The Startup: 15 Tools to Help Business Managers Power through the Pandemic

The Startup: 15 Tools to Help Business Managers Power through the Pandemic

82% of managers admit reduced productivity in their teams during the lockdown. And this is why the demand for task managers & automation tools increased at an exponential rate.

With more companies shifting online, business owners seek ways to adapt to the new workflow, automate business processes, & adjust communication. Companies are looking for innovative tools for success in the new environment.

Here we review 15 startup tools that will help your company flourish even today. In our tool review, we won’t mention the mainstream tools you probably know all about. Instead, we’ll try to focus on novelties which could yet improve your workflow.

Productivity & automation tools

Productivity is the first to suffer during the pandemics. There are too many distractions when we work from home. We have issues with managing our tasks, files, and schedule. Look through these 2 amazing tools which will boost your performance right away. 

  1. Pics.io

With the increasing number of digital files, you cannot do without advanced digital asset management. Working on top of your storage, Pics.io will clean up the mess with your 1000+ assets, help you access the files easily, share them with your teammates and clients. And you don’t need much to get used to this asset organizer – the tool is very intuitive & user-friendly.

Best features

  • High-quality organization of your files: folder-based collections, tagging, metadata editor, AI-powered keywording, linked assets, etc., etc.
  • Customizable websites for third-party sharing – present your portfolio to prospects in the most attractive way;
  • The simplest version control to keep track of your changes & avoid duplicates;
  • Integration with all top tools available on the market – Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Adds-on, and so on.

Prices & top deals

  • A wide range of prices for all budgets & all tastes: micro ($120/m), small ($480/m), medium ($840/m), and enterprise-level plans (customizable price based on features);
  • Pay-as-you-go (from $18/m) option for freelancers & individual users;
  • Free trial for all pricing plans & free demo option.
  1. Time Doctor

 

When you put all your assets in order, it’s high time to increase your focus & productivity with better time tracking. Time Doctor is the right solution here, which will help you with scheduling your tasks, project management & employee monitoring. And time tracking here is accurate no matter what hardware you’re working on.

Best features

  • Automated time tracking to spend time on what really matters;  
  • Robust employee monitoring feature;
  • Regular updates on your productivity curve & summary reports;
  • Very user-friendly – you just log in & start using the tool right away.

Prices & top deals

  • Three tariff plans to choose from: basic ($7/user/m), standard ($10/user/m), premium ($20/user/m);
  • Enterprise pricing available on demand; 
  • 14-day free trial during which you can get familiar with the tool & try its best features.

Workflow management software

While businesses transfer to remote, they meet new workflow challenges. Tasks become more complicated. Employees have to manage online calls & receive more emails from their teammates. Team leaders have to control remote teams. Technology could help adapt to this new environment.

  1. Trello

You must have heard about Trello, but I couldn’t get past this tool when it comes to workflow management. The tool allows you to distribute tasks in your team easily by simply drag’n’dropping them on the colleague’s card. For better visualization, you can also add labels & checklists to your cards, change members, and set due dates.

Best features

  • Improved workflow organization, with multiple boards, cards, and users;
  • Colored labels & customizable covers to show the task status;
  • Ability to briefly describe the task, add checklists, attachments, and due dates for more clarification; 
  • Available Chrome extension to keep your teammates updated without the need to open the app.

Prices & top deals

  • Business class ($12.50/user/m) and enterprise-level ($17.50/user/m) pricing;
  • Free plan for 10 boards for a team but with unlimited card number;
  • A free 14-day trial period for business class plan.
  1. Calendly
calendly tools
Source: https://calendly.com

How do you plan to organize your workflow effectively without a good time manager? Calendly will suit you best in this case: automate your meeting scheduling, get timely updates, & be on the same page with your team’s routine.

Best features

  • Integration with up to 6 calendars (Google, Microsoft, etc.);
  • Ability to differentiate the types of your meetings (one-to-one, group, webinars);
  • Team’s page to track your colleague’s activity & schedule meetings more productively.

Prices & top deals

  • Three billing options: basic (for free), premium ($10/user/m), pro ($15/user/m);
  • 14-day free trial to try the solution.
  1. Mindmeister
Mindmeister tools
Source: https://www.mindmeister.com

A more creative idea to organize your workflow is to use mind maps. Mindmeister will help you to capture & develop your ideas. Then, you can easily share your ideas with everyone you need and present them visually.

Best features

  • An advanced mind map editor for project management, note-taking, and brainstorming;
  • Real-time collaboration & sharing;
  • A built-in presentation tool to transform your mind maps in slides too.

