So I'm running a (very) early-stage startup.
There are 3 of us involved and we have just launched our second MVP.
We have most of the key information relating to the project within u/Notion which does a good job at showcasing product vision, goals etc.
My question is are there any other tools that (primarily the CEO's out there) you would recommend to articulate and then manage the product vision amongst the team? (Particularly the wider team such as advisors, devs etc.)
I am finding it particularly challenging managing acquisition goals, marketing etc using just Notion. It's not very visual and I'm curious to know if there are supplementary tools anyone would recommend for such tasks?
As always, thanks for your time!
– I'm a young CEO of a proptech start-up.
– Im not the tech guy, I'm the sales and "Do what ever it takes" guy.
We are a team of 5 people. 3 are software engineers, one UX designer and me.
Im having a really hard time sprintplanning and getting them to comitt and finish their task on a weekly basis.
I know all of them a competent and can learn anything if they apply themselves.
How can I help them plan, comitt and execute their tasks? What's a good definition of done?
As a business owner, you have a full plate. But, did you know that you can free-up your most valuable asset by automating tedious and redundant tasks? I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have the budget or knowledge to afford such luxuries. But here are 14 business tasks that can be automated.
In reality, these tools are affordable and user-friendly. And, this small investment will save you time and energy so that you can focus on your priorities.
Not sure where to start? Well, here are 14 business tasks that can be automated. You’ll thank us later.
1. Scheduling appointments.
Whether it’s trying to figure out when to have dinner with friends or book an important meeting with a client, scheduling appointments can be like pulling teeth. You suggest a date and time, only for the other party to throw out a completely different option. Next thing you know, you’re engaged in an elaborate game of cat and mouse.
Thankfully, with calendar scheduling apps that’s no longer a problem. Simply share your calendar with others through email or embed it onto your website. Now they can see when you’re available and select a date and time that works from them. The event is then automatically added to everyone’s schedules.
Moreover, you can make appointments with yourself, such as blocking out time for your priorities. It’s a safe way to guarantee that you won’t book something else during that timeframe.
And, better yet, tools like Calendar use machine learning to see how you’re spending your time. It will then make smart suggestions on how to schedule meetings so that those dog days of going back-and-forth are over. It’s pretty much-putting scheduling appointments on autopilot.
2. Master your to-do-list.
Are to-do-lists flawless? Of course not. But, they can still come in handy when planning how to spend your time. And, this is most true when your list has been prioritized.
As you’ve probably guessed, automation can help you make your lists mare effective. In turn, you’ll be able to conquer it. And, as you cross items off, you’ll want to keep that momentum going. In short, mastering your to-do-list will make you a lean, mean productivity machine.
If you use a tool like Zapier, then you could convert emails, notes, Slack messages, or form submissions into to-dos. Microsoft’s Flow automates workflows, while Focuster will add items from your to-do-list to your calendar.
3. Sorting and responding to emails.
According to a survey from Adobe, respondents “said they spend approximately five hours a day checking work email (three-plus hours a day) and personal email (two-plus hours a day).” That’s bonkers. And, just imagine how out of control your inbox would get if it wasn’t effectively managed!
Automation allows you to eliminate annoying emails or newsletters that are no longer relevant — thanks Sanebox and Unroll.me. You can also create canned responses in Gmail. And, most importantly there’s email automation where create emails that will reach the right people at the right time. For example, if someone placed an order with your company, they would receive an automatic message thanking them for their order and what steps to take next.
4. Posting to social media.
If you want to spread brand awareness, promote events, and engage with your audience, then you need to be active on social media. However, just like email, this can become a time-consuming task as you may get drawn into the rabbit hole of sharing, commenting, and liking.
Solutions like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to schedule social media in advance. You can also use chatbots to deliver immediate responses. And, tools like Sprout Social can curate content and generate real-time reports.
5. Filling out online forms.
It may not seem like it. But, constantly filling out forms online can be a drag. Just think about how much time you waste plugging in the same information again and again. If you use Chrome, then the Big G will fill out forms automatically for you. But, you can also use RoboForm.
Both of these options are secure. And, they’ll also remember and manage all of your passwords passwords so that you don’t have to search for or reset them.
6. Data back-up.
When I was younger and more naive, I didn’t think about backing-up more computer’s hard drive. Sure enough, it crashed and everything I had on there was lost.
That’s not really a concern today. Most cloud services, whether if it’s Google, Apple, Dropbox, or Carbonite, will automatically back-up your data. That should definitely give you some peace of mind at night.
7. Recruiting and hiring.
Full disclosure here. You will have to actually speak with potential hires. But, automation makes this process a whole lot easier. For instance, with ZipRecruiter you could send out a job description to multiple job search sites at once.
Additionally, tools like Yello can be used to screen candidates and speed-up the interview process. And, since you’re already using scheduling tools, this can also simplify scheduling interviews.
