Using technology to streamline tasks is essential in business, but with all of the choices for products out there today, which platforms will truly simplify or even automate processes for you? From both the recommendations from peers and through trial and error, I have narrowed it down to what I believe is the essential digital toolbox for any entrepreneur, as follows.
With Webflow there is no need to be a developer, although it is helpful to have an understanding of HTML and CSS, it is an excellent website/prototype building tool ideal for designers and entrepreneurs. Webflow is a visual platform; you no longer have to imagine your code coming to life, as you drag and drop, you instantly get visual feedback. Webflow also has automated several of the tedious processes of web development including, click of a button responsive design and one click cloning for pages. You can animate and build your interactions without code and when ready to present your site, you are not stuck with static mockups but instead you can present a fully functional live website.
When developing a sales and marketing strategy who do you reach out to? DiscoverOrg has a team that does the work for you, compiling and verifying a database full of powerful decision makers in IT, Engineering, Product Development, Marketing and Finance. DiscoverOrg updates their database every 90 days, allowing you to get your marketing material to the right people. In March of 2016, DiscoverOrg launched its integration with Salesloft, the next of my recommendations for building and optimizing your marketing and sales strategy.
SalesLoft is an easy to use web-based tool to help you generate and organize sales leads. SalesLoft sources leads from LinkedIn, organizes them and allows you to email blast prospects and track open rates, click rates, replies and more. SalesLoft also integrates with your existing account lists and goes beyond email, tying into you social media and phone outreach as well. Whether you have an existing sales development team or are just starting up, SalesLoft offers the organization needed in this area in a user-friendly platform with measurable automation.
Another area that requires a high level of organization for any startup or early-stage company is raising capital. Foundersuite not only gives founders access to tools for planning and accelerating their funding process but a whole suite of tools for building a business from idea upwards. Foundersuite was built on over ten years of experience business consulting, with surveys and tools to test and refine your ideas, corporate documents to help structure your company, tools to monitor your competition, a progress tracker and so much more. If you are an entrepreneur with no experience in building your own business Foundersuite will give you what you need to get your idea off the ground including tools for funding pre-company.
When it comes to networking and marketing most businesses need a social media presence, the problem is the time that it takes to manage, monitor and engage on multiple platforms. Hootsuite offers a solution through their social media management platform in an easy to use dashboard that allows you to schedule, engage, manage and monitor multiple accounts in one place. Whether you are a social media novice or expert, the Hootsuite University offers instruction at all levels to help you optimize your online presence with their tools.
Once you are set up on social media, as an early-stage entrepreneur, how do you gain a following? After you reach out to your immediate network, try Crowdfire. Crowdfire is a user-friendly platform that allows you to strategically target new followers on Instagram and Twitter. With a click you can Whitelist accounts you wish to never unfollow and Blacklist accounts that you never want to follow. You can track follower activity and make sure that you are not following inactive accounts while using keywords to find followers with common interests or by location. When you look up other accounts, Crowdfire, provides insight into their followers and who might be interested in your account, allowing you to follow those users who are most likely to follow back.