Being an entrepreneur is an altogether different ballgame.
You need to be prepared for it with the right tools and resources because running a business means you need to be perfect on every front, right from getting an investor to handling payments, to managing your team and looking after customer requirements.
This is the same, no matter what kind of business you run; it could be a website selling flowers, or it could be a business specializing in e commerce apps. There is no compromise in the fact you need to have certain important features in your business offerings to get them up and running.
And, there are some very good tools and resources to work this out. But how do you know which are the best tools for business, especially when there is a vast pool out there?
Based on the specific needs and requirements of a product, we present before you a curated list of tools and resources that will help entrepreneurs of software product companies achieve success.
Each tool is suited for one purpose or the other, so let us go through the different tools in the list to know which all suits you the best.
The Tools and Resources
JIRA — one of the popular team collaboration tools from Atlassian, comes with a comprehensive set of features and is perfect for agile project management methodologies and it could range from Scrum, Kanban, Mixed methodology or any methodology of your choice.
With the help of JIRA Scrum, you can easily plan, track and manage your software products, with no compromise in quality, and release products built with fixed-length iterations.
Through JIRA — Kanban, enterprises are able to meet consumer demand and produce only those products that are demanded by them at specified times. Hence, Kanban is a very popular agile methodology framework where enterprises are able to align their inventory with the actual demand and consumption requirements.
Basecamp is the perfect choice for smaller projects and has a lot of features that makes it user-friendly and solves critical problems in a project. There is a designated area where you can meet with other developers and discuss the project and get their opinion. When you have different files on a single project, it lets you comment on a particular task or file as well.
Trello is the best choice for organizing and monitoring projects successfully. It will let you prioritize product development, make and manage high level product improvements, delegate and arrange customer requests and feedback for future reference, mark upcoming sprints as priority and create transparent development process.
Aha! helps you drive product strategies, create visual roadmaps and share them. Aha! helps you to explain your product and highlight business value while going into the detailing part of the roadmap, like scheduling the goals of your product, its release details and features and design engineering of your product.
The tool is designed exclusively for the product manager, and provides the workflow board for both Scrum and Agile teams.
ProductPlan is a user-friendly roadmap software that helps you to plan, visualize and share product information and communicate your strategies with the team members.With its intuitive features, you can create a roadmap within minutes and use them for team collaboration. The tool can be deployed without hitches on Cloud, Web and SaaS.
Pttrns is well known for its ever growing collection of patterns and designs for app development. The tool has several categories based on which you can design your app (Android or iOS) and test for productivity. Pttrns also allows you to test the design solutions and evaluate user experience before entering into the next phase of product development.
8. iOS Fonts
As exceptional user experience is the hallmark of Apple products, iOS Fonts, a very popular design tool is intended to test the design choices you have made. It is a handy design tool, where you can review the fonts in your app, analyze the typography, try them on your app and then preview them for usability, aesthetic quality and functionality.
This is a comprehensive guide on how to apply principles to define the visual features like design elements, transitions, graphics and surfaces of your Android app. There are training tutorials on how to apply material design to your apps. You can also go through the new patterns and styles that are updated from time to time on this page.
InVision tool lets you create powerful designs and enjoy high fidelity in just a few minutes. It lets you upload your files and add all the necessary effects and animations. You can check the prototype for any design changes, making the tool an ideal platform for analyzing your work, all in one place.
And that’s not all. It has an option where customers and shareholders can share their opinions/feedback on the work done so far.
UXPin is a full stack UX design platform that lets you design, document, test and build great apps. Through agile means, it lets you centralise your UX practice. Hence, it lets you do a lot more than just prototyping. You no longer need to follow lengthy upfront sprints to check for productivity. It allows for scalable design systems where there is consistency in team UI libraries; redundancy is totally eliminated.
13. Mobile Roadie
Mobile Roadie is integrated with a host of features that lets you build and market your app, either in Android or in iOS as it supports only those two. The tool helps you build business apps with the horde of do-it-yourself features integrated into the platform. Some of the noted features include push notifications, content updates, geo targeted marketing campaigns and advanced analytics.
Offering direct support for Android app developers when they need to discuss app-related doubts, Android Development Support acts as a reliable platform for emerging and seasoned developers. You can get on the community and chat forums and discuss aspects related to coding and marketing your app.
If you are looking for code-level support for building Apple products, then looking at Apple Developer Support would be a good thing. Inputs on the latest APIs, frameworks and tools are all available to members of various Apple programs like Apple Developer Program, MFi Program and Apple Developer Program.