8. Creating proposals.
“Generating a new proposal from scratch can be tedious and exhausting,” writes Sujan Patel over at Inc.com. “Plus, with so many people involved, getting a proposal approved and out the door can sometimes take forever.” And, with so much back-and-forth going on, quality can also take a hit.
“But by investing in proposal management software, such as PandaDoc, you’ll be able to consolidate all of your proposal tasks in one place,” Patel adds. “This will allow you to seamlessly coordinate with sales, marketing, legal and others and avoid confusion that could lead to issues.”
“Within the system, you and your team can also create templates so that you won’t always have to start from scratch,” says Patel. “With a streamlined system, you’ll create better proposals in less time.”
9. Document collecting and auto signature.
Regardless if you have full-time employees or a team of freelancers, there will be times when you need to gather documents and electronic signatures. Sending out reminders can be tedious. And, if you need this information by an exact date, it can also be stressful — think gathering all essential documents during tax season.
Moreover, you may need to have a vendor sign a contract or deal with client intake forms. Long story short, chasing documents, while necessary, is a huge drain on your time. Platforms like Integrify will automatically gather documents for you. Meanwhile, Docusign will automatically digitize important paperwork. It will also send out reminders via email.
10. Invoicing and billing.
We all have bills to pay, like rent, utilities, or payroll. Instead of manually writing checks like your grandparents once did set up automatic bill pay. As an added perk, it ensures that you’ll never be late or forget about paying a bill — which could result in your getting hit with hefty late fees.
Additionally, if you have recurring invoices, you can use a wide range of platforms to send out your invoice. Besides saving you time, it also can help you get paid faster.
Even if you aren’t handing your finances automation can at least free up some of your accountant’s time.
11. Lead nurturing.
The last thing that you want to do is waste your valuable trying to sell your product or service to someone who will never purchase it. That’s why gaining and retaining your leads is so clutch. At the same time, it can also be extremely time-consuming.
With automation, you can quickly respond to inquiries, assign inbound leads to sales reps, follow-up, and segment your leads. After gathering this information, it can automatically be put into a database so that you can pinpoint where they are in the sales funnel.
HubSpot, Act-On, and Marketo are some solid options for nurturing and converting leads.
12. Sales and marketing.
Arguably, the most profitable use of automation is assisting you with sales and marketing. After all, it’s impossible to stay in business when you don’t have cash flowing in.
When it comes to sales, automation can:
- Set a framework for your sales pipeline.
- Help you determine and focus on your hottest leads.
- Remain engaged with prospects who aren’t ready to buy.
- Welcoming new clients and customers.
Also, it can encourage repeat sales by reminding customers about abandoned carts and when their supply is running low. It can also suggest new products or services that they might be interested in based on past purchases.
13. Customer service and engagement.
Keeping your customers happy is a crucial part of running a business. Besides building loyalty, it can also help attract new customers through referrals and word-of-mouth.
Chatbots, as previously mentioned, can be used to address customer inquires in real-time — even during off-hours. It’s even being anticipated that by 2020, 85% of interactions without human interaction. Bold 360 and Drift are just two tools that can handle this task.
Furthermore, with so much data at your disposal, you can send personalized offers, content, and reminders to your existing customers. You could even attach surveys after a sale to gather much-needed feedback on how to improve.
There are a lot of sales and marketing automation platforms that can assist you in this area. Examples would be Constant Contact for email marketing automation, Keap for CRM, and BuzzPortal for customer engagement.
14. Update contact information.
How embarrassed are you when you call a contact only to be informed that they no longer possess this number? What if you sent out an email and it was returned?
People are constantly changing their contact info. And, if you aren’t on top of that, then you may have a contact book full of outdated information. Addappt addresses this by updating your contact information whenever it’s been changed.
There are some other cool features too, such as birthday and anniversary reminders. And, Addappt will also keep you updated on your contact’s weather conditions. You know. Just to remind them to bring an umbrella if it’s going to rain.
I have a potential business partner who is a software engineer but that's where it stops. He has 0 skills in business. Doesn't understand how business works or how any of the moving parts on the business side integrate with each other.
We were thinking of starting a company together with something related to tech but my concerns is that after he codes and creates the product and I bring the product to market and commercialize how do we start to work together moving forward?
If he doesn't understand how business works and just wants to stay in the computer room and code all day I don't see how that's feasible as there's more to a business than just coding?
Has anyone been in this position? I don't want to exclude him but from what I'm picturing I'm almost better off outsourcing someone to code the product and I take the whole project head on which is not what I want to do
I've been a freelancer for the E-commerce field and lead-generating for 2 years. I've gained some skills and experience to scale my knowledge and launch a startup. The idea is the following: focus on preparatory tasks of managers/owners, save their time for developing business, and leave the responsibility to manage freelancers or VA's.
Also, I'm developing a Slack App, so everyone can delegate a task in 5 minutes right in a workspace and case of daily tasks receive this done in 12 hours in the morning.
