Starting a business is never easy and running is even more difficult. However, with the right resources and mindset your daily productivity can be managed.
Consider this a cheat sheet for all entrepreneurs who may not have the time to read thousand pages from a book, listen to hours of podcasts, or waste countless nights of sleep to watch a video. The abridged version of our entrepreneur resources is here to help you execute your vision. Every single line within this blog written with purpose and each resource is currently being used to grow, scale, and support our Penji ecosystem.
You see, entrepreneurship can be daunting, if you are like me, you might be too stubborn to reach out for a coach and rely heavily on the internet to tell you what to do. That level of commitment is commendable and I’m happy you chose this blog as an investment into yourself and business.
DISCLAIMER: We have not been paid for any mention of these services. All mentions are genuine and real.
Why should you read this article?
It’s important from the get-go that entrepreneurs have a sense of how businesses get things done. Most of the tools or resources listed here are free so you won’t have to worry about the cost as much for the first few months or so.
Entrepreneurs face daily struggles in running a business. Whether you’re a neophyte or a skilled businessperson in your industry, being methodical in your approach is crucial.
With the way businesses are running right now, every business success all boils down to the best mentors. And the beauty of it is you can find a lot of these successful mentors who are willing to share some tips and tricks of the trade online.
Entrepreneur resources are sprouting like mushrooms left and right. And my pro tip is to find the best one to guide you in your journey.
I would be remised if I did not mention the ultimate entrepreneur resource of all; Penji. I’d like to point out that I am the cofounder of Penji. So my opinion may be biased but, we created our company for the sole purpose to make graphic design more affordable and accessible to those who need it. You no longer have to pay a premium to get custom graphic design and we plan to keep it that way.
As an entrepreneur, there are always new challenges. Some of those come in the form of branding and messaging. If this is your first go around you know what you’ll need. Penji allows you to get just that. For one flat monthly rate you can get a logo, flyers, packaging, advertisements, and so much more literally all in one month.
If you’re starting out an agency, run a non-profit, a part of a small business, Penji can save you time by not having to hire an in-house team member and money because the cost benefits of working with us vs a full time employee equates to over $50,000 in savings.
Trello is easily one of the best tools that we use! Not only do we use it, but a large majority of the people I have interviewed on MindGrapes, also use it. Trello lets you work more collaboratively to get more done.
A project management tool is an essential part of your business. It teaches you organizational skills and reminds you of what can be your daily tasks.
Trello is one of the most known and widely used productivity tools in the globe. It’s a project management platform that allows a user to drag-and-drop cards to different boards. It can act as a bulletin board for all your announcements. It’s also a great tool for collaboration.
It’s a great resource for entrepreneurs because you can organize everything like tasks, projects, or SOPs in one place. Since it’s a collaborative tool, you can assign tasks to your team by tagging them or add them as a member on the card. It can even send notifications on tasks with deadlines.
One of the great things about Trello is you can use the service for free! You can even upgrade to Business or Enterprise Plans, but for the most part the free option is best.
We use Trello for all of our content idea mapping. Ideas move from board to board based off of what is being done. When an idea is being worked on, we all know it. When it’s done, we get alerted. Then at the end of the month, we all discuss the progress of the month and how it effected our bottom line. Having knowledge conversations with your team members will lead to more progressive decisions that can positively help your business grow.
When it comes to Google, it’s always been that reliable entrepreneur resource that you always go to. Google Drive has by far been the best organizational tool for our business.
I don’t need to go into how to use Drive, because you already know what it is and what it does. So I’m going to show you show we use it. Google Drive allows us to drop files, download, and add onto our processes and procedures.
We have a simple folder structure. We have several main folders, for example: Admin, Marketing, Advertising, SEO, and more. Then each folder has a similar smaller folder structure; ie documents, data, media, and etc…
Say goodbye to phone and email tag. Finding the perfect meeting time that’s beneficial for both parties is weirdly satisfying. Calendly is 100% free, super easy to use and you’ll love their customer service.
Calendly is a great entrepreneurial resource because it helps you organize all your schedules so you won’t forget or miss any events or meetings.
Calendly integrates all of your calendars into one platform. It helps give you peace of mind because you won’t have to go back and forth from one calendar to another. You can schedule meetings with your networks, your team, or your clients. You can receive notifications and send those to your contacts.
As with most services, you can connect your plan to different apps. You can even take paid meetings by allowing access to Paypal.
I use this service to schedule ALL appointments for any kind of conversation I have with someone outside of our company. I’m cheap as heck, so I have 3-4 accounts, but they all have a specific purpose. Some of them are for support, networking, sales, partnerships, and more.
