Essential business tools and apps for start-ups
Bryan Santone, H Two Consulting Inc., Toronto, ON
There are several valuable business tools and apps that have been tremendously helpful to the success of my healthcare management consulting company (and relevant to any business). My top picks are:
- Dropbox has simplified file access, sharing, and backup across all of my devices (Macbook Pro for work, PC at home, iPhone, iPad). You can start using it for free, and expand usage (for free) by inviting friends or colleagues to sign-up. Eventually you may have to pay based on how big your storage requirements are.
- Doodle provides a fast and easy way to schedule events for free. This app saves a lot of time and frustration when I have had to schedule meetings with one or many people. It also connects directly to my outlook calendar. Invy is another efficient scheduling option.
- Meetings.io offers free face-to-face online meetings without the need to install software, join a social network, or to add contacts. This is also great to have for team meetings or to collaborate through screen sharing.
- All Conference Calls. Major phone carriers charge a small fortune for a teleconferencing line and All Conference calls has been an effective lower cost alternative.
- Through Zite I have built a personalized magazine with the power to continuously adapt the content I see, based on my personal and professional interests and in real time. Zite has been an effective tool to help me stay informed about information that directly impacts my business, or that of my clients.
- With Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and too many other social media tools to manage, Hootsuite has provided an efficient platform to make sense of the complexities of having multiple accounts. Buffer is another useful tool for scheduling social media posts and analyzing results.
- Wave Accounting is a free and easy-to-use online accounting software that offers my business partner; bookkeeper; accountant; and me, quick real-time access to my financial information from anywhere. Freshbooks is another cost-effective option that many of my colleagues in start-ups use.
I also interviewed my colleague Dimitri Gnidash, who is a seasoned developer and entrepreneur. He recommends:
- Unbounce is a great tool to quickly launch your online presence without having to spend money on developers (initially). It is similar to Launchrock, but provides more flexibility regarding content.
- PiplelineDeals is a great tool to organize and manage leads, deals etc. and is more manageable than Salesforce.
- For entrepreneurs building a web or mobile company, Heroku provides a cloud-based application platform to deploy and scale apps. Parse is another powerful tool for mobile apps.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the tools and apps available in today’s market, but it will definitely get you started and will be extremely valuable along your path to success.