Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, student studying entrepreneurship, or corporate employee curious about working for yourself, you can benefit from learning how to use tools favored by entrepreneurs.
We talked to students, faculty, and alumni from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and asked them what they use in their daily work life so you can get ahead with your business.
Here is their list of the best tools for entrepreneurs:
Online Organization & Business Necessities
Slack is a necessity to their business to share work and keep information organized. Maybe you’re already using Slack, but are you using it effectively? Consider upping your Slack game by creating unique reactions, or channels just for the #funny.
Before the accounting needs of your business outpaces you, learn how to use Quickbooks. This platform is relatively intuitive and widely used, which means there are plenty of tutorials to help you get started!
Gusto is specifically made to provide human-resources support to growing businesses. Whether you need help with payroll, insurance, or hiring, Gusto has your back.
The classic from Google. But the classic for a reason — a superior interface that allows you to collaborate with your team and enhance project transparency. Go beyond Gmail and Google Docs and organize your drive, create presentations with Google Slides and survey who you need to with google forms.
Do you have more than one thing to do? If you’re a one-person team wearing multiple hats, or a remote team with a diversified skillset, Asana can help you stay organized. Asana is a task manager that lets you keep track of company goals, midsize projects, and daily tasks to ensure that your business stays productive.
If you have a consumer product that you want to be reachable on multiple platforms, consider setting up a Shopify online marketplace. Shopify will help you build your e-commerce presence across multiple channels.
Looking for a customer relation management tool that you can access anywhere? Salesforce is a cloud-based platform with multiple different features such as Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and Analytics Cloud to help you do everything from acquiring new leads to search engine optimization.
Validate your business and contracts by learning how to use DocuSign. You can even automate how you get the signatures you need!
The Physical World
Every person we interviewed had the same answer to their most used program or tool — email! We’re sure that you had an email account at the age of 13 and consider yourself proficient, but have you ever tried the inbox-zero method? Instead of simply keeping pace with your inbox, respond and plan around what is in your inbox before your workday or at the very end of the day. Inbox zero allows you to be proactive for the first meeting of the day — don’t do anything else until your inbox is zero.
An old-school task-management tool! If you work in-person or simply don’t want to use a digital platform, an agile board will be your best friend. On an open wall in your workspace create three columns titled “In-Progress,” “Complete,” and “Stuck.” Use sticky-notes with specific tasks written on them and place the tasks in the appropriate columns. Not only will this help you know exactly what you should be working on, but it will help you feel accomplished!
Again, a bit obvious, but easier said than done. People are often your best resource to answering questions that you will have about your business. Consider reaching out to professors at the university you attend(ed) or local businesses that you admire in your area.
Whether this be a running Google Doc, shared notes app, or hand-written journal, you need to document what your business is doing. Investors and future hires want to know what you do on the day-to-day and how you prioritize your tasks; when you’re in the middle of everything it can be difficult to recall exactly what you do. Keep a folder, journal, or online record of what your company is doing and when to form your documentation footprint.
Invest in an iPad to consolidate your notes, presentations, and work documents. Keep your work life separate from your personal computer without compromising on efficiency, power, or mobility.
Unfortunately, you can’t download or purchase this tool, you have to create it. Every individual we spoke with recounted the need for resilience in their past and present endeavors to navigate the unknowns that you will inevitably encounter. Learn early and quickly how you can get back up on your feet whether that be through self-care, mentorship, or planning.
Creativity & Problem Solving
Need to make a graphic? Want to send out an eye-catching email? Rather than turn to Photoshop or a freelancer, create what you need on Canva! Canva is free and is easy to use even for the most artistically challenged.
Facebook Creator Studio
The creator studio allows you to take your posting one step further and control visibility and monetization in one place!
Yes, the silly dancing app that Gen Z took hold of during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re skeptical about TikTok’s potential (or looking for inspiration on how to get started), just look at brands that are already dominating on the platform: The Washington Post, Red Bull, Chipotle, Spikeball, and Duoloingo!
Don’t know what to say in a blog post? Not getting responses to emails or social media posts? Copy.ai generates long and short form writing that you can customize to your needs and help you better engage with your audience.
When you’re looking for the answer to a technical question, turn to Reddit. When you’re looking for the answer to a non-technical question, turn to Reddit. Although the platform is open to anyone to post on (so you should be careful!), it oftentimes has individuals with the experience and insight who have already solved the problem to whatever you need.
If you’re new to the world of coding, this name might seem vaguely familiar. Stack Overflow allows you to look up commonly asked questions and find the answers to your coding queries. Any digital nomad with more than 1 script on their computer should have an account with them. And if you’re an unexperienced coder but curious about how to get started, Stack Overflow is a great resource to gain exposure to common languages like Python, R, C, and MATLAB.