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The Startup Productivity Stack: 100+ Tools Small Teams Use to Get More Done

Posted by Melissa Hollis to inDinero Academy, Business Advice, Business, Guides

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If you run a startup or other business in the midst of growth, you picked a hell of a time to embark on your entrepreneurial journey. We’ve reached a point in the global marketplace where the tools and products out there designed to help you manage your company are virtually limitless.


The question then becomes: Where to begin?

 

The landscape of business resources is vast and weeding through the internet is time consuming... so we did it for you! As of April 2016, here’s a comprehensive list of resources you should know about, from marketing to sales to teamwork to legal help and beyond:

Efficiency

Who couldn’t use some help getting things done? For growing companies that may lack full-time administrative staff, these tools aren’t just productivity hacks—they may end up becoming necessities for your business.

Scheduling

Calendly

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What it is/does: An app that simplifies scheduling across teams, clients, and prospects.

How to use it: Use it for free.


X.ai

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What it is/does: An artificial intelligence that handles back and forth scheduling conversations for you.

How to use it: Sign up for beta access.


GETTING OFF THE GROUND

SBA

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What it is/does: The U.S. Small Business Administration, dedicated to providing support for small, growing businesses.

How to use it: Check out the SBA’s suite of tools.


WORKFLOW

IFTTT

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What it is/does: If This Then That—integration between an extensive and growing number of apps, helping you save time and automate work processes.

How to use it: Sign up for free.


Spark

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What it is/does: Smarter email management designed to clear inbox clutter, and the best available replacement for the recently discontinued app Mailbox.

How to use it: Download it for iPhone.


EFFICIENCY

Imagus

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What it is/does: An extension for Google Chrome that allows you to enlarge, browse, and manipulate thumbnail images in their full size without opening a new tab.

How to use it: Download it for free on the Chrome Web Store.


Freedom

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What it is/does: An app that helps you break bad habits and avoid distractions by limiting access to websites on all your devices.

How to use it: Start a free trial or sign up for a monthly, yearly, or lifelong plan here.


TRAVEL

Workfrom

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What it is/does: A community that offers recommendations for the best places to work remotely in over 300 cities.

How to use it: Clock in.


TripIt

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What it is/does: A travel management solution that enables you to access and share your itinerary on the go.

How to use it: Sign up for a free plan or try TripIt Pro (with more features such as alternative flight options and refund notifications) here.


Marketing

From building a social media community to corresponding with influencers in your industry and the media, there’s always another marketing opportunity ahead. These tools help you automate your marketing workflow and enhance the quality of your message.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Buffer

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What it is/does: Automatically queue and re-share social media posts on a customized schedule across a variety of platforms.

How to use it: Get started for free.


Crowdfire

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What it is/does: See and manage all your Twitter and Instagram followers and unfollowers in one place.

How to use it: Log in with Twitter or Instagram.


Mention

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What it is/does: Monitor what people are saying about your brand or keywords throughout the web and social media.

How to use it: Prepackaged plans range between $29–$99, but you can start a free trial.


EMAIL

Mailchimp

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What it is/does: One of the most popular email marketing platforms, as well as one of the best.

How to use it: Sign up for free.


Foundation for Emails by ZURB (Formerly Ink)

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What it is/does: A library of easy-to-use and easy-to-edit responsive email templates.

How to use it: Download all the templates.


INFLUENCER OUTREACH

HARO

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What it is/does: Help A Reporter Out—get daily emails compiling journalists’ requests for story and interview subjects.

How to use it: Sign up as a source.


PromoteHour

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What it is/does: A list of places to submit your business, with a streamlined submission process.

How to use it: Check it out and see additional plans and pricing information here.


Rapportive

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What it is/does: Shows you your contacts’ LinkedIn profile information within your email exchanges.

How to use it: Add it to Gmail.


CONTENT

Curata

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What it is/does: Software and a platform that lets you find and share content with a focus on growth.

How to use it: Request a live demo.


Rebel Discovery by RebelMouse

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What it is/does: A CMS plugin that shows you opportunities for expanding your reach and targeting your audience.

How to use it: Request a demo.


