Two thoughts come to mind when you see the title of this article and wonder:
a) What is that the author has to share on software applications which “I” don’t know!? And
b) Why are these applications meant ONLY for Entrepreneurs when Web 2.0 is known for its democratic approach and pervasive appreciation?
Well, let me take on these one by one with the help of two simple disclaimers. Yes, I believe in playing it safe.
1. The author belongs to the category of people which are easily excited at the launch of new technological tools, whether it’s from a back-alley in Bangalore or one from the cool investor-decorated Silicon Valley pads. Honest confession – majority of these 5 applications were as unknown to me as the girl sitting next to me right now at this CCD outlet. I am just writing about them wishing that this article goes into the hands (read tablets/laptops) of young enterprising men and women out there and even if they go ahead and use one of these applications, my purpose of investing time writing this and not asking details about the girl-at-next-table would be worthwhile.
Most of the smarty pants who anyhow will get to read this might have devoured these technologies for ages. I know. But I still believe that they deserve the highlighted mention so they serve their due purpose for the bigger community out there. So, in short, you may/may not know about these applications but please behave as a kind reader.
2. I know I know, I get this a lot often. “Why are you so focused on the Entrepreneurial community?” “Is this a fad- to be pro-Entrepreneur”? “Why this gimmick!” and I have only one thing to come back to such arguments – “Only WE know what IT takes to be an Entrepreneur”. Given the magnitude of the problems we face – right from the coffee machine not working, due rent to be paid, business strategies, limited budgets to the intricacies of pending Term sheets, it is imperative that people from the clan stood up once in a while and offer something “they” feel might help others in the family. This is one of my ways of giving it back for all the love I have received, till date.
However, the world out there should benefit from these applications. Go ahead, use them and simplify (at least a bit) your daily pangs!
So, cutting all the “cake”, let’s get straight to the point. Well, let me add one more disclaimer
I have not been signed/paid in any way (including but not limited to good food) on by any of these app developers/companies to promote this (despite how much I wish this was the case)
My list of favorite applications for daily use as an Entrepreneur (okay – business people, managers, young students, all are welcome) in no particular order are:-
1. Name – Asana
Genre – Task Management
With a Sanskrit name inspired by Indian form of “Yoga” to being co-founded by legendary Facebook ex-team members, Asana has all going for its character. It’s a collaborative task management application which lets you create tasks/notes/lists around different set of work issues and then assign individuals/teams to complete those. With real-time updates, options to mark “complete/pending” statuses to the assigned tasks, “follow” projects and other awesome features, this has become a way of life at our e-commerce startup.
Best thing – Free till 30 team members
Watch-out – A bit intimidating for first-time users. Use the tour option for better introduction
Go for it – if you work in any setup involving multiple individuals, divided by work functions/locations.
2. Name – Join.me
Genre – Screen Sharing/ Online Meetings
Well, honestly, I used to feel kind of irritated/slow using Skype’s video sharing button till the time someone introduced me to this. Join.me lets your team members/ well wishers conduct a nice and convenient online meeting featuring easy screen sharing in a secured environment. You can choose up to 250 viewers (yes, you read it right), have a multi-monitor approach and even send files while still using internet calling. Easy to set up, download a small extension file and you are ready to rock it, well virtually.
Best thing – Extremely easy to understand/ use
Watch-out – Limited “Free” time as a new user
Go for it – Managing multi-office staff working on same presentation? This one goes out for you
Genre – HR Management
Well if the world can innovate, you can’t have Indians lagging behind. This is simply an awesome development by a team of Indian HR professionals-turned-entrepreneurs to help startups/ growing SMEs manage their “Human Resources” in a much better manner
Easy to understand and operate, this cloud application lets you create a personalized HR platform for your company, add employees, set company policies around compensation, leaves, attendance, work timings and what not. Your employees can communicate with the HR/ Promoters easily, raise requests for leaves/reimbursements, connect with other employees and even collaborate on work tasks/ projects. In short, this is the all important HR Management simplified.
Best thing – You NEED such an application to bring efficiency and transparency in your HR operations and with a great support team available, things couldn’t get easier
Watch-out – Nothing serious in here. If you feel the features are too much for your setup currently, use the basic ones and enjoy life.
Go for it – Whether you are a team of 4 or 40, this application is a must-have for your startup to “manage” HR like the big guys do!
Genre – Online File Sharing
I know there are thousands of lovers and dedicated followers of its much-more-popular cousin, Dropbox, but I thought this “original” version deserved its due attention. If you belong to the uninitiated category, this is one of the world’s most used application for simple and secure file (documents, music and what not) sharing and collaboration. Extremely easy to set up and use, this serves as a lifeline for most of the world’s startups and lets multiple people access and work on same files. There is immense competition from Dropbox and the recently launched Google drive but Box holds its ground, partly due to the patronage it enjoys from global corporations
Best thing – More free space (5GB as compared to 2GB) than what is offered by Dropbox.
Watch-out – Followers of Dropbox won’t convert and partly due to the fact that Dropbox is “visually” more appealing and “easy to use”
Go for it – If you don’t know/use Dropbox yet or want to convert given the extra free space to personal/small time users
Genre – Operations Management
This one is a master piece. Known as the “all-inclusive business enabler”, SohoOS is essentially an application to help you manage your operations in an extremely efficient manner. Started essentially as an online tool which simplified your business’s invoicing and billing function, SohoOS has expanded to include domains like Inventory Management, Document management, Marketing ROI, Reporting & MIS and much more!
If you are a young startup or an entrepreneur who loves efficient business processes, reporting and invoicing functions backed by power of cloud computing, you just cannot wait to lay your hands on this one!
Best thing – Gives your invoices, billing procedures, multiple vendor contacts management, ordering procedures etc a streamlined approach without all the jazz.
Watch-out – Nothing much to dampen your spirits. The free version lets you do a lot of things. Going pro can help once your organization expands.
Go for it – To give your invoicing and related functions a professional look. Must have if you are an Internet/E-com startup or a new B2B Service provider with growing clientele.
[This article has been contributed by Mr. Harneet Singh, Founder of Carkhana]