5 Types of Apps Every Entrepreneur Needs

Written by Andy Ayim

I typically share insights, lessons and techniques to help people transition from their day jobs into starting their own businesses. Today I will share some of the most useful app’s I regularly have used on my journey so far. This list is far from exhaustive so please feel free to add any tools you find useful in the comments below.

Social Networks

Most of you know the impact of social networks, especially when you hear the extent of their reach e.g. over 1 billion people on Facebook Messenger. However when starting out as an entrepreneur, it is importance to know both where your audience is and how to reach them on the platforms they use most online.

  • Keep up to date with promotion channels and advertising opps e.g. Instagram for Business, Pinterest for Business or Facebook Marketing.
  • Arbitrage opportunities such as Snapchat filters, which allows you to reach people for relatively cheap across the world by creating location based filters.
  • A month ago I wrote an article touching on the rise of Influencer Marketing and the depth of relationships these influencer’s have with their audience. Advertising with influencers with between 10,000–50,000 followers is still relatively niche and we hear stories time and time again of brands who blew up through selling through influencers such as BirchBox.

Books & Article Apps

This advice goes beyond just entrepreneurs, but getting into the habit of reading your books and articles can prove difficult given the majority of your time is dedicated to executing on your ideas. However, time and time again we hear how somehow Entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg and David Cancel regularly read at least two books a month along with countless articles.

  • Pocket is a great app to use across devices to quickly save articles to read later and even use it’s TTS feature to listen to articles on your commute to and from the office.
  • Content strategy is central to growing a community around your products. Medium is a great platform to publish continuous lessons learned and follow others to keep abreast of stories that interest you.
  • Often during meetings or at conferences, I use Evernote to take pics of slides, write minutes and take pics of business cards. The beauty of the OCR technology in Evernote is that you can search for words in images e.g. I take pictures of pages I highlight/ annotate in books I read and often search for specific words.
  • Before I sleep as well as on my commutes I regularly like to use Audible to listen to audiobooks (subscription gets you one free book a month).
  • Kindle device is awesome but second to that, the app is useful on the go.
  • Feedly for aggregated content, especially helpful for saving content if you publish newsletters (along with Medium and Pocket).

Productivity

I often hear the educational debate at schools that smatphones and tablets serve as distractions for students with the explosive growth of apps. However there is a rising group of EdTech apps striving to disrupt this narrative and create a marriage between education and technology.

Similarly as an Entrepreneur you can’t afford to be on Facebook and Twitter all day, nevertheless there are productivity apps that can help to rationalise your working day and add value to what you do.

  • I love using IFTTT for automating everyday workflows that you notice you do manually such as saving attachments received by email automatically to Google Drive.
  • On the subject of cloud storage Google Drive is awesome and relatively cheap to buy 1TB of memory to use for business purposes. The beauty of Drive though is not just the storage but rather the collaborative aspect of using Sheets, Forms, Docs, Slides and so many other products.
  • Sticking with the theme of Google, Hangouts is another great product for quickly arranging calls (audio only and video) to speak to people in remote locations.
  • On the subject of collaboration, Wunderlist is awesome for collaboratively working on simple lists such as goals for the day or immediate items on your product roadmap.
  • For more detailed To Do lists or Project/ Product level planning and collaboration, Trello is a great tool to use.

Music & Podcasts

Whether we admit it or not, we all love to listen to music on the move and at work sometimes to get into the zone for uninterrupted focus. Likewise a great channel for continuous learning for me personally has been podcasts, which I listen to when I wake up in the mornings and late evenings before I sleep.

  • Soundcloud can be difficult to navigate but it is great for music and podcast discovery especially for emerging artists and podcasts.
  • Spotify (if you get premium subscription) is good for the breadth of content available, however the free version is very restricted and not a pleasurable experience due to lack of control e.g. shuffle play only with ads.
  • Shazam is great for finding out what music is playing and saving it for later rather then waste time searching and figuring out that tune. I’ll put my hands up, not a necessity for an Entrepreneur but we have all had those annoying moments when you want to name that tune and it is annoying you.
  • I find that once a podcast has been recommended to you or you have stumbled upon a new one on platforms such as Sticher which is great to use on the move as you can store podcasts for offline listening, i.e. underground on the Tube in London.

A Few Others

The remaining few apps are on my smartphone or tablet which have proven useful on a weekly basis.

  • You know my love by now for continuous learning and customer engagement on a constant basis. Central to this is prototypes and a central tool I’ve used and recommend is Invision App.
  • As a firm believer more in innovation over inventions, I believe that because we all have muscle memory of how to use websites and apps therefore when creating new products, changing the 20% of the product e.g. UX and UI can create the value in your product. Examples like Blackbery Messenger to Whatsapp, MS Word to Google Doc and Books to Kindle are all examples of this. Other sources of inspiration can be seen on UX a Day, UX Design and pttrns.
  • Along with this popular apps such as Uber for simplicity, WeChat for integrations and even games like Momentum Valley are good to study.

Finally you should always be benchmarking and experiencing using competitor apps and asking yourself, why did they make that update. Even more critical to that is observing people using your competitor apps as well as yours to really understand your customers, jobs-to-be-done and pain-points your product could solve.

Are there any other tools you use on a daily or weekly basis that you would recommend to others? Let me know in the comments below.

PS: I usually send out these articles via my personal email list right here. You can sign up anytime, I won’t spam, promise.

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