LinkedIn Pulse

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What it is/does: LinkedIn’s blogging platform—a great way to stay in touch with thought leadership and improve your networking and search performance.

How to use it: Get started writing from your LinkedIn profile.


Medium

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What it is/does: A leading publishing platform for individuals, businesses, and news outlets.

How to use it: Sign up for free.


DATA AND ANALYTICS

Google Analytics

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What it is/does: An unbeatable tool for tracking website traffic data.

How to use it: Sign up.


Facebook Ads

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What it is/does: One of the most robust advertisement planning and audience targeting tools available, Facebook Ads pulls demographic and psychographic data from more than 1 billion users.

How to use it: Sign in with your Facebook profile and start building an ad to get a glimpse of your potential reach and audience details—or simply run a campaign through Facebook.


AFFILIATES

Tapfiliate

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What it is/does: Full-featured, cloud-based affiliate tracking software.

How to use it: Try it for two weeks ($69/month thereafter).

 

Design

Whether you have a designer on staff, work with contractors, or do it yourself, you’ll want to take advantage of the plethora of free assets, utilities, and libraries out there complied for and by design professionals.

TOOLS

Canva

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What it is/does: Canva is a web-based drag and drop design platform that makes it easy to create clean graphics and designs using built in templates for the most common use cases.

How to use it: Get started here for free. Optional: upgrade to business for ~$9/month with better sharing capabilities and branding customization.


GitHub

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What it is/does: The world’s largest online software development and hosting service.

How to use it: Sign up for free to host open-source code (private repositories range from $7/month to $2500/year)


UI Cloud

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What it is/does: The world’s largest database of user interface designs.

How to use it: Start browsing.


WebsiteSetup.org CMS comparison chart

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What it is/does: Find out which CMS—Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal—is best for your website.

How to use it: Check out the chart and read more here.


MARKETPLACES

99Designs

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What it is/does: A popular marketplace for logo, web, and graphic design, with lots of competitively-priced options for contests.

How to use it: See pricing options and launch a contest in one of many categories.


Dribbble

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What it is/does: A place for designers to show off their work, get feedback, and find clients.

How to use it: Browse the galleries or check out Freebbble to see the latest free designs.


Fiverr

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What it is/does: A place to browse and purchase hundreds of thousands of services in categories such as digital marketing, writing and translation, music and audio, programming, advertising, and more.

How to use it: Search for what you’re looking for here.


PHOTOGRAPHY

Death to the Stock Photo

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What it is/does: Free, high-resolution photos you can use for any purpose, delivered to your inbox each month.

How to use it: Sign up.


500px

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What it is/does: Over 65 million royalty-free photos you can buy, license, or use for free.

How to use it: Browse or sign up.


Unsplash

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What it is/does: More free, high-resolution photos emailed to you every 10 days.

How to use it: Subscribe or browse.


VIDEO

Explee 

 

What it is/does: Lets you create animated videos to take your presentation or pitch to the next level.

How to use it: Create your first video with a free two-week subscription ($7–$199/month thereafter).


Vibby

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What it is/does: Lets you highlight, clip, and share the best parts of your YouTube videos to increase customer and audience engagement.

How to use it: Copy and paste your video URL.


VideoBlocks

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What it is/does: A video library of stock footage, motion backgrounds, and templates.

How to use it: Buy a monthly or yearly a subscription ($79/month, $99/year, or $198/year for access to premium content and features).

 

ICONOGRAPHY AND TYPOGRAPHY

Lost Type Co-op

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What it is/does: A collaborative foundry offering free-to-use fonts.

How to use it: Simply browse and download.


WhatTheFont by MyFonts

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What it is/does: A tool for identifying typefaces.

How to use it: Upload an image of the mystery font.


Flaticon

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What it is/does: An enormous database of free vector icons available in multiple formats.

How to use it: Search or browse.


Fort Awesome

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What it is/does: From the makers of Font Awesome, a tool for building and managing branded icons and CSS sets.  

How to use it: Sign up for free (paid plans between $49/month and $99/month).


Teamwork

As more and more teams at growing companies work remotely, digital collaborative tools have become a necessity. Here are a few your team will love.

 

PLANNING AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Cardsmith

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What it is/does: Web-based sticky notes for collaboration, brainstorming, project management, and administration.

