There’s so much to keep track of when you’re an entrepreneur, from tracking inventory to searching for staff on job boards and websites. Anything that streamlines your list of things to do and helps keep you sane is a good thing, right? Here are five must-have gadgets and smartphone apps you need to get your ASAP.
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If you had five minutes with a leading expert in your field, what would you ask? This online community connects up-and-comers with successful business owners. You can scour a database of 14,000-plus pros—organized by topic, location, name or cost—and schedule a phone call with a mentor, whose per-minute rate is determined by his or her experience and notoriety. For example, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban commands about $167 per minute, while American Apparel marketing director Ryan Holiday charges $10. clarity.fm
Just as online daters rely on companies like OkCupid and JDate to find an ideal mate, business pros can turn to this site to find the work partner of their dreams. Profiles include a short bio, skills, contact information and what they’re looking for in a potential cofounder, including time commitment and monetary investment. Standard profiles are free, but an upgraded membership puts your name at the top of search results and gives you unlimited messages (three months $60, six months $108, one year $120). cofounderslab.com
cash only signs can send potential customers looking for the quickest exit instead of their wallets. But with this petite plug-in card reader, you can use your smartphone to accept credit cards anywhere, anytime. Sign up online to receive the approximately 1.5" x 1" white cube by mail. Download the free app, link your bank account and voilà, you’re in business! You can even e-mail or text receipts to your customers. squareup.com; free
Small-business owners have to balance everything from staff assignments to client databases. Keep track of it all in one organized place with this Web-based project-management tool, which allows you to assign tasks, track team member progress, work on documents simultaneously, receive e-mail recaps of meetings and archive projects when you’re finished. Bonus: You can give it a gratis spin for 60 days. basecamp.com; prices vary
Cloud-based file sharing
You and your team might be sans office or operating from different locations. Instead of e-mailing attachments back and forth, utilize a cloud system such as Google Drive or Dropbox to create, share and update documents with multiple people. Ian Anderson, who runs start-up PR outfit Swim Agency, uses Google Docs to coordinate with team members and keep customers informed: “All of our campaigns are tracked in real-time on Google spreadsheets, so that our clients can check our progress as it occurs. There’s never a sense of ‘What work are they doing?’ ”
Post up at a 42-foot-long counter for espressos and craft beers at this rustic café-bar from the Alewife team. In a room lined with keg pallets and light fixtures fashioned from plumbing parts, sip one of 30 draft brews, orange wines or Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee. Chef Michael Haigh (the Vanderbilt) crafts a bar snack menu featuring house-made pickles, charcuterie and crostinis.
Venue says: “Located on the LES of NYC, serving 30 beers on tap, cocktails, bourbon & bites”