstrapping time, money and personnel effectively can be the difference between the teams that survive to battle another day, and the ones that don't. In this chaos we call entrepreneurship, tools can provide infinite value, and finding the ideal tools can be the "saving grace."
By the way, I watched a lot of Independence Day war movies this weekend, and it clearly rubbed off on my writing.
Recently, I created a private Facebook group for startup founders. We share insights and ideas, answer questions and work together to get better at entrepreneurship. The question, "What is one tool you couldn't live without?" was asked last week. These are some of the responses to that question.
1. Bidsketch -- my recommendation
This tool has saved me hours of compiling and creating proposals for my digital marketing company. Plus, I can see when a proposal is viewed, and can have the client sign digitally.
2. Awesome Screenshot Tool -- recommended by Naomi Simenoff Gold
"I use it for product troubleshooting, screenshot pics for my blog and a bunch of other activities. I use it hundreds of times a day."
I use this tool all of the time too, especially when grabbing screenshots of my Entrepreneur articles trending number one on the site (thanks to all of you)!
3. Invision -- recommended by Cassy Bee
"It helps me rapidly prototype, collaborate and get feedback from others on designs, features, etc. It's great for quick mockups."
Invision is my favorite tool of the year. I use it all of the time, and it's super beneficial when you're testing an app idea vs. guaging interest pre-development.
4. Coffee -- recommended by Ariane Stekol
"For obvious reasons!"
I don't personally drink coffee, but I consume one to two gallons of water per day. I live by this motto: if I'm not hydrating, I'm dehydrating. (There's a sarcastic undertone in that statement.)
Visit any of your local Starbuck's or Pete's, or 7-Eleven if you're real desparate.
5. Evernote -- recommended by Raakesh Sharma
"Brilliant to capture anything, anytime."
Check it out here.
6. Lead Pages -- recommended by Donna Wassing
"It's fun, creative and useful for creating landing pages."
7. Dropbox -- recommended by Mark Novosel
"It backs up everything and has saved me in the past when I've deleted a file version on my computer that I still needed!"
I use Dropbox when organizing web and mobile app projects, sharing files and helping my mom build her startup (Seriously. I have a post coming that addresses this topic).
8. Product Hunt -- recommended by Terry Li
"A curation of the best new products."
Product Hunt is great not only to find new tools, but you can use it to see what type of new products are being released to the wild for your own product development knowledge. It helps give a good pulse on the tech space.
9. Basecamp -- recommended by Allan Clinton
"We use it daily. Without it, project management would be difficult."
10. Pen and paper -- recommended by Rakesh Govan
"Sometimes the most complex ideas and strategies are formulated using these tools."
I use pen and paper for web design mockups, taking notes with clients and mocking up my dream home.
11. Wrike -- recommended by Braden Kale Heckman
"I trialed 44 different solutions for project management and Wrike is the very best!"
Might as well take Braden's word for it -- 44 trials is a lot.
12. Slack -- recommended by Emily Butler
"Slack is the best tool, ever, for collaboration."
Emily has never exaggerated in her life.
13. QuickBooks -- recommended by Crystal Manias
"I'd have no idea who owes me what, or how my company is actually doing without it."
I used to use QuickBooks, but now just use Bidsketch and Paypal.
14. Gunnar glasses -- recommended by Dilyar Askar
"Gunnars to protect my eyes from long hours of working online."
I've heard good things, but have never used them personally.
15. Music -- recommended by Peter Fishering
"My music, Jeff Lorber Fusion, Ronnie Laws, Miles Davis, The System and so many others."
I love music when I'm working. I have a much different taste. I listen to Pandora, SoundCloud and Spotify all throughout the day.
16. My dog -- recommended by Ariane Stekol
"Maybe not a tool (per se), but definitely my dog. Someone needs to look at you with love and belief knowing that you can do it."
Ariane is totally right. I love my dog too, and early on, she was my company's mascot. So go rescue a dog at your nearest pound!
It's been said that the journey is just as rewarding as the destination. I believe this holds true with startups. Yes, it can be a vicious battlefield out there iterating the perfect product, finding the elusive trove of users, uncovering the cache of paying customers, negotiating with sophisticated investors and managing and leading partners and employees, but it's your battle. Learn how to enjoy every moment of it, and the battle will provide you peace.
You can request an invite to my private Facebook group here with more than 6,000 other entrepreneurs honing their skills, providing strategy insight and sharing battle stories.