Prices & top deals

  • Three different plans to select from: personal ($2.49/m), pro ($4.19/m), business ($6.29/m);
  • Basic free plan with limited functionality.

Team communication tools

Before-the-pandemics times, we were all in comfortable offices. There your teammate could walk up to your desk & solve anything they needed in no time. Now the situation has changed. Team communication is scattered among different tools (everyone’s choosing team communication tool that’s more convenient for them). And you don’t see your teammates in reality anymore. Technology has become the key to effective communication these days.

  1. Zoom

During the first two months of the lockdown, Zoom has walked through the path from an unknown startup to the world’s leader in video conferencing. This tool has won hearts thanks to its ease of use, consistent user experience, and affordability. Join online meetings in a few clicks, record your calls for further review, and write in chat not to interrupt your colleague.

Best features

  • Unlimited number of one-to-one meetings & group conferences to keep in touch with your team;
  • The record option, for example, to send the demo call record to your clients as a follow-up;
  • Screen sharing & real-time chat to integrate into your workflow the most efficiently;
  • Personal meeting rooms & calendar integration for better time management.

Prices & top deals

  • Three distinct pricing plans depending on the number of participants hosted in video conferences;
  • Pro – 100 participants ($149.90/year), business – 300 participants ($199.90/year/licence, starting from 10 licences), and large enterprise-level – 500 participants ($199.90/year/licence, starting from 100 licences);
  • Completely free of charge basic tariff plan with hosting up to 100 participants and 40-minute meeting limit.
  1. Hive

If you’re looking for a good business communication platform, pay attention to Hive. The tool is very similar to Slack but more organized & with more features. Hive will streamline your business activities by keeping all chats, files, and the team’s to-do-list in one place.

Best features

  • On-the-spot communication with individuals & groups;
  • In-site sharing thanks to integrations with Google docs and other file-sharing systems;
  • Real-time analytics & in-app forms to collect any important data.

Prices & top deals

  • $16/user/m but with an annual subscription, it’ll be $12/user/m;
  • 14-day free trial period.

Sales & customer engagement apps

The idea of sales tools is to help salespeople reach prospects, manage their requests, and close deals as quickly as possible. As coronavirus messed up things for many businesses, clients have become more demanding and capricious. So you should treat them with more caution & timely response. The new technologies can streamline your sales pipeline these days.

  1. amoCRM

What about the world’s first messaging-powered CRM? amoCRM could be less famous than Zoom but the same unique in its functionality, allowing you to converse with all your messengers in a single app. And so you could solve your issue of scattered conversations all around emails, Facebook, Skype, WeChat, and also keep your chats with clients in one place.

Best features

  • Customer relationship management which centralizes all your emails, calls, and messengers in one place;
  • Powerful analytics, reporting, and automation to convert a lead into a successful sale;
  • Flexible AI chatbots to answer typical customer’s questions & schedule appointments.

Prices & top deals

  • Pricing starts from $15.00/user/m (base);
  • There are two other plans you can use: advanced ($25.00/user/m) and enterprise ($45.00/user/m).
  1. Appfollow.io
Source: https://appfollow.io

Collecting & responding to customer reviews is the lion’s share of salespeople’s duties. Appfollow.io can then make your life significantly easier. For one thing, the app will track all ratings & reviews for you to respond in a timely manner. For another, you’ll manage your social presence on different platforms from one app.

Best features

  • Ratings & reviews dashboard to track customer feedback;
  • All tools you need to manage those reviews most efficiently like auto-translation, auto-reply, etc.;
  • Integration with such tools as Salesforce or Zendesk to make your workplace even more productive.

Prices & top deals

  • Different pricing plans for startups & well-established companies;
  • Growth ($55/m), advanced ($111/m), and pro ($399/m);
  • Huge discounts for all plans right now.
  1. Reply.io

With Reply.io, automation has come to your sales as well. Don’t miss this innovative sales engagement platform, which will allow you to streamline all sales tools you use, from simple emails to calls & social media. Plus, the platform has its cool feature for tracking prospect’s activity.

Best features

  • Quick email search with no limits at all;
  • Ability to contact leads via different channels (emails, calls, social media, follow-up) but by using one platform;
  • Do-to lists to automate your daily sales processes;
  • An innovative approach to sales thanks to A/b testing, call recordings, sequence templates, etc.

Prices & top deals

  • 7 (!) different plans to fit your budget for sure;
  • On average, pricing starts at $55/month for individual plans and $45/month per user for business plans.
  • Right now, you can get up to 30% off all plans, unlimited email search on LinkedIn, free Reply implementation into your sales stack, and customer success included as a part of Reply’s Thanksgiving deal.

