Michelle HammondFollow on twitter www.startupsmart.com.au
Five tech tools for smart soloists
Operating as a soloist can mean working long and irregular hours, as well as in remote locations. With no one else to count on, sole traders need to have a handy set of tech tools to fall back on.
But where do you start? For example, is the new battle in mini tablets something you should be investigating? What smart apps should you be using? What devices will boost productivity?
StartupSmart spoke to a couple of tech industry experts to find out exactly what you need in your tech toolbox:
1. Cloud-based software
“Start-ups should be looking to run their business using software in the cloud so they have the freedom to access at any time, from anywhere with an internet connection,” says Adam Franklin, marketing manager of web strategy firm Bluewire Media.
“It is very compatible with the ‘lifestyle’ solopreneurs are after. Plus the costs are drastically reduced by using cloud software.”
Franklin’s favourite tools include Saasu (cloud accounting software), Highrise (customer relationship management), Google Docs (for Word processing and spreadsheets) and Google Analytics (for tracking).
Another favourite is Sprout, which, according to Franklin, is a great tool for managing all your social media profiles.
2. Mini tablets
According to Fred Schebesta, founder of Finder.com.au, you should only invest in a mini tablet if you’re always on the go.
“A key feature about tablets is that they are highly portable and you can easily take some business documents with you,” Schebesta says.
“Owners should be able to increase productivity while on the go. This may include checking large files or connecting to online apps such as Skype to communicate with clients.”
If you do intend to invest in a tablet, or any other mobile gadget, you need to ensure it is 4G-capable, Schebesta says.
“With some networks introducing 4G, the iPad mini can instantly stream videos, photos and audio wirelessly,” he says.
“If the tablet can’t access the programs you use in the office, it is not worth investing in. For instance, our team uses Google Docs and they can simply access the documents on a mobile device.”
“Research what apps are available that will help you improve productivity before investing in it.”
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“Evernote is a tool I use to record ideas when I’m on the run,” Franklin says.
“You can type notes on your phone, record voice memos or take photos to capture all the inspiring things you think of. Evernote also syncs with your laptop or desktop.”
According to Franklin, Basecamp is a brilliant project management tool, which improves productivity and streamlines communications.
“The best bit is all the to-ing and fro-ing in terms of communications during a project take place in Basecamp,” he says.
“It doesn’t clog up your inbox with multiple emails trails from all the different stakeholders.”
Dropox is an easy-to-use app that lets you take your work with you, Schebesta says.
“It works like any folder on your computer but can be shared and updated online. This is a great app to use when you need to access important files on the go,” he says.