Got Tasks? Get Tools: Updates from the Hatcheries
Through the Butler Launch Pad, the Blank Center awards graduate and undergraduate student entrepreneurs access to professional and semiprivate workspace to grow their businesses. Known as the hatcheries, these spaces encourage ideation and collaboration. In a series of blog posts, this semester’s hatchery teams will go beyond the four walls of their offices and share their experiences, advice for other entrepreneurs, and industry expertise with us.
The following post is written by Salimata Bangoura MBA ’19, founder of Dugu.
Tools of productivity
One of the best things that I have learned as an entrepreneur throughout my time at Babson is that entrepreneurs know the best tools of productivity. There are so many tools out there and so many varying opinions on what’s best to use for different functions, and, to even get that information, you spend precious time googling and reading reviews, looking at comparison charts, etc. I already know and trust my fellow entrepreneurs who are in the trenches with me and are the best critics and reviewers because they’re looking for similar tools to increase their efficiency and reduce their costs.
It is because of this that one of my biggest tips for any entrepreneur is to talk to other entrepreneurs and ask them very basic questions about what they use to schedule meetings, manage projects, and keep track of clients, to name a few. There is always a matter of preference, but over time you’ll start to see a pattern and see what the most recommended tools are, as well as find out about the newest innovations that make your life as an entrepreneur easier. Also within your network, you can always ask follow up questions on what the tools have done for them and why they think it’s so great or what’s not so great about it. This saves you precious time and further reinforces your relationship with your fellow entrepreneurs because you’ll also share what you know with them.
One such tool I found as an entrepreneur who is bootstrapping her venture is GenM. GenM is a platform that allows students interested in marketing to learn the fundamental basics and lessons of marketing, and the students are than paired up with businesses and entrepreneurs to help them with their marketing needs. It is a great platform because the students not only get to apply the lessons they learn, you also get access to an eager pool of dedicated learners who can help you with your marketing needs. Yes it takes a couple of hours out of your day to find somebody who meets your specific criteria and then schedule an interview with them, but it is worth every single minute. The best part of it is you get an intern that works for up to 10 hours per week and it only costs you $49 per month. We recently found two phenomenal interns on GenM who are helping us with our content, email, and social media marketing and research. We are looking to get a third one who will focus on updating and optimizing our website. So we’ll look for a student with that background who is looking to get more experience in that area.
Another tool I found through networking and asking my fellow entrepreneurs is Rippling, a one stop shop HR management tool that is almost too good to be true. They help you with on-boarding, off boarding, giving one sign on access to your favorite productivity platforms (they have hundreds of integrations), and managing payroll for you. The best part of it is that it’s free if you have five employees or less. Rippling has completely changed my life as an entrepreneur by saving me time and giving me a secured tool to gather all of my employees’ uploaded employment documents instead of them emailing it to me or giving it to me in paper format. They also offer health benefits and hardware/software with total remote control to make sure it is being used properly and company information is secure.
Asking other entrepreneurs what they use to help them with their day to day operations, productivity, and efficiency saves you precious time and resources. In addition, it is a great way to connect with other people at awkward networking events. Save yourself time, headaches, and trial and error because these people have done it; grab the stick and keep going. And when it’s your turn, pass it along to the next entrepreneur.