As an entrepreneur it’s up to you to manage your time effectively and once you start growing your team, whether in a traditional office format or virtually (my preferred choice these days :) this becomes even more important... and difficult.
Over the years I have tested countless new programs and technologies and here is what I think are the best today:
A great tool for storing reference material
Evernote is a great tool for storing reference material. It’s free with a paid upgrade for additional features and more storage space, and allows you to quickly store information using the web clipper and access your information when you need it on any device.
The best sharing and storage solution for your business
Automatic Backups - check. Real time file sharing - check. File Synchronization between multiple computers - check. Team permission management - check. Easy to use - check. Cheap - check. Need I say more about Dropbox?
Create mock-ups fast using a simple drag-and-drop interface
Have you ever been in a position where you try to ‘explain’ what a website should look like to a web designer, had the designer assure you that ‘they get it’ and then deliver a design that is nowhere close to what you asked for? Yeah…me too. Fortunately, Balsamiq solves that problem.
In techie speak, Balsamiq is a “Rapid Wire Framing Tool”. In plain English, this is a simple tool for you to create mock-ups of your ideas. So rather than trying to explain what you want to a web designer you can quickly create a mock-up using Balsamiq’s simple drag-and-drop interface.
A terrific way to share and collaborate in real time!
I was skeptical of Google Docs at first and I still cringe at Google’s blatant disregard for copyright and intellectual property laws, but there is no denying that Google Docs is a terrific way to share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
If you have a virtual team, having the ability to both view and edit the same document in real time is very valuable!
The pioneer in online mind mapping tools
If you’ve never used mind mapping as a tool for brainstorming ideas, planning projects or demonstrating and training different concepts then you are missing out. Everyone I have introduced to mind mapping is blown away by its effectiveness and how easy it is using MindMeister.
MindMeister has been the pioneer in online mind mapping tools and has done a terrific job of integrating powerful features and real time collaboration while still keeping it simple. Plus there is a free option to get you started.
A good online project and team management platform
If you are managing a virtual team then a good online project and team management platform is a must. I’ve tested and used soooo many over the past few years and Basecamp is my favorite.
Basecamp may not be as complex or have as many features as some of the other solutions out there but it’s easy to use, reliable and cost effective. I’ve never had a project that I couldn’t manage with Basecamp.
A great tool to manage your to-do lists and tasks effectively
If you‘re looking for a great tool to manage your to-do lists and tasks effectively I would highly recommend Wunderlist. It’s a simple yet powerful task and to-do list management program that syncs all of your tasks and lists across all of your computers and devices.
For more complex projects that require detailed planning and collaboration I would recommend Basecamp (next on the list) but the fact is much of what we do in a business is task based and not project based. This is where Wunderlist comes in!