One of the most famous quotes by Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happiness states that “if you want something, go get it. Period”. For an entrepreneur, failure and success is a never-ending rollercoaster.
And data shows that the roller coaster has a tendency towards mobility: the total number of digital nomads who manage their business remotely is expected to reach 1 billion by 2035. To aid those who love combining business with leisure, here are three online business tools solopreneurs can use to be more productive.
Project management and collaboration
The most important aspect when working remotely is the ability to visualize the process, independent of a startup product development or a service-based business. The best way to do that is to have access to a tool which doesn’t just aid in managing a project, but also facilitates communication. As a must for online business tools, a good project management, and communication solution should have the following functions:
1. Project timeline overview, where users can plan, foresee and modify ETAs and deliverables;
2. Cloud integration, which allows the user to upload links, files and connect the cloud to the tool for a fast, reliable exchange;
3. Task creation and time&date logs that facilitate the actual work and milestone achievements of a user;
4. Easy communication and notification system between users, where users can call each other just by adding an “@” mention, followed by username;
5. User-friendly design, easy to follow, learn and interact with. Usually, colors and backgrounds make the remote work environment seem livelier and less lonely;
6. Freemium and premium options, which ensure privacy of data and information displayed or shared inside the project management tool;
7. Mobility, through good web and app versions, as well as email integrations to always stay connected.
Examples of great tools you can use for either individual or team purposes: Trello, Wrike, Asana, Glip, Bitrix24.
Brand and reputation management
Speak about yourself before others do. The world doesn’t ever stop, so ideally take a hold of your brand and reputation from day 1. What to look for in such a tool:
1. It handles multiple social media channels, including the most popular ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, GooglePlus;
2. Allows tracking and stats for each social media platform;
3. Facilitates sharing, commenting and replying in a timely manner;
4. Does not have a history of data breaches and protects user privacy;
5. Has a CRM system incorporated that is easy to use in handling customer requests;
6. Has a user-friendly UX interface so that the user saves time by using it;
7. Can be linked to an emailing tool, to facilitate communication with customers and leads;
8. Has a premium version and a blog which is constantly updated with software updates.
Examples of great tools include Hubspot, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SalesForce CRM, Act-on, Mention.
Payment processing and intelligent banking
The accounting and payment processing aspect is highly important for any remote business, from how to pay your collaborators to how to get paid by your clients. Most tools contain invoicing solutions, project ETAs, Gantt diagrams and accounting features. Tools that can handle payment processing include Quick Books, Fresh Books, Due.com, Paypal for Business etc.
In regards to intelligent banking, this area is still under development by independent startups and international banks undergoing service innovation. In an attempt to revolutionize the payment collaboration landscape, startups such as NextPayments are working on a new ATM and banking system for teams (employees and contractors). The user management technology grants a unique log on for each user, control access to multiple functions depending on role, a configurable user access platform and much more. The technology is briefly explained in this video. For the moment, the technology is available only in Australia and New Zealand, however, this can become soon available in countries worldwide.
Here are additional ways to make working remotely a total win for you, besides the online business tools mentioned above:
1. Solid WiFi and broadband connection;
2. World clock availability: set your times to fit with everyone involved in your business, from clients to collaborators. If that isn’t possible, work out a schedule that works for everyone;
3. WhatsApp, Skype, and Email access, for immediate urgent matters or simply an easier way to stay connected when time zones don’t match;
4. Reliable business devices such as laptop, tablet, and smartphone, seasoned with a good external battery for safety measures; an app that spots the best nomad places and coffee shops;
5. Motivational and inspirational videos for when things get tough.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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