We use and test a wide variety of software platforms, apps and productivity tools here at Launchpad and wanted to share with you what we’ve incorporated into our daily lives here that have either changed the game for us or made life just a little bit easier to manage. Keep in mind that we’re an internet company and highly subscribe to a “connected world” where we can automate applications and allow them to talk to one another; and while that’s true, you can still use these tools as standalone components that help you through your day.
Zapier is a truly wonderful concept. Its entire premise is to help you connect and automate your applications. With over 900 compatible apps and growing, Zapier can make connecting your processes and workflows a snap. www.zapier.com
2. JIRA (Atlassian)
JIRA has become the backbone of our organization for project management and time tracking. You can create project workflows, set up new projects, record notes, time and share files between your resources. It’s extensible, meaning you can plug in a host of applications to communicate with it such as Salesforce.com, Zendesk and hundreds more. For development teams, it works great with SCRUM and Kanban workflows. https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira
3. Bitbucket (Atlassian)
Another gem made by the great folks at Atlassian Software, Bitbucket, allows you to share files, store your code in Git repositories and so much more. Being that it’s part of the Atlassian family, it plugs in nicely with their other productivity applications. www.bitbucket.org
If you’re like me, you either can’t read your own hand writing or can’t remember where you put your notepad. Evernote is FREE and provides an extremely intuitive interface for note taking on pretty much any type of device. What’s great is that you can take notes on your desktop computer and they’re made instantly available to any other device that has the app installed with your user information. You can access your notes and make new notes from practically anywhere. www.evernote.com
Since we’re on the topic of taking notes, Todoist comes in handy as a great tool for organizing simple tasks you need to accomplish. Set up alarms, email notifications and checklists for those things you need to make sure you tend to each day. https://en.todoist.com
Have a decent sized team and need to share thoughts, information, and files in an instant fashion? Built on the concept of instant messaging, Slack is that and so much more. Create teams, groups or simply message individuals. Behind the scenes it has an API you can tap into for automation for pretty much any cloud connect application or even your own development efforts. www.slack.com
Freshbooks is a super simple, easy to use accounting package for anyone not ready to make the jump to an enterprise platform. Create invoices, estimates, track time and manage your customer base. If you need to automate it, Freshbooks has a great API available for connecting to other applications or letting those applications create invoices, estimates or customers on the fly! www.freshbooks.com
8. Google Docs
Never heard of Google Docs? Well now you have. Google docs is a great Microsoft Office killer for organizations with light budgets. Pretty much anything you can do with Excel, Word, Powerpoint, etc... can be done through Google Docs. https://docs.google.com
Twilio is quite possibly one of the coolest tools you can have in your arsenal. Want to build a phone system in the cloud? Twillio can do that. Want to build an empowered SMS and MMS application with automated hooks for data collection and send thousands of texts at the speed of light? Twilio can do that. Want to have your custom app ring someone’s phone each time an order is placed? Twilio can do that. When it comes to phone and text communications, Twilio has a corner on the market. www.twilio.com
If you’re a development firm like us, you need pretty quick and instant access to messages and error logs that your programs might be spitting out. Papertrail is an awesome tool you can hook to and send messages directly from your application. Since Papertrail can integrate with apps such as Slack and Zapier, you can customize where your messages go when they’re triggered. www.papertrail.com
What? You’re not using Liftoff? Liftoff is one of the greatest e-commerce and web-to-print enabled platforms of this age. Liftoff provides one of the easiest to use shopping experiences for those looking to set up retail stores, company stores and web portals or even marketing websites. It easily goes head to head with e-commerce giants like Shopify and BigCommerce – even Volusion. It’ll make you re-think the way you’re doing business online. https://liftoff.shop
Obviously we can’t dictate what’s best for your business, but we’re passionate about these tools that help us power our workflow. If you’re not already, give them a try and see if they’re a good fit for your organization. Most of these applications come with a free trial (Liftoff included), so there’s very little risk other than your own personal time.