How to use it: Sign up for free (paid plans at $9/month per user).


Niice

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What it is/does: Digital inspiration and mood boards designed for conceptualization and imagination exercises.

How to use it: Start an account for free (paid plans at $9/month per user).


MindMeister

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What it is/does: A collaborative online mind-mapping tool for creative meetings and planning sessions.

How to use it: Create up to three mind maps for free (paid plans range between $6/month and $15/month).


CONVERSATION AND COLLABORATION

Slack

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What it is/does: The contemporary standard for online team collaboration and communication.

How to use it: Create a new team and invite collaborators here (free for small teams, $6.67/month to $12.50/month for larger teams and more features).


dapulse

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What it is/does: A project management platform inspired by social networks and designed to boost motivation.

How to use it: Sign up for one of several tiered plans (ranging from $5 per user per month to $47 per user per month).


Asana

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What it is/does: A project tracking solution that gives team members tasks and graphs progress over time, with Dropbox, Github, Slack, and Google Drive integrations.

How to use it: Get started for free, for up to 15 people (larger teams are billed $8.33 per member per month).

 

FILE SHARING

Dropbox

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What it is/does: Flexible, shareable, easy-to-use cloud storage.

How to use it: Get started with 2GB of storage space for free (paid plans at $9.99/month for individuals and $15 per user per month for businesses).


Wistia

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What it is/does: Lightweight but powerful video hosting with marketing and editing tools.

How to use it: Host up to three videos for free (paid plans range from $25/month to $100/month based on video capacity).


Cloud Dropper

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What it is/does: Lets you access all your files in the cloud from one single app.

How to use it: Download it for free.


SEO and Web Optimization

Search engine marketing and optimization shouldn’t be an afterthought. When you’re planning your business’s site, building landing pages, researching the competition, and analyzing your conversion rates, here’s an array of tools that will get the job done.

 

SEO

SEMrush

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What it is/does: A top-rated suite of search engine marketing, analysis, and research tools.

How to use it: Sign up for subscription plan (from $69.95/month to $549.95/month)


Moz Local

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What it is/does: Moz is another valuable SEO toolset that offers powerful inbound marketing features. Moz Local lets you keep your regional business listings correct and organized.

How to use it: Enter your company’s address to check your listings.


WEBSITE AND CONTENT PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKING

Buzzsumo

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What it is/does: A dashboard that shows you how your and your competitors’ content performs by topic or domain, with influencer tools.

How to use it: Start a free trial before signing up for $99, $299, or $999 per month.


Ahrefs

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What it is/does: The web’s largest index of backlinks and keyword rankings, extraordinarily useful for link building and SEO analysis.

How to use it: Start a free trial before signing up for $99 or $179 per month.


Similarweb

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What it is/does: Charts and compares website and app traffic data.

How to use it: Register one user for $199/month (other plans available upon request).


Nibbler

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What it is/does: Tests any website and shows you how you can improve that site’s performance.

How to use it: Enter your URL.


OptimizeMySite

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What it is/does: Audits your site, optimizing your landing pages and tracking your keyword rankings.

How to use it: Enter your site URL and keyword choice (paid plans at $29/month and $149/month).


CONVERSION

ClickMeter

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What it is/does: Monitors your links’ results to show you ways to increase your conversion rates.

How to use it: Sign up for free to track up to 1000 clicks and views per month, or customize a paid plan to suit your needs.


DOMAINS

Naminum

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What it is/does: Generates names for companies, products, and websites.

How to use it: Start with the kernel of your idea and press Enter.


Short Domain Search

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What it is/does: A list of short, available, single-word domain names—perfect for businesses looking for an easy-to-remember URL.

How to use it: Search or browse the index.


Sales

Love it or hate it, the sales process is a foundational part of doing business. However, the sales landscape is changing rapidly and much of the old, interruptive approach is being thwarted by new technology. Check out a few ways you can improve your relationships with customers and prospects.

 

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

Sellsy

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What it is/does: Powerful software that offers sales management, time tracking, inventory management, customer relationship management and prospecting, rental management, and more features.  

How to use it: Start with a free trial (plans from $50/month to $170/month).