Windows Developer Support lets you connect with other Windows developers and technology gurus to discuss the latest trends in app development and market trends and clear doubts that arise during coding.
17. Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow is a huge online programmers’ community where you can exchange technical information and get answers to all your doubts related to programming. This knowledge hub can drastically help you fine tune your software product development skills.
GitHub is a web-based Git or version control repository and code hosting platform offering collaboration among developers. You can have the same account for both private and fee repositories for open source software projects.
This app distribution guide is the perfect resource for publishing, managing and distributing Android apps worldwide. It lets you maintain a checklist of all the things that you need to do before launching your app. With the help of this guide, you can be sure you are distributing to the right platform.
The Apple App Distribution guide is a comprehensive resource that helps you to distribute iOS apps across different app stores. Guidance for enrolling in the Apple Developer Program to releasing and maintaining your submitted iOS app, is thoroughly detailed here.
There is a unified dashboard for Windows App Distribution that lets you publish and manage your apps to the store. You can handle all the activities that need to be done after the submission process and check on the analytics to monitor their progress and money earned from app usage.
Instant distribution with quick app setup, review and processing times are what attracts people to the Installr tool. You can test your apps in Installr and get customer feedback quickly.
As it provides cross-platform support, you can easily test multiple apps without worrying about versions and platforms. Installr API docs helps you upload new builds and integrate seamlessly with your continuous deployment environment.
23. Market Wired
An integral part of NASDAQ, Market Wired is a Press Release and News Wire Service that would help spread word about your software product and its features.
And that’s not all. Other features of the resource include targeting the audience that could promote your business, tracking release performance, measuring social media campaigns and collaborating with brand promoters/influencers.
24. Google Analytics
You can say that Google Analytics is the right tool for a number of activities ranging from measuring your product performance to checking your ROI and monitoring your social media channel performance. You can track the performance of your software product in its intricate detail, check the activity in your websites and learn about your audience.
25. App Annie
App Annie is a must-have tool when you want to check how many times your app has been downloaded. You can also monitor the monetization metrics and collect relevant business intelligence reports across all major app stores. It also gives you access to wholesome data regarding keyword ranking, revenue estimates and top charts.
The Mopapp tool is the perfect resource for market penetration. Other features include revenue analytics, in-depth app analysis, checking for public ranking, app store comparison. All this is done by gathering real-time intelligence with the help of centralized and comprehensive dashboard where comparison charts and automated reports come in.
With Appfigures, you can gain valuable insights into the performance of your apps. The analysis is collected both historically and geographically to understand a pattern. The tool also helps you keep track of users and gauge how they perceive your app.
28. AWS Free Tier
AWS Free Tier gives you complete freedom of storage solution through DynamoDB tables, Lambda functions, RDS databases, transcoding, messaging, caching, load balancing, EBS volumes and much more. Sign up with an AWS account, and go through the 10-minute tutorial to start using this resource.
29. Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is a flexible, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform and offers the benefits of both Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to build and deploy your apps whenever you want it.
Joyent is integrated with state of the art technology to provide manageable, container oriented architecture that you can use at any time. It is rooted in open source platform and can run any app, even the most demanding ones seamlessly.
Renowned to be one of the best mobile credit card processing solution, Square lets you accept credit awards on mobile devices without any hitches. The tool would be linked to your bank account, so there will be no delay in amount transfers. The clean and intuitive interface of this POS app makes it ideal even for the less experienced in the technical field.
Stripe sets new standards in online payments, and the tool is perfectly capable of handling huge amounts of money without any glitches or delays. The platform itself is integrated with several powerful and flexible tools that would make the payment aspects of your products extremely successful. And if you wish to scale, Stripe makes it instantly possible.
Quickbooks, the accounting software lets you create invoices for which your customers will pay. There is an option to email invoices to your customer and monitor their payments, so you will know where you stand in your receivables and open balance. You can send payment reminders and create recurring invoices with the help of Quickbooks.
Braintree is the perfect tool for helping big and small enterprises to process and accept payments. The partnership with Paypal makes it easier for scaling and backing, not to speak of the amazing business opportunities it offers. The tool also promises hassle-free checkout experience, white glove support and advanced fraud prevention tools.
SlickPie is offers a cloud based, reliable accounting solution and is integrated with MagicBot, an automated data entry tool where invoices are tracked whenever customers open, review and pay. The app is integrated with automation features that let you send payment reminders and auto-recurring invoices to customers.
