Top 5 online tools for entrepreneurs to stay organized
Discovering technologies with the potential of helping entrepreneurs increase the productivity of their business or future startup
By: Marlon Gomez, Staff Writer
If you were to rate the productivity of your business, how good would the score be? We are not referring to the rate at which goods and services are exchanged. No, we are simply asking how productive is your staff when it comes to everyday activities that each company must perform in order to stay in business?
If a long pause took place before being able to answer that question, then I suggest you take the time to read this article. As the world of business moves forward, you (the entrepreneur) must maintain a strong work ethic. Even though, many entrepreneurs love the idea of being extraordinary multi-taskers, the reality is that multi-tasking can be incredibly unproductive. As a business grows, you should not be striving to accomplish everything on your own. Sorry if we burst anybody’s bubble, but do not worry because Arbitrage wants to help.
So how can productivity increase around the office? Some might suggest hiring more staff, while others will say work harder. Well here at ARB we think a little different… we say embrace technology! Technology has the capacity and brilliance to enhance the daily productivity of a business immediately.Fine, we know you are really busy designing a new idea or running a business to spend some quality time researching websites and gadgets, so we went ahead and did some digging for you!
According to the Canadian government, “just over half of Canadian businesses survive their first five years of operation”. (Eileen Fisher)
So why is Arbitrage Magazine telling you about this statistic? Because we want you to be part of the 50 percent that make it! Being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park and we know that. So we want to suggest and explain how certain websites, software and gadgets can boost daily productivity. By doing this you will be able to focus on other areas which require more attention.
Prioritization can be the key to planning, executing, and achieving numerous projects on time. In order to complete an entire project, a business will typically break down what needs to be done in sections. Then the boss or acting managers decide what and when something needs to be done by. This sounds reasonable, right?
While this formula does work, there could be a way to fine tune this approach and accomplish more within a given time frame. As human beings, we experience stress, anger, forgetfulness, and many other factors that affect our productivity. Therefore, uncertainty should always be accounted for with every project. Well that is exactly where LiquidPlanner comes into play.
Regardless of how big a project is, or how much is at stake, LiquidPlanner is the perfect tool to make sure tasks are being completed. LiquidPlanner is a cloud based predictive project management software that can be molded to the needs of any business.
The concept and design of this software is extremely user friendly and does not require gruesome hours of training. Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson (the Co-Founders of LiquidPlanner) designed an online workspace that enables companies to track the performance of a business. This online workspace can hold up to hundreds of projects and thousands of tasks all in one unified portfolio.
The portfolio is organized into three packages: Planning, Ready to go projects, and Active projects. The program works on a per-user system, meaning every employee in the office has access to the portfolio.
By granting employees this access, they can individually track what projects they should be working on, and how much time they have left to finish.
LiquidPlanner makes planning easy by following a unique three step guideline. One, the program uses Priority Based Scheduling. This means that no two items in LiquidPlanner have the exact same priority. Things near the top of the list get scheduled first. This clearly communicates to the team what is important. The second step is Ranged Estimates. This step provides the estimated time of when a task will be completed. The software automatically incorporates uncertainty into the estimated time frame, and in particular it displays two numbers instead of one.
For example, if a marketing campaign takes three days (3d: one number) to complete, LiquidPlanner, on the other hand, will say it takes two to four days (2d-4d: two numbers). The third and final step is Automatic Scheduling. LiquidPlanner uses advanced math known as algorithms to produce estimates, and create an incredibly realistic schedule. Despite vacations or delays, the program will take all of these factors and many more into consideration to come up with the best possible estimate of when a project or task will be completed.
Arbitrage Magazine had the opportunity speak with LiquidPlanner’s CEO, Liz Pearce, to discuss what small businesses should focus on in order to succeed. Here’s what she had to say:
“I think that for small businesses one of the most important things to come across, is that you have such limited resources. You really have to make sure that every hour that you are spending is on something that is really going to move the needle for your business. And if you have a better insight into how long things take, then you can make better decisions.”
One last interesting note to mention about LiquidPlanner is their emphasis on education. The company allows students from high school, university etc, to use their software for free! Simply fill out the form on their website and provide an explanation as to how/why their software could be beneficial to your academics. Go ahead! Take advantage of their project management tool if you are an entrepreneur and still attending school!
Cost: $29 Monthly.
Katherine Hague (CEO/Co-Founder of Shoplocket) understands how crucial it is to have a productive business model. This innovative 22 year old has successfully launched a website that allows small and intermediate businesses to sell products, without the risk and investment of a store front. This genius idea provides a sleek and professional platform for to thousands of users to start selling right away.
The minute an account is opened with Shoplocket, their team is at your disposal to help with the sale of your product. Picture them as them your tech-savy sales team. Shoplocket can show you how to use the web as an additional staff member.
So, how will the use of this website raise productivity? By granting your product a virtual presence. Katherine and her team are dedicated to making “imbedded ecommerce” a success. Through imbedded ecommerce “Shoplocket now makes selling products from any blog, social network or website just as easy as sharing a photo or video” (Shoplocket).
Shoplocket will fit right into it any website without having to redesign the website that is already in place. They can even assist with posting a product on any existing social website such as facebook and twitter. Moreover, Shoplocket has the capability of being mobile, so time can be maximized even while on the road.
We had a chance to speak with Katherine and here is what this entrepreneur had to say with regards to how shoplocket can help your business thrive:
“I’d say that we are changing this expectation that commerce needs to be hard.