Category Archives: Uncategorized

Your New Accountant: QuickBooks

Welcome to QuickBooks, the closest thing to having a personal accountant at your side 24/7. QuickBooks can be accessed on any device, anywhere, and at any time. It allows you to Track expenses, accept payments  and even pay your employees. It’s the best way to handle the finance aspect of any business.

Quickbooks has many features that make it an extremely practical tool for anyone to use. The workflow is awesome and super easy to learn. Elegantly designed dashboards and feeds instantly show you the health of your business and your next action steps. You can choose to design custom invoices to fit your needs as well as get invoices paid very quickly online via credit card. QuickBooks also automatically pulls in data from your bank and credit card accounts, saving time and reducing data entry errors.

QuickBooks Starts at $12.95 a month with the simplest plan and $39.95 a month for the QuickBooks Plus plan, all of which have a fee trial version.

Follow this link for more information: http://quickbooks.intuit.com/

The History of Dropbox

Dropbox is a program that we are all familiar with in one way or another. The birth story of this company, however, is not as common knowledge.

DB 291x300 The History of Dropbox

Drew Huston, founder and CEO of Dropbox, has been given the title of Internet entrepreneur for his achievements in his field. The creation story of the company, Huston claims, was based upon an idea that came to him after having had to deal with constantly forgetting his USB flash drive during his studies at MIT. While he was a student he found an abundance of problems with already existing storage services and set out to solve this problem for himself before realizing that his solution could benefit others as well. In 2007, he and his co-founder Arash Ferdowsi were able to secure funding to begin the development of the program, and by 2008 they were ready to launch. Dropbox had an enormous success rate, and, after officially being introduced at TechCrunch50, broke records gaining 50 million users in just under three years. By the end of 2013 Dropbox had gained over 200 million users.

Huston’s success did not go unnoticed, however, especially by some of the executives in extremely high positions at the time including none other than Steve Jobs. In 2009, Huston was personally invited to a meeting in the Apple office in California to discuss this new startup, Dropbox, with the CEO himself. Job’s did his best to persuade Huston to partner Dropbox as a new Apple program, but Huston was determined to build this online storage system into a big company. He adamantly refused Job’s offer, disregarding the huge sum being offered for program. Not long after, Apple released its latest addition, the iCloud in a successful attempt at connecting all devices for better file sharing.

With this attack from such a major player Huston was shaken with the fear that Dropbox would fall alongside other names such as MySpace, Netscape, or Palm. This is the fear that drove him and quite possibly the deciding factor between his success instead of his failure. The company grew, reaching an even larger user basis while still remaining reliable and keeping its staff relatively small (fewer than 200 employees for its millions of customers). Huston is to this day still incredibly invested in his company personally, his share making up 15% of the company as $600 million on paper, and believes whole heartedly in its growth and success.

We can use Huston’s story as an aid in our own entrepreneurial journey. His experiences can help us as we make our own decisions as our own ideas begin to become our realities.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom is a website that offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs. You can get all sorts of business and personal legal help from professionals for a reasonable price.  LegalZoom offers help starting your business by providing you with the appropriate legal paperwork for your state.  LegalZoom also can assist you with real estate, taxation, corporate changes,  permits, and compliance.  LegalZoom can also help you personally with name changes, divorce, green cards, personal injury, prenuptial agreements,  bankruptcy, DUI, and disability benefits.  LegalZoom was listed in the top ten best digital tools for entrepreneurs in 2012 by Forbes.

Why it is Significant

Entrepreneurs are usually pretty busy.  They have a lot to do and cant afford to spend the time messing with legal issues themselves.  LegalZoom is faster than finding and meeting with a local legal advisor.  When running a business, time is money and spending time inefficiently is not helpful.

What make it different?

LegalZoom differentiates from other online legal services because it is full service.  You can get blank legal documents from uslegalforms.com for cheaper but LegalZoom will complete the forms based on your answers to some online questions so you don’t have to mess around trying to do things you don’t have time for or don’t even know how to do.

