This non-hyperbolic (everyone can live without/not use a Chrome extension before they die) blog post doubles up as the second in a 10-part series of posts on why you should startup your own (in my case, PR) business. It’s relevant to anyone considering taking the plunge, but particularly those working in public relations.
There’s so much that’s good about taking the plunge but the subject of this post is technology (computers, the cloud, t’internet and stuff) and how setting up your own business pushes you into embracing technology and getting “with the programme”.
Where to start. It’s not that I was particularly fearful of technology pre-2014, it’s just that it was all done for me. Something wrong with your PC, ring IT. Unable to get a document to open, ask one of your more technologically-minded colleagues. When you’re running a team in a large organisation, there’s not much that can’t be delegated.
Not now though. You’re on your own as a PR startup. And when you’re on your own, you need friends. As a new business owner, you need to make technology your friend. Here’s what I did:
Which brings me to augmenting your technology and making life easier. I was familiar with shortcuts, knew the value of bookmarks, and even used the odd app on my wife’s iPhone 4s (albeit my Blackberry Curve just about stretched to the Twitter app) but didn’t really benefit from their full functionality. Apps (synced across my tablet and smarphone) now make my PR startup business life easier. Need a new one, pop over to Google Play. But the jewel in Google’s crown, to my eyes anyway, is Google’s eminently syncable Chrome browser and its extensions (in essence souped up shortcuts that pin to your taskbar at the top of your browser). Here’s my top ten (for PRs, but of relevance to all startups):
1. First up’s Lazarus. Evernote has built a worldwide industry on the fact that people forget stuff, we’re all too busy and tech baffles us. There’s a bit of this in the cleverly-named Lazarus extension (back from the dead). It basically remembers every web form you fill in so if, as frequently happens, t’internet crashes and you lose all your text, simply go back and the extension has remembered it all. Genius.
2. Mention. THE real-time monitoring tool. Invest in the premium version. It monitors everything bar print and broadcast coverage (and seeing as most print coverage is mirrored on the web anyway, Bob’s your uncle). Technically, this is an app BUT who’s quibbling.
3. Hootlet. A neat little extension which at the click of the toolbar, sends whatever web page you’re on to your Hootsuite. Content curation on speed.
4. Lastpass. Backs up all your passwords.
5. Signals. Great one this. Integrates really well with your gmail, just click on Signals when you send an important email and you can see if the recipient has opened it, and other information.
6. Another one which integrates really well with your gmail. Rapportive lets you see easily if the person who’s emailed you is connected to you on social media. And if they are not, you can connect through your gmail. It doesn’t sound revolutionary but it saves precious minutes.
8. Productivity is key to anyone starting out in business. The Pomodoro Technique is a simple tool. Work for 25 minutes and break for five. This little tomato (Strict Workflow) keeps you on the right track.
9. Feedly, the old Google Reader, along with Klout, Buffer and Hootsuite‘s auto-suggestions, will save you precious time on your content marketing (again, key for any business trying to establish itself, but particularly so in PR). Establish what your business stands for and what those who are going to be buying your services are interested in, and place the RSS feeds in your Feedly. Then put aside time every week to auto-schedule your curated content.
10. Last, and probably least, Hover Free. A useful little extension which automatically enlarges the size pics when you hover over them when browsing. Great if you think visually like me but I imagine it could get a little annoying.
To get any of these extensions, pop over to Google’s Chrome Web Store. Most of them are free.
So, embracing technology and making your work life simpler and more effective is the second reason you should start up your own (PR) company. I would love to hear your thoughts on technology and particularly any apps/extensions that make your life easier.
And no, I’m not on commission with Google, it’s just getting in to bed with them is a no-brainer. And, of course, when the going gets tough and you have a question to ask, it always helps if you have a Cobry on hand to help you out (and thanks for the idea for this blog Colin, my co-working friend).
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