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5 Must-Have Tools for the Organized Entrepreneur (Part I)
My mind runs faster than my fingers can carry me. I have a thousand ideas, a full calendar (life, business, volunteer work) and a task list that keeps me on my toes. If you’re an entrepreneur, this might sound vaguely familiar. I, like my clients, need technology to step in and help me keep things straight.
Essential tools for business owners? Let me tell you a few of my favorites. Why do we need these things? Allow me to elaborate:
A smartphone is my virtual assistant, right in my pocket. I can be reached when it’s necessary, and screen calls when I’m occupied. My phone fits in my bag or pocket, and it’s always handy when I need to take a note, shoot off a quick email or phone call. It’s a convenience that, to me, is indispensable for an on-the-go entrepreneur.
If you’re not backing up your laptop or desktop, you’re baiting disaster (and possibly a mental breakdown.) A few days ago, I started up my computer, and got the “blue screen of death” (ok, it was gray, but you know what I mean). Something was amiss with my beloved laptop workhorse.
I went through the motions, and as it was processing the “fix it” mode, I started to think. “What if it doesn’t come back up? What if I fried it? What if a small bug got in there and died right on my hard drive, messing it up for all eternity? What if....”
Then, I remembered, I have backup. I subscribed to this service two years ago. It works in the background, saving everything I make or modify in my laptop memory. So, what would happen if my laptop went belly up? I would get it fixed or replace it, and restore my files with a few clicks of my (new) mouse.
Why do you need backup? Why wouldn’t you?
I bet you have more than a handful of passwords. I’ll be honest, I die a little inside when someone says to me, “Oh, I remember my password: it’s all the same...” Wait. Did you really just say that?
Say it with me: “Having the same password for everything is an invitation to the ‘bad guys’ to take over.” It’s a bad idea, K? If keeping track of a list of passwords seems daunting (and an index card isn’t cutting it), let me put your mind at ease. Get yourself a good password manager (some of them even generate tricky passwords) and rest easy. My favorite has a password protecting my password list.
Some like a notebook, which is all well and fine. Problem for me is, I don’t always have that notebook on my person when a good idea hits. Keeping a program that works between your smartphone (see above), desktop/laptop and online is a sneaky little way to catch those great business ideas before they vacate the inner chambers of the mind. Get them out of your head and capture them in a medium allowing you to get at them at a later date.
I fought this one for a while. I knew I needed to keep up with clients, contacts and other important people, but I couldn’t find a solution that was “right sized” for my business. I did some research, and found a great service that fit my needs. Why do you need a contact manager? I’ve been able to keep tabs on clients, follow up when I said I would, and close more sales. It’s all those good intentions and information I had floating around in a few different places. Now, that information is working for me.
Brandie Kajino is a small business technology expert, consultant, author and dynamic speaker. Empowering clients with information, tools, technology and simple solutions is her specialty. For more information on her services, products, podcast & internet radio show and free blog articles, visit sohosolutionist.com.
Read additional business articles on StartupNation.com.
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