You and your team should have a professional messaging service when you’re working remotely or when you’re not at the office. It’s best you invest in a communication software that enhances your workflow.
Slack is more than just a communication platform. It’s a digital workspace where you can send a message to anyone in the team or through different channels. Collaboration can happen even while you’re at the home office, a cafe, or anywhere else. You can have the application installed on your smartphone or your desktop.
Slack is a great entrepreneurial resource because not only you can use it for free with the team, but the platform streamlines all your work into one place. Just like Trello, you can use other tools while on Slack like Google Drive, Asana and Zoom.
Sleeper of a pick here but it’s a solid company that provides a great service. This service works particularly well on Linkedin. Snovio is a service that can help you find the right email from a prospect. The service works best on Linkedin. Imagine yourself trying to find the right person while going through a complex search filter on Linkedin? There’s a strong chance that the person you’re looking up is a solid choice to use your service.
Well? Snovio grabs the email without you having to use an outside service. It takes take time to make this all possible, but from my opinion, it’s worth it.
Active campaign is an email automation tool used for things like drip campaigns and marketing emails. We have found this tool to be rather useful and it’s our primarily tool we use to generate new leads from prospects that may be interested in Penji.
Buffer is a common tool that is used by many small and large businesses. We use buffer to schedule out our social media strafes and content. Pretty basic stuff. Doesn’t require a ton of tech knowledge. Plug and play solution.
It’s a hard drive in the cloud. Get it, even if you think you don’t need it. Use it as a backup solution. It will come in handy. Especially if you’re in the tech industry.
I had no idea what website to add. So I just put Google.com. I feel like you already know this one, but the Google Suite is by far one of the most important tools to ever exist on the planet. We use practically every solution they have created and we recommend you use them too.
Again, another tool that is absolutely awesome. We’ve used a couple of website tools and it was rather difficult to find that one tool that made sense. We used Intercom and we knew it was he right solution. Intercom is a tool that allows your prospect and even your customers to immediately reach out to you for questions or concerns.
Personally, I have seen a huge increase in sales based off of the number of inquiries on the website. The more times a person clicks on that chat, the more likely they are to become a customer.
Only if you make it a priority and it’s something you genuinely give a crap about. If this isn’t something you care about, don’t do it. But for us in the tech industry, there’s always a question of some sorts. Maybe about the service, the product, the customer account. So many things.
What I like specifically about Intercom is the help desk that they give you, pending your membership, and how easily integrated the help desk is within the chat itself.
We are constantly updating our website. Testing and tweaking new ways to make Penji better. What better way to compare new and old versions of Penji than to use a product like Invision. Invision is a digital design platform that will allow you to show off and text wireframes with your executive teams or internal dev/design team.
We use this directly before we begin development on all projects. Great tool.
Ever want to know how people are reacting to particular portions of your website? Well Lucky Orange is a tool that allows you to visualize what works on your site. They offer a wide spread of tools. I’ll be perfectly honest, we are not too big on their chat feature, However, we believe their heat map is world class and probably one of the best in the heat map industry.
I mean come on. One of the OG’s of email marketing. We primarily use this tool for large email lists. A lot of people in the tech world don’t like it. I don’t see why you wouldn’t. We know there are better tools, but why fix something that isn’t broke.
SEO is very important if and only if you can do it effectively. We use SE Ranking Pro for our keyword management. It’s a great tool that tracks the keywords, the rank of the keyword, and how your webpages are doing on Google.
This type of tool only works if you use it almost every single day. So if you’re not committed to SEO, this tool will not be effective for you.
Send Grid is used for customer facing emails. All of the alerts and all of the pings that most of us get with our favorite SAAS service, normally comes from a company like Send Grid. It definitely takes a certain scenario to use this tool, so invest some time in researching this tool.
It’s the perfect compliment to Snovio. Sometimes you need that one specific person in a company or an understanding of a company’s email structure. Hunter is that service.
With Hunter you can enter an email inside of their website and it will spit back what they think is the right email structure. There is a very high success rate in them knowing the right email and it’s landed us a TON of important contracts and connections.
Due to the pandemic, I’m pretty sure we all live on Zoom. There’s a reason their value has practically 10x. Just use it. Pay for it to get the cloud recording. It’s worth every penny.
Podcasting is a great form of building connections offline and online with the audience that listens. It’s also a great way to tell a story. I love podcasting. I’ve done it for more than 4 years.
Podcasting is so real. It’s raw, authentic, and you get honest answers. Also, people just love talking about themselves so if you get the opportunity to get your favorite person in the hot seat, don’t hold back. Ask them whatever is on your mind.