LegalZoom is a very important tool for entrepreneurs because it allows them to focus more on whatever they need to focus on and not legal paperwork.

http://www.legalzoom.com/

Doodle

Doodle Logo Doodle

Have you ever had to handle the stress of attempting to find a date and time for a meeting with a group of people?  Well stress no more because Doodle is a helpful tool that allows stress for stress free planning.  You can easily link in your calendar if it’s through google, Ical or outlook.  Once you enter your potential dates and times of the event into Doodle, it sends out a polling calendar. Then, Doodle collects the data and informs you of the best date.

This is a quick and easy solution to a problem that can be extremely hectic. Whether it be for a family gathering, a group project, or a business meeting, Doodle has the capability to save time and effort.  Doodle’s tagline is “The scheduling tool you’ll actually use.  Find a date for a meeting 2X faster.”  This is a clear pictures of Doodle’s message.

Doodle is primarily a free service.  They also offer a premium private service and a business service for a fee.  The premium services offer extra tools which, depending on the need of the user, could be essential.  As an aspiring entrepreneur currently in college, I am confident that Doodle will be a useful tool that I will have the ability to utilize.  If you are interested in using this tool you can find more information at doodle.com.

Instagram

 Instagram

Instagram is a photo sharing, mobile, and social networking website/app that has become extremely popular. It enables its users to take pictures and videos, make edits, and share them on a variety of different social networking platforms.

Kevin Systrom graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Management Science & Engineering. His first intern experience was through Odeo which later became Twitter.

Mike Krieger also graduated from Stanford University where he studied Symbolic Systems with a focus in Human-Computer Interaction. During his time at Stanford, he interned on Microsoft’s PowerPoint team as a PM and at Foxmarks as a software developer. He also wrote his Master’s thesis on how user interfaces can better support collaboration on a large scale before getting connected with Instagram.

Instagrammin Instagram

Together Krieger and Systrom (in the picture above) founded Instagram, and launched it in 2010.

Instantly Instagram became a household name with over 200 million active monthly users. Personally, one of my favorite features on Instagram is the ability to edit photos with multiple different filters before you post a picture. This allows people to do all of the editing on Instagram rather than having to use separate apps, which was a pain.

Two of the most important things that Instagram has accomplished is its ability to achieve financial support from investors. Without the financial backing of investors, Instagram would have been unable to start up as a company. To truly get a scope of the size of the deal investors made, one must look no further than to the first venture capital firms that put up seed money for Instagram: Andreesen Horowitz’s original $250,000 investment is now worth a whopping $78 million. That is 78 followed by six zeroes. A return of 312 times the initial investment. Secondly, Instagram added hashtags to its site which encouraged users connect with each other and see pictures from all over the world.  This was evolutionary.

Without a doubt, Instagram is going to be around for a long time.

Calendly

Calendly CalendlyCalendly is a website where you can easily tailor your events, meetings, and appointments by putting the events into your Google Calendar.  Calendly also makes it easier for the people who are trying to contact the business person.  It does this by allowing them to view the other person’s schedule and find the perfect time to meet with them.  Once this is done, the event is put into the business person’s Google Calendar, Outlook or iCal calendar and they are notified right away.

This is a great site for entrepreneurs.  They are usually busy and hard to get a hold of to set up meeting times.  However, through Calendly, people are able to see when the business person is free and set up a meeting without having to contact them directly.  Calendly acts like the middleman in this situation; it saves the people a lot of time and money.

Another reason Calendly is great for entrepreneurs is because it makes it easier for two people to cancel or reschedule meetings.  Instead of emailing and calling a person many times, this site allows people to make quick changes without all the hassle.  It also helps people be more up to date with meeting information.  This allows the entrepreneur to save time and make more money.

I would recommend Calendly because, as I have mentioned many times before, this site is the perfect time savor.  It reduces stress over emailing people over and over and playing phone tag between one another.  All a client has to do is see when the person is free, place in a time and place of when and where they want their meeting to happen, and then it is sent to the business person where they are notified without any mix-ups.  It is also nice because it is added right to the business person’s calender so they would not have to take time out of their busy day to add it in to their phone where there is the possible chance of forgetting and never putting it in.  I believe their statement to be true when they say “Simple, beautiful scheduling”.  Calendly knew what was up when they created this website.