To know about patents and trademarks, you can rely on The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the federal agency responsible for granting US patents and registering trademarks. The aim is to provide security and protection for innovators and entrepreneurs
The World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO is a global forum and was one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations, created to protect the intellectual property on a global level, and to protect the rights of creators and owners. It files, manages, and searches patents and trademarks on designs and origin appellations.
38. Google Patents
Google Patents lets you search patents and trademark information of products from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, not only in the US, but in other countries as well. You can read the organized and automatically labeled complete texts of the patents, technical material, art in the non-patent literature.
LegalZoom lets you get into the nitty-gritty of legal issues in product development and deployment. The website has different web-based tools that focus on different categories of products and they have a huge and growing attorney network where personalized advice is given to address each person’s individual need.
Nolo, initially known as Nolo Press, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Internet Brands and is an integration of Nolo.com, Divorcenet.com and AllLaw.com. It is a reliable resource to tap when you want to cover all the legal aspects of product development.
PandaDoc covers all the legal aspects and “paperwork” involved in business. Being a software platform, you can create, post and sign transactional documents and other legal papers online automatically.
It is intuitive, interactive and feature-rich, letting you create proposals, contracts, quotes and sending them to vendors and clients.
Entrepreneurs are often intimidated by the amount of legalities involved in running a business. They are also confused on which resource to trust and what kind of information to use. This article by Harvard Business School (HBS) Working Knowledge gives you information on how to overcome some common legal mistakes.
The word of the employee, often anonymous goes a long way in knowing how they perceive the company they are working in. Similarly, an entrepreneur will tell you the pitfalls while running a business, and how you can gain an advantage from it all. Entrepreneur’s Organization, with its aim to engage you with leading entrepreneurs is the perfect resource to learn and grow.
At Young Presidents’ Organization, entrepreneurs and executives meet to learn and grow in a lifelong commitment. You will find the world’s most influential people here, so get enriched and knowledgeable by joining the organization. There are over 24,000 members in the organization from over 130 countries.
FoundersCard is a reliable tool for networking with entrepreneurs like you. The members join from everywhere on a global level and are ready to help each other by providing real-life examples and usable advice. Additionally, there are premium and expert members who are veterans and ready to share their knowledge.
With hundreds of articles spanning several pages, the collection of essays by renowned computer scientist, Paul Graham is a learning resource you can tap to learn how to run your business and earn profit. If you are running out of a product idea or want to know how to improve your business, then you can bookmark this page and refer it from time to time.
Forbes has evolved to be a very reliable resort for entrepreneurs who need to know the basics of running their enterprises successfully, including production, launching and marketing. If you have the penchant for self learning, then Forbes with its wealth of information, is the one-stop solution.
48. Tropical MBA
Tropical MBA is a business learning resource center consisting of blogs that would help you clear doubts on various aspects of entrepreneurship. You can subscribe to TMBA to get the latest and most updated resources.
To learn from experts is a boon, especially when you are an entrepreneur. Mixergy helps meet with expert founders who have made a name for themselves in business and learn how they achieved paying customers. There are plenty of interviews from which you can learn and grow.
How about being present where you can exert influence to your target audience? This is possible through Colibri as it helps you to diversify your traffic by improving SEO and participating in conversations where customers are ready to listen and act. You can integrate the tool with Google Analytics to enjoy better performance.
You can use Nimble to grow your business by integrating all your contacts in the email system and social media channels. The tool can easily manage thousands of contacts at a single time, collect interesting information regarding your customers, like their birthdays, anniversaries and so on. You can also grab a grip on who is talking about you and what.
MixRank is a tool that helps you find new customers and grow your business by concentrating on promising sales leads. You can find the latest traffic sources and focus on only those that would drive results. The highlight of the tool is that it lets you monitor competitor ad campaigns and see which of them have become effective.
GrowthHackers helps you plan your business through an agile and cross-functional approach. Your aims to achieve sustainable business growth through customer satisfaction and revenue growth are realized here. There is a GrowthHackers Community where you can share your knowledge, connect and learn from other developers in the field.
Entrepreneurs often need something more than a helping hand and good advice. Besides, Internet being a good source of information, there are many tools and resources that will help you learn the pulse of your audience, build products your customers love and stay ahead of your competitors.
The curated list of tools and resources that we have discussed above would give you absolute knowledge to ensure that your product is a resounding success. Rely and explore these resources; they are tagged and chosen on the basis of their reliability and usability.
While majority of them are free to use, some are paid, but nevertheless, you can truly benefit from them.
Interested to know more about these tools and resources and how to implement them for your next product? We can assist you..
Originally published in Cabot Solutions Blog on April 27, 2017.