The 4 Must-Use Tools to Help Virtual Teams Remain Focused As technology grows remote co-founders, employees and contractors are becoming more common. Here are a few tricks to keep the team on the same page.

By Sarah Haselkorn

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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As technology grows and accommodates it, remote co-founders, employees and contractors are becoming more common. My startup team is no exception. My two partners live full time in St. Louis, while I reside in sunny Miami. We all have our own lives -- some of us have other jobs and kids -- but we manage to communicate and co-work using an eco-system of tech tools. Each tool serves a unique purpose, and they work together to keep us connected and focused.

Related: 10 Ways to Successfully Manage Virtual Teams

1. iMessage

No one considers this a stand-alone app, but it's a highly underrated system for small teams. In this day and age, we are all on our cell phones all the time, so it's always the fastest way to reach each other. We use iMessage for quick questions, words of encouragement, and as a way to constantly pump each other up for the journey ahead.

2. Dropbox/Google Docs

It's almost impossible not to mention these two giants. Dropbox serves as a data dump for us -- a way to archive social content like photos and to access files on the go. When we're really collaborating on a project, like an application, Google Docs serves us better due to the ability to collaborate in real-time.

3. Asana

I truly can't visualize our progress without our digital to-do list. Asana is a highly robust tool for task and project management, allowing you to assign various items to individual team members, set due dates and request updates from each other. It's useful for individual task lists and drives efficiency and accountability within a small team.

Related: 5 Must-Ask Questions When Recruiting A Virtual Team

4. Shopify

This incredible platform drives our entire ecommerce business forward. The ease of use has made launching and running an ecommerce business completely seamless. I can monitor our conversion rates and sales remotely while Tim and Chris fulfill orders out of our headquarters in St. Louis. I can see when an order has been filled on the back end, without anything but my iPhone.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. DocuSign for signatures, Facebook Pages for social media, HootSuite to monitor all social channels and the list goes on. While there are a dozen apps that make our business possible, these four are the backbone of our remote startup that we truly could not live without. Working remotely has its challenges, and we all look forward to the moments we get to spend together working and growing as a team, but technology allows us to charge ahead from afar with minimal setbacks.

Related: 4 Effective Ways to Manage a Remote Team

Sarah Haselkorn

Entrepreneur and Investor; CTO, Unfettered Socks

Sarah is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where she studied systems engineering and entrepreneurship. During her junior year she opened Green Bean, an eco-healthy salad restaurant. She is now in the midst of launching her second business, a line of performance-focused men's business socks: Unfettered Socks. She was a finalist in the Entrepreneurs' Organization's Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in 2012. Find more about her on her website.

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