What tasks do you outsource to remote teams or VA's or you want to start doing this?
We already have clients and good cases but before our official launch, maybe I would add/remove some services
There're tasks I already offer to our clients:
Help Desk integration
Market and competitor research
Manual Data Migration
HR Recruitment at High Turnover Positions
Outsourcing will always be an entrepreneur’s best friend. However, many fail to understand the underlying benefits of outsourcing, like what to outsource, and how to maximize their efforts. Outsourcing is a tactical solution to reduce your company’s overhead expenses, while successfully scaling and delegating certain tasks to subject-matter experts.
As an entrepreneur, your day-to-day operations likely focus on strategy, fundraising and networking, more so than content creation, social media management, or payroll.
When you’re launching your business, you need to embrace the benefits of outsourcing and use them to your advantage to propel your business to new heights.
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What are the benefits of outsourcing?
- Access to top talent: While startups typically constrain themselves to only hire employees in their specific regions, outsourcing allows you to tap into a whole new pool of talent.
- Improved efficiency: Instead of focusing on every single detail of your business, your employees can now focus on the organization’s core competencies. A dialed-in focus will allow your organization to optimize its business process, which will reduce overhead expenses and labor costs.
- Retain control: As most entrepreneurs will attest to, growing your business is a complicated and delicate process. Outsourcing specific tasks allows you to retain control of your business and grow within reason.
- Reduce overhead expense: Since you are outsourcing specific tasks, you no longer need to allocate internal resources or hire additional employees for them.
- Experience growth: Ultimately, outsourcing will help your business grow.
To help you begin, consider outsourcing these five tasks to free up your time so that you can focus on crucial aspects of your business: growth, company culture and leadership.
- Social media
Entrepreneurs utilize social media to reach new customers while showcasing their products or services. But creating posts and building a loyal following takes time. Fortunately, outsourcing your social media efforts is one of the cheapest and easiest tasks to delegate to a reputable virtual assistant or firm.
The individual you hire for the job should be able to schedule and create posts, but more importantly, he or she should make sure they dedicate time to responding to comments and interacting with your followers. Since social media does not require technical knowledge, it is one of the cheapest tasks for you to outsource and the easiest to find quality talent.
Even as you begin to outsource your social media efforts, make sure you only focus on two to three platforms. Narrowing your focus will allow your paid contractor to focus, optimize and dial in on strategy.
- Content marketing
Creating content remains a challenge for many entrepreneurs. Creating content that engages your readers, showcases your product, and ranks in Google is even harder. Fortunately, when partnering with a reputable content marketing agency, these firms will create content that evokes emotion and creates a buzz around your product or service.
As most tech startups will attest to, creating an internal content team is difficult, because it requires significant capital investment, resources and valuable time. However, working with a content marketing agency will save you both time and money.
- Website development
If your website is not one of your startup’s core competencies, then there is no need to spend hours on end teaching yourself how to code in order to develop a subpar website. There are plenty of freelance web developers who you can hire to do so.
Remember, your website serves as a first impression. Don’t you want your website to stand out to your audience? Of course you do! So, it’s better to outsource this task to someone who is qualified. An experienced developer will optimize your website for SEO, speed, and above all, will ensure it is easy to navigate.
- Customer support
While it is essential to understand your customer’s needs, it can sometimes take hours to sort through feedback and respond to each issue. As you can imagine, hiring a full-time customer support specialist is expensive; but outsourcing your customer support efforts will save you time and will still allow you to receive candid feedback.
Make sure the person you hire regularly provides you with a one-page synopsis of the issues your customers have encountered. This feedback will allow you to understand their needs and will provide you with actionable information that you can then give to your product team.
- Public relations
All profitable businesses harness the power of renowned publications and media outlets to reach a new audience, establish authority, and to expand their brand further.
However, getting featured in large news outlets can be confusing and requires specific expertise. Instead of wasting time on figuring out how the complex media landscape operates, outsource these efforts to a reputable public relations firm or specialist.
To keep you focused during the earliest stages of entrepreneurship and to sustain your growth, you need to leverage outsourcing to your advantage. Outsourcing allows you to focus on core business competencies, team management, and will help you achieve growth at a breakneck speed.
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10 Startups Decided on For DGCA’s BVLOS Drone Tasks Daily Research Chronicles
“startups when:1d” – Google News
I run a digital marketing company. When I take on a new client there are certain tasks that I do for the first few months. Also, depending on how much they pay me, I do extra tasks each week.
- List of tasks required to finish for that client in checkoff form (like todoist), but, when I check the items off I want them to stay on the screen but with a line through them. That way I can remember that I completed that task for that client.
- This is really important, I want to be able to set up reoccurring tasks. For example, if (client 1) requires task A,B,C weekly then I would like to create reoccurring tasks each week, without having to manually create them every week.
What I am currently doing is using Todoist+google calendar, but its kind of clunky. I also use Trello but that's more for project management with my team.