LEADS

DiscoverOrg

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What it is/does: Sales intelligence revolving around human-verified leads.

How to use it: Request a demo.


Unomy

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What it is/does: Analyzes and presents data about companies and contacts, providing users with business opportunities and prospect targeting options.

How to use it: Request a trial.


Investment

Whatever your investment strategy may be, you don’t need to start from nothing. Between showcasing everything your business has to offer and simplifying investor relations, these tools will help you secure capital and transition into the next stage of your business’s lifecycle.

 

CROWDFUNDING

Kickstarter

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What it is/does: The most popular crowdfunding platform, open to anyone looking for financing for their creative project.

How to use it: Start a project.


Seedinvest

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What it is/does: An equity crowdfunding platform for growing businesses seeking investors on a large scale.

How to use it: Apply to list your business.


FUNDRAISING

F6S

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What it is/does: A community of over a million startups and founders, focused on helping new businesses connect with accelerators and funds.

How to use it: Sign up with your Facebook, LinkedIn, or email account.


Venturefocus

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What it is/does: A curated database of thousands of investors and venture capitalists, arranged by category.

How to use it: Pay a one-time fee to gain access.


Gust

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What it is/does: Another online network of investors and startups, with user profiles and continuous reporting on funding trends.

How to use it: Sign up as an entrepreneur.


Capshare

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What it is/does: Lets you build and view a capitalization table for your business quickly and securely.

How to use it: Sign up for free.

 

eShares

eShares

What it is/does: Handles all of your company's equity management workflow including capitalization table updates, stock option expensing, 409a stock value evaluations, etc. in one place via their 100% paperless electronic platform. (Save countless billable hours with your lawyer or legal team.)

How to use it: Small businesses sign up here Pre-IPO/Enterprise contact for custom plans

 

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

DealRoom

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What it is/does: Accelerates deal-making and due diligence processes with automated transaction tools and advanced analytics.

How to use it: Get in touch with the company.

 

Want to learn more about options for funding your startup? We've got you covered.

 

Customer Service and Communication

Are you missing out on customer feedback or letting client communication fall through the cracks? These tools alleviate uncertainty by putting customer satisfaction at the forefront.

 

Support

Front

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What it is/does: Speeds up the customer service process without autoresponders.

How to use it: Start a trial.


Helprace

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What it is/does: A customer service platform that takes search queries and turns them into support processes.

How to use it: Create an account for free.


Spridz

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What it is/does: Another customer service and helpdesk product, Spridz shows customer feedback at a glance with simple satisfaction and happiness measurements.

How to use it: Start a free trial before signing up for $499/year or 49/month.

 

Zip Schedules

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What it is/does: Zip schedules gives managers an easy way to create, distribute, and communicate work schedules and shifts to their service teams. This tool eliminates the need for spreadsheets and calculators, not to mention the post-its spewed all over your desk or corkboard by automating employee hour tracking.

How to use it: Start a free 30-day trial before signing up for $19-29/month.

 

 

Surveys

Get Satisfaction

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What it is/does: Takes the uncertainty and hassle out of customer feedback surveys.

How to use it: Request a demo.


Forms

Typeform

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What it is/does: Allows you to design questionnaires, surveys, registration forms, order forms, and more in a streamlined workspace without the need to register first.

How to use it: Get started.


Growth and Improvement

Personal and organizational growth go hand-in-hand. Keep yourself and your business learning, growing, and improving with these resources.

Education

Khan Academy

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What it is/does: Free courses for anyone on a wide range of subjects like medicine, history, math, art, economics, and more.

How to use it: Sign up and browse course offerings.


Codecademy

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What it is/does: Self-guided, interactive (and fun) programming courses online.

How to use it: Sign up and start learning.


Skillshare

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What it is/does: Lets you learn alongside others in thousands of online classes.

How to use it: Sign up for free.


Lanyrd

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What it is/does: Helps you find conferences in your area. You can also list yourself as a speaker.

How to use it: Sign up with Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.


Recruitment

Weirdly

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What it is/does: Customizable recruitment software with an emphasis on finding the right fit for your company’s culture.

How to use it: Try out a free plan (paid plans from $99/month to $399/month).


