One of the great things about the Internet age is that there are now so many tools available to help us to create and run our own business, without having to rely on all sorts of middlemen and large systems and institutions, in order to get things done.
And it turns out, that many of us have been taking full advantage of these tools, and the fact that it is now arguably easier than ever before to start up a business venture. Entrepreneurship has been exploding recently, with more and more people seizing control of their professional destinies, and often becoming location-independent into the bargain.
So, if you’re planning to start your own small business – or, if you already have started one and want to make it thrive – here are a few cool tools that can help you out.
Accounting and financial management software
Accounting software, and financial management software and services in general can help to make one of the most potentially irritating and disheartening parts of any business venture into a relative walk in the park.
Tools such as Quickbooks help you to consolidate all of your expense information in one easy-to-manage location, where you can then review it at a glance – when it comes time to file your tax returns, or whenever you need to do an overview of spending habits in order to properly chart a course forward.
Additionally, budgeting and financial management tools that are oriented more towards personal use, can also have a significant set of knock-on benefits for your business. The highly acclaimed cloud-based budgeting tool, You Need a Budget, can help you to adopt a radically more productive and healthy attitude towards your finances, in general.
As an entrepreneur, there is unlikely to be a very clear divide between your personal and professional finances – at least, in the short term. Instead, poor budgeting, impulsive spending, and an inability to manage your personal financial resources, is likely to have a tremendously negative impact on your professional prospects, too.
Tool such as YNAB can, therefore, help you to get into a routine of tracking your finances effectively, and sticking to your budget plans, and can leave you with a lot more money at the end of the month to spend on your business, as well as on your personal projects and goals.
One of the good things about working in a conventional office environment is that you will have bosses and supervisors to keep an eye on you and to “motivate” you to stick to your schedule, and remain productive throughout the day.
When you are an entrepreneur, however, things become a lot less clearly defined, and you have to be entirely responsible for managing your own time, and ensuring that you are able to maintain a high degree of structure and productivity.
If you miss your professional targets and goals as an entrepreneur, you’re not necessarily going to feel the “sting” immediately. But this is insidious, because by consistently failing to hit your targets and deadlines, your business is likely to collapse in on itself, rather than going from strength to strength.
Beeminder is one example of a popular, web-based personal accountability tool, and focuses on helping you to stick with your habits and routines of choice, or else face significant financial consequences as a result of failing to do so.
StickK is perhaps the best-known, and most popular service in this domain, and allows you to create “commitment contracts,” which involve you committing to achieve a certain goal by the certain target date, or else forfeit a pre-agreed upon sum of money.
These tools may seem slightly masochistic – and perhaps they are. But for many people, accountability measures like these can go a long way towards helping to maintain consistency, and to prevent them from slacking off in the pursuit of their goals.
Tools designed to stop you from procrastinating
Procrastination is a specific type of issue, that affects some of us a lot more than others.
But, whenever you are working from home, by yourself, you will find the temptation to procrastinate significantly greater than you would if you were in an office environment, and had to work collaboratively with the people directly surrounding you.
The problem with allowing yourself to drift off target for a while, and check social media, or else surf the web, or have a nap, is that it robs you of your momentum, your focus, and your ability to remain consistent. This, then, can absolutely sink your business as a whole.
Of course, however, there is a subset of digital tools that exist specifically to help to reduce the temptation to procrastinate and take it easy.
RescueTime is one such tool, and works by passively tracking how much time you spend using different apps, and visiting different websites, while at your computer. The service then sends you “productivity reports,” and can also be used to block distracting sites and services for set periods of “focused” time.
Focus-boosting music services
If you find that your mind is constantly wandering when you’re trying to get some work done, you may benefit from using focus-boosting music services, such as Brain.FM, and Focus@Will, in order to lull yourself into a sense of almost trance-like alertness.
Brain.FM claims to have built its playlist on the basis of various scientific findings, and many people report that having these tunes playing in the background works wonders in boosting their overall focus and productivity.
Task and project management services
Being an entrepreneur generally requires you to juggle a lot of different balls at once, and it’s often the case that entrepreneurs can find themselves becoming overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks and projects they have to attend to.
When you aren’t able to properly track and manage your tasks and projects, however, your productivity inevitably goes down, you can miss important deadlines, and you are just not in a great position overall.
Fortunately, an incredible array of digital tools exist specifically to help you to track your tasks and projects effectively. These tools include, among others, Todoist, Nozbe, and Microsoft To Do.
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have found these tips useful.
*This is a collaborative post