Over the past few years I have stumbled into the world of tech startups. I’m still not quite sure how I ended up ensconced in the startup ecosystem, but here I am! Along the way, I have discovered some amazing tools that really do help startups and entrepreneurs operate as efficiently as possible.
As a baseline, any tool that I use should have immediate and tangible impacts on my life. So, after three years of experimenting and testing, here are my favourite tools for starting a small business and organizing your life.
Email is over. Trust me on this. Once you start using Slack you’ll see what I mean. Slack not only allows teams to collaboratively communicate in one place (goodbye endless email chains) but for the communication to be categorized by topic. I actually think that one of the most gratifying results of using Slack is its impact on team culture. Slack enables the team to continuously communicate in a single place, in a manner that resembles an organic conversation, leading to quicker decisions and more transparency. It’s amazing how quickly email falls by the wayside once a central place of dialogue can flourish.
Oh man, I love lists. I have tried every list building tool under the sun, and inevitably ended up resorting back to pen and paper… until Trello entered my life. I find that Trello most accurately recreates the user interaction of a notebook. You can drag and drop tasks between lists, move lists around, and even create lists of lists (yes!). On top of this, the ability to share lists and set deadlines for specifics tasks keeps me on top of life.
I know Gmail is standard by now, but I still find G Suite (including Docs, Sheets and Slides) to be relatively untapped. The fact that large companies are just beginning to pilot G Suite for corporate use blows my mind. Every single file created in Docs, Slides and Sheets can be edited by the entire team, at the same time, through your browser. And all changes are saved immediately. Let’s just take a second to think about that. No more signing files out or losing unsaved changes. Can you feel the anxiety just floating away?
Shopify is the Canadian (yay!) all in one, heavy hitting answer to your ecommerce needs. It combines an ecommerce shop with payment processing, inventory management and shipping. Shopify removes the logistical admin work that most entrepreneurs stumble through early on in the game, allowing you to focus on your business.
Super intuitive, and easy to set up, I actually rebuilt ShopLux with Shopify myself, in a matter of days. And it was a significant improvement over the previous custom site that took 3 months to build. I’ve noticed over the course of conversation with small business and shop owners, that there is an assumption that need a fancy custom site to establish an ecommerce presence. You don’t. You need Shopify.
Mailchimp is a fantastic, simple solution for newsletters. You can build an attractive newsletter with their drag and drop templates in minutes, and schedule them to deploy in the future. One of my favourite features is the multiple confirmation steps before an email is deployed, meaning you will never send a newsletter prematurely again (ahem). Bonus: Mailchimp easily integrates with Shopify, so you can start collecting newsletter sign-ups through your ecommerce shop out of the gate.