Square Stand: Point of Sale Cash Register for Ipad

A handy tool that I have seen available and starting to be used more frequently by small businesses is the dock that allows you to turn an iPad into a cash register to process payments.  Square Inc. introduced the Square Stand which allows you to accept payment, send receipts, manage inventory, and collect feedback for you business all from your ipad.  You can also connect external cash registers, scanners, and printers to the dock depending on your business needs.  I think this is a great tool for any person looking to open their own business and looking for a way to accept payments in the “modern age”.

square stand reader Square Stand: Point of Sale Cash Register for Ipad

One of the stores that I do business with regularly with, SneakerVille, uses this device and i talked to the owner and he said that h loves how easy it is to use and would definitely be using the same product if he ever opens another store.

HelloSign: The Future of Signing Documents

I know for my father and for other people that work in business that one of the most annoying things that can be sent to you is a document that needs to be signed. It consumes time and it takes effort as it requires you to print the document, sign it, scan the signed document, and then send it back. No one wants to go through all that trouble, and now we don’t have to anymore.

HelloSign is an app that allows you to easily sign any document on your smart phone or tablet. It allows you to make fast, secure, and legally binding e-signatures. It makes signing a document less of a chore and helps you get to the things that you really want to do.

It takes the “sigh” out of “signing”.

HelloSign also allows you to sign documents directly to Google Docs.  It is by far the fastest way to sign documents, contracts, NDA’s and other agreements. You can complete applications faster, get approvals faster, and close deals faster. The app has video tutorials, FAQ databases and “contact us” forms in one easy to reach place, but the application is so simple and self explanatory that even people who consider themselves technologically impaired find it easy to use.

HelloSign will change the way we spend our time behind the desk. No longer having to deal with all the process of copying, signing, scanning and faxing will make our work life just a little bit easier. There are many great things about the app, but the best part is that it’s free.

 

Nimble: Contact Management Software

Nimble is a catchall contact management program for businesses that can integrate Hootsuite, Evernote, Mailchimp, Google and social media outlets into its operation. But, what is contact management software anyway, and why is it useful? With Nimble, you can import your email address books and create contact records that go way beyond a name and email address. You can track the entire history of your relationship with each contact, how you met, what sort of business you’ve done together, even what they are posting on social media right now. So if you’re in sales, you can keep track of when you last contacted a customer, if and when you’ll next be meet with them, and see if they are currently posting something online about how they would really like [x, y, z product] so you can be the one to say “I can help you with that”, to build stronger client relationships.

But you can also keep track of messages from almost anywhere: Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and more can all be integrated into feed. If someone tweets about your product, you can see what they’re saying and tweet back, while being able to do the same with other platforms, all while only looking through one inbox and it can sort through every social media account for certain keywords related to your business. Even more innovative than these two capabilities is Nimble’s ‘Rules Engine’ that uses a self-teaching algorithm to see when you respond or don’t respond to certain messages, allowing it to refine what it shows you over time.

So who is Nimble for? It’s certainly a very powerful tool, but that capability comes at a price of $15 per month per user. It can integrate hundreds of additional apps, and it allows you to build your daily calendar into it as well, so it provides a lot of value for the price. I would say it is most valuable for someone in a business built around long term relationships, like business-to-business sales, or if you’re running a consumer business in a segment where social media based feedback is the norm. But more and more every business is affected by social media chatter, so it’s not improbable that soon every business will find this valuable.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangoutshangout Google Hangouts

With Google being a Mecca of new technological innovation and the standard in online presence it will come as no surprise that google has come out with a new tool that is innovating and improving video conferencing.  Google Hangouts is a great product that functions similarly to Skype but has taken the video tool to a new level.  One of the strongest features of Hangouts is that it is great for not only casual hangouts with friends but also in the professional realm.  With business trending more and more online and outsourcing and long distance partnerships the value of being able to meet without being all in the same spot is a very valuable thing.  Not only saving time and money by not forcing people to physically be together Hangouts offer another level of personal touch that a phone call or conference call just can’t.  For an example of how Hangouts is used in the professional realm my dad, a plant manager in Franklin, using Hangouts everyday to have a tier meeting with his fellow plants so that everyone is on the same page and is in the loop as to what is going on.  The simplicity of Hangouts as well is another great reason why to use it.  With clear and specific tabs to leave, mute, share, or stream the simplicity of it is a reason in itself to give it a shot.  For any anybody looking for an easy, free, and quick way to connect with others Google Hangouts is the perfect tool for you.