Toptal

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What it is/does: A vetted directory of freelancers and independent contractors.

How to use it: Apply for a free trial.


AngelList

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What it is/does: Lists thousands of startup jobs, as well as angel investor syndicates and funds.

How to use it: Post a job for free or find syndicates.


Lever

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What it is/does: Tracks applicants through a platform similar to CRM software.

How to use it: Sign up to get a demo.

 

Outsourcing

Virtual Collective

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What it is/does: Provides planning, infrastructure, recruiting, and team management for businesses and individuals in need of virtual teams.

How to use it: Contact them.


News and Insight

Knowledge is power. From daily news to trend tracking to insight from others who have been there before, see how these tools deliver information to you when you need it.

 

Words of Wisdom

Clarity

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What it is/does: Connects entrepreneurs and startups with business experts, who get paid for their time.

How to use it: Sign up for free.


SoHelpful

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What it is/does: Get free one-on-one help fast through a 30-minute phone, Skype, or Hangout call.

How to use it: Search for what you need or browse topics and people to schedule a call.


Trends and Content Curation

Feedly

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What it is/does: A sleek RSS reader that helps you stay updated with what matters to you.

How to use it: Register an account for free and start adding content sources.


Google Trends

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What it is/does: Lets you track Google search term popularity over time and by location.

How to use it: Enter a term or explore topics.


Quora

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What it is/does: A community-sourced question and answer site, bringing together experts on a wide variety of subject areas.

How to use it: Search or ask your question.


Huzzaz

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What it is/does: A platform for organizing and showcasing videos from all over the web.

How to use it: Join for free.


The Tweeted Times

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What it is/does: Generates a daily newspaper from the most popular content shared by accounts you follow on Twitter

How to use it: Sign up for free.


Discovery

Product Hunt

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What it is/does: A community that curates and upvotes new products every day.

How to use it: Log in with Twitter or Facebook (you need an invite to submit products).

Also, check out Jessica Mah’s Product Hunt Live Chat here!


Launching Next

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What it is/does: Like Product Hunt, but for startups.

How to use it: Browse startups or submit your business.

 

Legal

As essential as it is, legal assistance gets costly, fast. While not intended to replace a lawyer, these resources can save you time and money when you may need to call an attorney.

 

Documents

Docracy

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What it is/does: An open collection of contracts and other legal documents.

How to use it: Browse or search.


Startup Documents

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What it is/does: Generates and hosts legal documents for companies in their early stages.

How to use it: Sign up for free.


Shake

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What it is/does: Lets you create and sign legally binding documents instantaneously.

How to use it: Get started using Shake’s pre-made forms (customized documents cost $10/month).


Directories

Markify

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What it is/does: Searches and monitors trademarks based on similarity.

How to use it: Start a free trial.


Finance and Accounting

Disorganized accounting hurts your company and your customers alike. Keep track of your expenses and get paid on time with these tools.

 

Expense reports

Expensify

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What it is/does: Helps you capture and organize receipts for business and personal use.

How to use it: Sign up for a free trial (paid plans at $5 or $9 per user per month).


Invoicing

Slimvoice

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What it is/does: A completely no-frills invoicing solution that takes less than a minute.

How to use it: Generate your invoice for free.


Payment processing

Square

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What it is/does: An affordable point of sale solution for small businesses and professionals.

How to use it: Get started for free, with a complimentary magstripe reader.


Stripe

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What it is/does: Seeks to revolutionize online payment processing with a suite of APIs.

How to use it: Create an account for free and pay as you go.


(And, of course, why not plug ourselves while we’re here?)



SUBSCRIPTIONS/INVOICING

Chargify

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What it is/does: Manages your recurring billing needs.

How to use it: Sign up for free, then go live with plans from $129/month to $459/month.

 

ACCOUNTING

inDinero

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What it is/does: Provides the financial tools and data to understand, run, and grow your small business.

How to use it: Schedule a call with us.


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Entrepreneur's Guide to Accounting & Tax Filing

About the author
“Melissa

Melissa Hollis

Melissa Hollis is a content marketer and lover of all things West Coast. She enjoys waking up every day and getting the chance to rethink the obvious and enable the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Success starts when you take charge of your finances.

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