Being organized from day one is one of the most important factors behind business success. The earlier you adopt healthy habits, the less likely you are to come across problems down the road and succumb to workplace chaos. Startups can be quite difficult to handle, especially if you don’t have prior management experience, but you are not alone. Now more than ever, startup owners have hundreds of useful tools at their disposal and they can streamline just about any management process, sometimes even free of charge. One of the biggest mistakes startup owners can make is assume that they don’t need automation and business tools right away and that they should wait for the company to grow until they use them. To save time, money, and stress, rely on these useful tools from the very first days of activity:

Tools for notes & bookmarks

They say that writing down your ideas is a great way to boost your productivity and solve problems. No matter where you like to keep your notes – paper, phone or laptop – it’s a good idea to gather all of them in one place. This is where apps like Evernote come in. Instead of having notes scattered everywhere, you can keep all of them in one elegant app that syncs across multiple devices. If you wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea on how to market your new product, you can just write in the app and when you get to work next morning you will find it on your PC. Are you the traditional type who likes to use pen and paper? No problem. Some of these tools have a special scan mode that captures your handwritten notes and syncs them in the app for later access.

Tools for streamlining social media

Social media is one of the fastest, cheapest and most effective ways of reaching out to your audience. However, you need to have a robust, well planned strategy for your ideas to work. Social media management platforms such as Buffer and Hootsuite help you look after multiple social media accounts, plan posts, track ROI and curate content. This ensures stability, precision and coherence across your entire network and helps you achieve your goals. The good news about these apps is that they have free packs for startups and you can manage 3 accounts without paying anything, but later, if your business grows and you need more accounts, you can just upgrade.

Messaging tools

Communication is very important in any business and, as a manager, you need to ensure that all your employees use the same company-approved chat app. Skype for business is a safe choice, but perhaps not that necessary for a small start-up. But you may have heard of Slack, the lightweight chatting tool that all developers seem to love thanks to its scalability and ease of use. Slack can be integrated with Google Drive, Jira, Salesforce and many other apps. You can create chat teams for different projects, access all the files for one projects in the same place and search for information easily. In other words, you can really communicate, not just chat. If Slack is not your cup of tea, you can also try Flock, Discord or HipChat, which are available for multiple devices and reduce the amount of unnecessary internal emails.

Time tracking

Hourly projects have been gaining a lot of popularity in the past years, especially on freelancing websites, but they come with some particular challenges for both client and provider. On the one hand, the client wants to be sure that the company he’s working with really worked the number of charged hours. On the other hand, providers want an easier way to track their time and know exactly how much a certain task took. Both of these problems are solved by time tracking apps such as Timesheet Portal, which you can find out more about here. Another benefit of time tracking software is that it monitors employee productivity and measures project complexity accurately. Even if you do not work on an hourly basis, you can still install time tracking software because the way you manage your time plays an essential role in your business success.

Business process management

If you assume that a startup doesn’t involve a lot of processes, think again. Startups may not be as complex as large enterprises, but there are still many processes to oversee. Contrary to common belief, using the traditional pen-and-paper approach will not take you anywhere and you’re only making your company vulnerable to human error. Instead, start by using a free/demo account for business process management tools. There are many options to choose from: Appian, Jitterbit, SAP, Nintex, Oracle and so on. Apart from the fact that these tools increase accuracy, they also make your employees more productive because they eliminate bottlenecks and automates repetitive tasks. Most BPM tools have reporting, monitoring and analysis tools and they allow you to optimize the entire business process management life cycle, from design to execution.

Project management

Projects that involve more than one person should be managed with dedicated tools to ensure efficiency, communication and accuracy. Some of the best examples in this category include Trello, Asana and Producteev. With these, you can create projects, assign team members to them, share files, set deadlines, create tasks and check them once they are completed. In terms of organization, project management tools are clearly superior to internal emails because data isn’t easy to delete or ignore, it doesn’t get lost and everyone is coordinated and works together. Many project management apps are free for unlimited projects and users so even on a limited budget you can still stay productive.

Author's Bio: 

Cynthia Madison is a young blogger and economics and marketing graduate. She writes about home, lifestyle and family topics and is a senior contributor to popular niche publications.