So, you want to be an entrepreneur?
It’s an exclusive club that requires grit and determination – as well as a willingness to fail, coupled with an unyielding desire to succeed. If you’re determined to set out on your own path to the finish line, you’ll want to start the race strong, and that means arming yourself with the right tools and resources to boost your odds of success.
“Beyond perfecting the product or service, hiring excellent team members, and securing financing, an owner must dedicate care and attention to building an organized and systemic approach to running the actual business,” according to Forbes contributor Alexandra Mayzler, the founder and director of Thinking Caps Tutoring.
Here’s what every aspiring entrepreneur should have in their arsenal – resources and tools that will help you achieve a more organized and systematic approach to key activities:
1. A method to document ideas.
Entrepreneurs have ideas. They make lists, and they take notes – lots of notes. That means you need an efficient method for tracking your ideas, tasks, plans, and notes.
If you prefer the pen and notebook method and it works for you, great. If you’re not firmly attached to your traditional notebook and want to embrace the digital lifestyle, an app like Evernote, Wunderlist, or Trello might become your favorite go-to documentation and tracking tool. Whatever method or tool you opt for, choose one that works for you and be consistent.
2. A portfolio of projects, accolades and more.
As an entrepreneur, you might be your own boss, but you still need a professional resume of sorts, an About.me page, or a personal brand website. Why? It serves as an introduction to other professionals, potential investors, clients, and the like to quickly provide a summary of your background and expertise. In short, it lends credibility and provides a simple way to introduce yourself and why you’re worthy of a meeting or consideration with potential strategic partners.
3. Business invoices, contracts, and proposals software.
As an entrepreneur, you’re inevitably going to need to generate invoices, execute contracts, and send proposals. For example, when it comes to contracts, some entrepreneurs opt to have an attorney craft templates they can customize for specific purposes, while others turn to technology and use tools such as Motiv to quickly generate these important (yet time consuming) business documents.
4. Customer relationship management tools.
Entrepreneurship means building relationships and growing your network, whether your ultimate goal is to establish a team of advisors for a startup venture or establish clients for your business. There are many customer relationship management (CRM) systems that help you centralize important contacts and keep vital information close at hand, such as Contactually, which provides context such as previous interactions and social media posts to help you personalize your interactions and build better relationships.
5. Affordable legal services.
From setting up a corporation or LLC to creating or reviewing binding legal contracts, even solopreneurs will eventually find themselves in need of legal services. Fortunately, you don’t have to lawyer up with a pricey local business attorney. With services such as Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom, entrepreneurs can get most business needs addressed affordably and easily.
6. Remote collaboration tools.
Important meetings with key stakeholders, clients, or team members dispersed across the globe no longer mean everyone has to hop on a red-eye flight to convene at a hotel conference room.
Now, you can be just as productive as you would in a face-to-face setting with online meeting and collaboration tools like Join.me, which allows you to share your screen with other people on the call so they can visualize what you’re conveying as if they were there by your side. Slack, a cloud-based team collaboration tool, is also a popular go-to app.
The entrepreneurial lifestyle will introduce you to thousands of tools, resources, and methods. Over time, you’ll refine your entrepreneurial toolkit to suit your specific needs. These six essential areas, and associated tools, will help you establish systems for your business quickly and easily.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Maple Cabot has made a career out of encouraging others to follow their dreams in all aspects of life. Her experience in the business world encouraged her to start her own blog, an inspiration hub for readers everywhere. Connect with @maplecabot on Twitter.
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