Tools for Entrepreneurs: My Top 7

2009 was a big year for me, and that meant having to streamline my work, and figure out ways to be more productive with my time. Rolling into 2010 I have 7 key tools that I use on a daily basis that make my business life tick.

Evernote

Evernote

Photo by Patrick Haney

From Evernote.com

Our goal at Evernote is to give everyone the ability to easily capture any moment, idea, inspiration, or experience whenever they want using whichever device or platform they find most convenient, and then to make all of that information easy to find.

And we’ve done just that. From creating text and ink notes, to snapshots of whiteboards and wine labels, to clips of webpages, Evernote users can capture anything from their real and digital lives and find it all anytime.

Basically Evernote allows me to sync notes and files between my work desktop, laptop, and mobile device. This means regardless of where I am, I can work. I highly suggest the Windows desktop application and android application, despite the fact that the web based versions work very well.

Droid

From Engadget.com

So, is the DROID a good smartphone? Yes, the DROID is an excellent smartphone with many (if not all) of the features that a modern user would expect, and if you’re a Verizon customer, there probably isn’t a more action packed device on the network. That’s not to say the device doesn’t have its faults; the camera was unpleasant to use, the application selection feels thin in both quantity and quality (despite the claim of 10,000 options), and the phone has bits of basic, non-intuitive functionality that might chafe on some users after a while. But even still, it’s hard not to recommend the DROID to potential buyers eager to do more with their devices. It’s easily the best Android phone to date, and when you couple the revamped OS, Verizon’s killer network, and an industrial design straight from a gadget enthusiast’s fever-dream, it makes for a powerful concoction.

I owned the G1 and traded up for the Droid. I have never been happier with a mobile device purchase. The android market offers all of the apps I use daily, including Evernote, Meebo, and the built in integration with GDocs. The speed, screen, and Qwerty are all features I love, and are only made better by the addition of a kick ass camera and Verizon’s data service.

This thing has kicked my mobile production into a whole new gear, and probably made me an Android user for the long haul.

MiFi

vzw-mifi-review-03
Photo by nDevilTV

From CNET.com

the Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, which is manufactured by Novatel, is an excellent product. It’s a tiny device that offers instant Internet access to up to five Wi-Fi devices, virtually anywhere in the United States. This is the first of its kind that we’ve reviewed and we really liked it. If you travel for business in a group of five or less, this superportable router will come in handy.

This thing has changed the way I work. No longer is the business world tethered to physical locations, and with 90 days of travel in 2009 I can speak to that about as good as anyone. This device allows me, and any staff traveling with me to stay connected to our work at all times. No longer are we tied to the usability of conference WiFi, or searching for Hotspots. In fact, in our cross country move from Utah to Florida this year, this device allowed me to work all 5 days as though I were in an office. Add the stability of running on Verizon into the mix, and you have a winner.

If you don’t have one of these yet, run, don’t walk to get one now.

Moleskin Notebook

Moleskin
Photo by sendusout

So despite having all of my business ventures tied to the web, I am still the creative writing major, and love a good notebook I can hold and jot down ideas. For me, a moleskin notebook I can throw in my laptop bag is an asset. I use it for meetings and brainstorming sessions, when utilizing computers becomes an inconvenience.

Zoho

zinvoice
Photo by zolierdos

Search & Social and Second Step Search both run and thrive off of Zoho products. The software and apps they have put out can really streamline a lot of a service based businesses needs. We mostly utilize the invoicing, project management, and CRM solution. Without these web applications we would still be emailing excel sheet likely. The best part is the cross integration Zoho brings to the table between products. So whatever business we sign using the CRM, we can port directly into the invoice system for billing purposes.

Exchange Server/Outlook

This one may seem like a no brainer, but it was new to me this year. Exchange server allows you to sync your Outlook based life across mobile devices and multiple PCs. With the addition of VOIP, Fax, shared contacts, and share calendars this is a must have for any business.

Long Battery Life Laptop

So I had a decision to make in October. I was looking for a solid laptop, after having my second laptop in a year crap out on me. Should I make the leap to Apple? Should I search for a more stable PC? Windows 7 helped making the decision to stick with a PC easier. The OS is way more stable than Vista, and so with that in mind I looked for a new laptop.

I decided on a Toshiba Satellite , which isn’t overtly sexy, but with the addition of a 7 hour battery, it has made my work life amazingly more efficient. No longer is computing something I worry about. Having a long life battery means I can plugin my MiFi anywhere, open Evernote, login to Outlook/Exchange Server, and Zoho, and have a mobile office ready to run.