We use SimpleCast to host our podcast. I’ve been an early adopter onto their service. I’ve loved it. I love their analytics. I love their customer support. They are incredible people and service a ton of great shows. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and a substantial amount of time finding the right podcast host and this has been by far the best.
A lot of times this kind of stuff can get confusing, but I think SimpleCast does a good job at making it easy to understand.
Best Web Resources on Startups
Establishing a startup company is never easy. More often than not, a lot of first-time entrepreneurs don’t even know where to start. Hopefully, these web resources for startup entrepreneurs will shed light on any confusion one might have.
The Inc. 5000 list is the most coveted list for growing companies in the United States. Inc. is responsible for this list, and any business would want to earn a spot in these annually collated companies by one of the best startup resources online right now.
Aside from that, the online magazine also provides a lot of helpful guides on all things startup.
The Economist might not offer you hand-holding support in running your startup. However, it’s a perfect resource for all the things, processes, events, and changes happening in the world market.
You can go to the finances section, so you’ll know where you are in your startup.
There is one section in Forbes called “Small Business/Entrepreneurs,” which you can take heed of. Although this section doesn’t provide that many tips and business hacks, it’s still useful if you want to know about the recent trends and any essential news in business for that matter.
Starting a venture could take its toll on the business owner. While you have your friends and family who inspire you, listening to famous business owners worldwide will give you that huge push to continue.
Check out Entrepreneur’s “Inspiration” section to follow the top successful entrepreneurs in the world. You can read about their rags to riches stories which can inspire you to become the best entrepreneurial version of yourself.
Best Resources for SAAS Sales
SaaS is all the rage right now, and it means software as a service. Gone are the days where businesses have to install software and hardware and only access it from the business location or branch. Nowadays, SaaS makes it possible to access anything, even when team members are on the other side of the world.
Also, SaaS sales is currently progressing. It’s when companies are selling their web-based services via software to clients. So if you belong in this niche, below are the top web resources for SaaS sales entrepreneurs.
Jason Lemkin is the mastermind behind SaaStr. He offers a lot of tips about running a SaaS business. Aside from blogs, the site also provides other beneficial information for SaaS entrepreneurs like basic FAQs, podcasts, and even huge SaaS events.
For instance, there are updates on one of the most significant events for SaaS entrepreneurs called SaaStr Annual. This is a gathering for all SaaS executives, founders, managers, and all those in this niche.
This is the brainchild of Collin Stewart and Aaron Ross. Their blogs provide useful tips on how to turn your SaaS companies into a successful venture.
They cover everything from the SaaS basics, motivational insights, and the current trends in sales management. And this web resource for SaaS sales is the quintessential site because of Ross’ success in increasing Salesforce’s sales from $5 to a whopping $100 million!
Mental Health Related Entrepreneur Resources
As a new entrepreneur, once you set things in motion, it might be difficult to find time for yourself. You’ll be worrying about your team, your deadlines, your partnerships, your clients. It would take a toll on you.
But don’t let it take over to the point you’re sacrificing your mental health in the process.
That’s why Headspace is a great resource you’ll need from Day 1.
It’s a great entrepreneurial resource because it makes life manageable. It helps you to learn meditation (if you haven’t yet) and live mindfully, as the company says. It has over a hundred sessions to alleviate stress and anxiety. If you do experience a meltdown, Headspace does have an SOS exercise ready.
You can download the app on Google Play or the App Store for Free. So anytime you feel like meditating, you can just do it with a simple tap on your phone.
Nike Training Club
As you run the start-up, you’ll need to take care of yourself. It’s good that even if you have a mental health program going on, you should also watch out for your fitness as well. You wouldn’t want to find yourself sitting on your desk all day and end up having physical issues while you’re young.
The Nike Training Club (NTC) app helps you find the time to exercise starting only for just five minutes. You don’t even need any equipment to exercise. NTC offers Yoga, HIIT, and Cardio among others. You can even avail of a plan that will motivate you to exercise, lose weight, or become fitter.
The free app is available on respective app stores, so you can exercise anywhere.
Technology Used Daily
Let’s start with the tech I use personally. for the most part, I use a Macbook Pro 15 inch 2016. I also have a custom build PC where I primarily use for gaming. But my Pro connects to a dual monitor and I use one monitor for communication and the other for productivity.
So on one, I will have Slack, Messages, and any other form of communication/media. On the other I have my browsers and email. I’m productive as heck when I’m in the zone.
Next is my microphone. I use the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB. The best microphone on the planet. I use this during phone calls, meetings, and of course recording. I edit using Final Cut Studio and dump everything into my Porsche Design External 1TB Hard drive. Lastly, because I am an Apple person, I use AirPods. Because you need the arm space.Best investment I’ve made in a long time.