Content marketing solutions

Your content marketing strategy is as important as the sales one. This is how you reach your target audience. Right marketing tools will help you automate repeated tasks, keep your collateral in order, and delegate tasks better.

  1. Hibu
Source: https://hibu.com

Synchronization is a must in your marketing campaigns. To receive more calls, clicks, and links, your blog content should match your website, social media, etc., etc. Hibu will help you organize everything & lead an integrated digital marketing campaign.

Best features

  • Custom marketing solutions that work in complete sync;
  • An opportunity to track your progress in digital marketing;
  • Timely & effective response from the support department.

Prices & top deals

  • There are two separate charges: a monthly rolling fee & specific functionality costs that you need;
  • The monthly fee varies from $99/m to $159/m;
  • The functionality costs are between $99 to $449.
  1. Involve.me

Diversify your marketing strategy with Involve.me – your finding for user engagement. The tool arms you with all you need to create interactive content to stand out from your competitors: multiple outcomes based on user’s actions, hidden fields, and awesome design templates.

Best features

  • A drag’n’drop editor to add interactive content to your website without developers’ intrusion;
  • A vast number of ready-to-use website design templates;
  • Different content elements to add multiple-choice questions, rating, dropdowns, slider, buttons, etc., etc.

Prices & top deals

  • Three different plans: starter ($25/m), professional ($75/m), and business ($195/m);
  • A free forever plan with 100 submissions per month limit.
  • A free 14 day trial of any paid plan. 
  1. SendX

Developing & sending email sequences is the most tedious part of a marketer’s job. But you can automate this task with SendX. This simple tool will help you build your email list & reach your email subscribers easily.

Best features

  • Design, schedule & plan your email campaigns to improve your sales & get the most out of your outreach efforts;
  • Add email addresses to your existing list with popups, inline forms, etc.
  • Automate your email sequence to avoid any mistakes like when your message goes to a wrong user;
  • Use a drag’n’drop email editor for your convenience. 

Prices & top deals

  • The price depends on the number of your subscribers;
  • The lowest plan (up to 1000 subscribers) is a real deal – only $9.99/m (almost for a cup-of-coffee price);
  • You can save significantly by choosing an annual subscription.

Designer software

In online communities, creativity becomes the key to market success. Innovative design can help you to outperform your competitors. And this why a good product design solution is one more type of software you need.

  1.  Canva
Source: https://www.canva.com

This all-inclusive design platform will allow you to create anything you need, from graphic designs to social media posters, presentations, documents, and all other sorts of visual content. Users especially love Canva for its ready-to-use templates, which will save you lots of time, plus a modern & intuitive interface.

Best features

  • All-suite of features to empower your designs: crop your images, change fonts, colors, & textures, add captions, filters, & effects, adapt styles, layouts, and everything else in your visuals;
  • The most creative & diverse base of templates;
  • A convenient drag’n’drop editor;
  • Teamwork & customizable branding if needed.

Prices & top deals

  • 5 different pricing plans to adapt to your specific needs;
  • Free plan for individual users with 8000+ available templates;
  • Pro – $12.95/user/m ($9.95/user/m if you buy an annual subscription) & enterprise ($30/user/m);
  • Separate prices for education institutions & nonprofits.
  1. InVision
Source: https://support.invisionapp.com

Another interesting design solution you cannot miss. InVision will support you through all stages of prototype design creation: from ideas up to development. Here you have a detailed motion and animation tool, a freehand feature for live collaboration, the import of Sketch files, and many more.

Best features

  • A comprehensive package of features for UI/UX designs;
  • User-friendly & intuitive interface with a drag’n’drop feature;
  • Ready-made templates to work with.

Prices & top deals

  • Free plan with up to 3 users & 3 documents available;
  • Pro plan for collaboration teams up to 15 users ($9.95/m);
  • Enterprise pricing on demand. 

A few concluding remarks

The coronavirus pandemics & recent lockdown have established a new order in our business world. And so we have to play these new rules and change our workflow accordingly.

The best decision here is to rely more on technology. The right tools will help you streamline your workflow, automate repetitive tasks, & achieve effective team communication.

In this post, we reviewed 15 tools of the most diverse purposes and functionality which will help you manage your remote team. There is a wide range of other tools available on the market – don’t hesitate to check them too.

Olena Zherebetska
Latest posts by Olena Zherebetska (see all)

Post Your Comment Here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *