Sales-boosting advice to turn your startup into a million-dollar business

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Sales-boosting advice to turn your startup into a million-dollar business

Being an entrepreneur is tough. In today’s startup ecosystem where investment can be hard to procure and one bad customer can make or break a company, finding the right kind of client (read: consistent) is crucial for long-term success.

Of course, this isn’t exactly easy. An always-changing tech landscape and 24-hour startup life can make prioritizing sales efforts challenging. While there are programs that can help — such as the DMZ’s sales accelerator –not every startup makes it into the program.

Danielle Brown, chief marketing officer for Hubba, has seen first-hand how fast the sales industry can drastically change and why it’s important to prioritize sales outreach. “Things are really growing and changing at a rapid pace. It’s a really different world … the way we consume information has drastically changed, so the way we market and sell has changed.”


Being social matters

 
Canadian startup Shopify analyzed social-driven orders to better understand how social sites can drive sales. They found that:

  • Facebook: Eighty-five per cent) of orders originated from the popular site and it accounted for most of its social traffic.
  • Timing: Companies that launch a product during the weekend saw social orders drop 10 to 15 per cent.
  • Video: Companies that incorporated video content saw a 1.9 percent higher conversion rates.

Brown, a marketing and sales guru, knows what she’s talking about having worked for business heavyweights like Universal Music, SiriusXM and e-commerce loyalty firm Points throughout her career. Now at Hubba, one of Canada’s fastest growing companies — she leads the brand’s marketing and sales vision. For entrepreneurs with limited budgets, the right online tools — that range from email tracking software to advertising tools — can help startups grow without bankrupting them, she says.
“Tried and true things, like Facebook, Instagram and those channels are getting so sophisticated about how you target people so staying on top of those platforms can be a cheap way for you to find the people you’re looking for.”

Outreach tips

 
Marie Chevrier is the founder of Sampler, a startup radically changing how companies get consumers to try their product. She and her team focus on getting samples to the right consumers instead of just merely distributing thousands of products in high traffic areas. In her business knowing how to push sales and garner leads is critical.

Since launching in 2013 her company has worked with more than 200 brands and reached 25 million consumers around the globe. Chevrier says focusing on low-cost tools played an important role in her company’s success.

“I suggest getting your teams on trials and measuring how much they use the technology before implementing. Everyone thinks they need the shiny new thing but implementing its usage can be tough across teams,” she explains. “Our team started by managing leads on Google Sheets before we moved to a CRM system.”

Another tip? Try cold outreach to potential clients or even partner companies you want to work with. It can yield positive benefits but only when done right. Novice businesses often rely on impersonal, template-based messages to save time, but this is bad for business, she says. 

“Remember to try and be useful in the first few seconds of a call and/or the first line of the email. Get to the point quickly,” Chevrier adds. “Remember to add value and where possible introduce your product indirectly. Share case studies from one of their competitors, a blog post on industry news that makes your product useful but skip the ‘At X we do this’ in the first few lines. Leave that to the end or even for the next email.”

Brown couldn’t agree more. Hubba still relies on cold outreach to connect with new customers, but her team makes sure to always customize each interaction

“Cold calling and cold emailing is very effective. We use it at Hubba and personalization is key. Know what you’re doing [and] who you’re targeting. Also text emails work better than designed emails because people respond faster. Entrepreneurs can over engineer things sometimes.” — Danielle Brown, CMO, Hubba.

 

The personal touch

 
In the midst of sales talks, it’s easy to overlook how important the human touch is for every interaction. Sometimes unlikely sales can be found through existing customers, former leads and ambassadors.

Ensuring you approach every meeting, interaction with industry peers or even networking event with a smile can be valuable. “I’ve found referrals and advocacy is way more valuable than tooting my own horn. If the messenger is a peer, I’ve found the message carries more importance,” explains serial entrepreneur Ben Baldwin.

The entrepreneur is the creator of The Founder City Project, founder of ClearFit and sits on Toronto’s Innovation Economy Advisory Council. Sometimes networking can provide long-term sales benefits. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting that people (not just tools) are important to your business, he says. “Peers are incredibly powerful teachers, especially when both parties are comfortable enough to be open and vulnerable with one another.”

Brown agrees. Acknowledging the role people play can either help or even hinder or startup depending on how it’s done.

“Regardless you’re always marketing and selling with everything you do,” she explains. “People will talk about their interaction with you — positive or negative. When startups are launching they tend to be more aware of their early interactions with customers and bigger companies might get lost with that stuff.”

Interested in learning more? Check out Robert Gold, host of BusinessCast, interview Michael Gord, the founder of MLG Blockchain about how he grew his business, the power of bitcoin and how he’s changing the tech industry.

Make sure to also visit our official iTunes page for all of our BusinessCast interviews.

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The global startups fueling a new-age space race

SpaceX. Blue Origin. Virgin Galactic.

These are just a few of the high-profile businesses set to disrupt the multi-billion dollar commercial space industry in the coming years. While they may not be well known to the general public some of today’s most successful entrepreneurs — Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — are sinking millions into this new-age market.

Startup space

 
Investment in the industry is taking off and it’s not hard to see why. Cheaper products, lighter materials and better engineering is making it possible for companies to explore the final frontier like never before. According to CNBC, investors pumped $2.8 billion into space-related businesses last year.

Today’s most prominent space enterprises range from one-stop satellite shops to do-it-yourself space travel companies. Kepler Communications is one of the few Canadian startups competing (and succeeding) in the cut-throat business. The business creates a in-space telecommunications that help satellites better communicate when not near a ground station.. In layman terms, they’re simply, we are building cell phone towers in space.

Accelerating outer space success

 
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy for newcomers hoping to succeed in the industry. It’s a capital intensive market and often requires deep pockets to fund research and launch costs that can run in the hundreds of thousands. Thankfully these days a series of space-focused accelerators and incubators are hoping to fix that.

In the last five years, global programs — like Starburst, Space Startup Ecosystem, Lightspeed — have focused on helping astropreneurs get their business off the ground.

While the future is always unknowable an increase in the support and networks available for entrepreneurs is a good sign for a market on the rise.

To learn more about the growing space market and how Canadian co-founder Mina Mitry found success listen to the latest BusinessCast episode, hosted by Robert Gold above. For more from BusinessCast, make sure to visit our official iTunes page.

The best techy holidays gifts for entrepreneurs

Finding the right gifts for loved ones can be tough. If you’re stuck on a budget, buying the perfect present — that’s both useful and functional — can seem almost impossible. Thankfully, we’re here to help.

Whether you’re shopping for a banking billionaire or a teenage mogul in the making, these gifts are bound to please. Take a look at our list of top suggestions for $50 or less below.

Camkix universal 3-in-1 camera lens kit
Gift guide lens_kit

This affordable kit is the perfect present for entrepreneurs who rely on their camera for professional-looking pictures for both work and play. It’s high-tech band and lenses are compatible with smartphones and tablets and easily sync to Bluetooth so users can share photos wherever they are.

Price: $12.49/Amazon

Satechi desk charging hub

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If you’re in need of a fashion-friendly USB port look no further. The Satechi charging hub can accommodate up to seven devices at one time and includes velcro straps to prevent cable clutter. It’s sturdy enough for even the clumsiest entrepreneur and comes with surge protection, anti-scratch silicone pads and a five-year warranty to guarantee you’ll only be one outlet away from a full charge.

Price: $29.99/Amazon

Flic

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This Bluetooth-enabled button may look unimpressive at first glance but can automate almost any function or device in the office and home. Once placed on a wall or hard surface it can be programmed to regulate everything from control temperatures to dim lights and even send texts using the device’s mobile app. Bonus: It’s weather-resistant exterior and comes with a two-year battery life. 

Price: $34/Amazon

Amazon Fire 7 tablet

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Looking for a cheap tablet that does it all? Enter: Amazon’s Fire 7 tablet. The device is thin and lightweight making it more than suitable for busy entrepreneurs on the go. It also boasts a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, eight hours of battery life and access to Alexa, the company’s digital assistant.

Price: $49.99/ Amazon

Seagate 1TB external hard drive 

gift-guide_seagate
It’s never been easier or cheaper to find dependable external storage for your computer. If you’re willing to spend a bit more this season, the Seagate 1TB external hard drive is a gift any entrepreneur will appreciate and works with both PCs and Macs. It features a solid-state drive (or SSD), which uses flash memory to store data faster, and provides 1 terabyte of space for all-important documents, movies and other media.

Price: *$49.99 /Amazon

*limited-time holiday offer

Meet the healthtech startup bringing medical imaging into the future

Harsh Nayyar always knew he wanted to create something that could change the world.

Little did the former Google engineer know that a sprained ankle would one day inspire him, and his brother-slash-co-founder Rishi Nayyar, to build a digital health platform that would revolutionize how medical imaging records are shared in Ontario.

The entrepreneur’s journey all started back in 2013 when he injured himself while working in Silicon Valley. After seeing his doctor, he was forced to hobble back and forth between the centre — where his x-ray scans were taken — and his physician’s office. The outdated process was the only way he could share the CD given to him that contained images his doctor needed It was a frustrating experience.

“I knew there had to be a better way,” he explained. “For someone like me, it’s not that big of an issue but if you think about chronically ill people who need to go back-and-forth to get their images, it’s a lot because some specialists won’t even see [patients] without their images.”

Enter: PocketHealth

 
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How it works

 
The duo’s platform, launched in 2016, acts like a high-tech DropBox. It can seamlessly connect to any medical imaging centre’s system and automatically upload patient’s records. The data is then stored online for easy-access anytime, anywhere. The platform links two medical systems — the institutions that perform scans and the doctors that use them — in a way that wasn’t possible before.

The technological breakthrough has changed things not only for patients but for the professionals who use them. Patients no longer have to travel between different offices for their records and can easily share them with other specialists. Meanwhile, medical professionals can access their patient’s images directly from their clinic’s electronic medical record systems.  It’s a  massive improvement over booting up a CD for every patient.

“Historically in healthcare, it’s been very difficult for disparate systems to speak to one another,” Rishi explains.

“That’s how solutions like CDs became the common language between, for example, a hospital imaging department and a patient’s orthopaedic surgeon. Knowing that we focused on building that same interoperability into PocketHealth. The end result is a flexible platform that can pull data from an imaging centre and send it to any authenticated patient, who can then share with any caregiver they wish,” he adds.
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Changing the industry

 
PocketHealth couldn’t come at a better time. Healthcare costs in Canada are on the rise. Technology that eliminates medical delays could free up public funds or even save lives by helping doctors diagnose patients faster.

Since starting, PocketHealth has signed thousands of patients, integrated with nearly 100 imaging centers and partnered with institutions, like St. Michael’s Hospital.

“We were in a position before where we wanted to build something and make an impact,” says Harsh. “We started [PocketHealth] by just looking at how the medical imaging space works in Canada and went from there.”

In a little under a year and a half, the startup has grown tremendously. From a pilot project in a single clinic to seeing thousands of medical images added to their platform every day. Both brothers credit their hard work and experience from previous jobs for the company’s rapid success.

Rishi, who worked for Citigroup’s corporate and investment banking division, learned how to turn their idea into a sustainable company. Harsh’s former position at video and imaging software firm Agawi, before it was acquired by Google, gave him the technical skills to create the platform.

Next steps

 
The Nayyar brothers are keen to see where the business goes next but most excited about how they’re helping patients. “We see PocketHealth today as the first step towards a reality where patients are empowered to access their entire health record and become truly informed advocates for their own care,” adds Rishi.

.@PocketHealth is putting health advocacy back into the hands of patients

How to boost your company’s cybersecurity on a tight budget

There’s no doubt that the Internet has changed the way people access and share information. It plays a pivotal role in how companies operate their business, even though the risks associated with living in an increasingly connected world continue to grow.

So far 2017 has seen an unusually high number of cybersecurity disasters. They include large-scale hacks that have targeted some of today’s biggest firms, such as Equifax, Verizon and PlayStation. According to a recent report, businesses dealt with an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks every day in 2016, marking a 300 per cent increase from the previous year.

For entrepreneurs — especially startups on a tight budget — it may seem like keeping an online business safe is almost impossible. But there are tools available that can help. Here’s a list of some of the most affordable software on the market.

RansomFree Cybereason (Free)

 
Ransomware attacks are increasing at an alarming rate. The malicious software program works by holding a businesses’ data hostage until a ransom is paid and has crippled businesses around the world.

RansomeFree is a free software specifically designed to protect against ransomware attacks. If you’re on a budget and don’t have the funds to pay for cybersecurity this could help. The free tool prevents ransomware attacks before they have a chance to infect computers and can work in tandem with other anti-virus software.

Bitdefender (starting at $29.99)

 
Bitdefender offers cybersecurity protection for both personal and business devices. If you’re an entrepreneur looking for full protection at reasonable prices, then Bitdefender can help.

Its technology detects persistent malware threats and prevents ransomware encryption. The software is also compatible with Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android devices. Go online here to find out what type of program best suits your needs.

Malwarebytes (starting at $51.99 per year)

 
Business owners, rejoice! The award-winning Malwarebytes is a great solution for companies that depend on a variety of devices. It’s software is compatible with PC, Android and Mac products.

Aside from its advanced anti-malware technology, the software also detects and prevents ransomware attacks using machine learning. It’s round-the-clock care also protects against unwanted surveillance. Business can test out its service via a free 30-day trial.

Avast Business Antivirus Pro (starting at $58.99 per year)

 
Avast is an all-in-one solution that protects your business, intellectual property and customer data. It monitors outgoing and incoming mail to ensure malware isn’t lurking in hidden attachments and includes a secure VPN to make it harder for hackers to steal sensitive information.

Its standout features, CyberCapture, recognizes and intercepts suspicious downloads. Any potentially dangerous files are shared with Avast labs experts to identify before they can cause damage.

Meet Zensurance, the company disrupting the insurance industry

Technology is changing how businesses around the world operate. Cutting-edge innovation is no longer confined to the type of industries found in science fiction novels, like biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

Traditional trades, like insurance, are now getting a much-needed boost and proving that there are new (and arguably better ways) to provide their services.

Who they are

 
Toronto-based startup Zensurance is one of the few emerging leaders in the insurance space disrupting how small- and medium-sized businesses find products they need. While insurance isn’t the first thing most think of when thinking about technological innovation, Sultan Mehrabi, Zensurance’s CTO, says his company’s work is changing the industry for the better.

“It’s about more than just selling insurance. What we’re doing is changing how people find the protection they need whenever they want,” he adds. “It’s about finally having Canadians be able to choose what they want.”

Danish Yusef, CEO of the Toronto-based startup, agrees. He’s excited about how Zensurance is turning the industry upside down and why (more importantly) the work they’re doing should matter to Canadians. “We’re excited to change how the insurance game works.”

Why it matters

 
The insurance startup’s impact in the industry is all too easy to see. Before Zensurance launched its services, commercial insurance — products sold to businesses and homes — was sold almost exclusively through specialized brokers that acted as the middleman between customers and insurance agencies.

They often prioritized in-person meetings over online communication and charged customers a fee to connect them with the insurance packages they needed the most. Zensurance does away with middleman charges by using its own AI-influenced technology that connects customers with their products.

“The insurance industry hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years. Most small business owners still have to fill out and fax 10-page forms, wait weeks and pay by cheque to get their insurance approved,” Yusef explains. “It’s outdated,” Mehrabi adds. “Business owners don’t have time to wait on hold to find out if they’re business is protected.”

Instead of relying on humans to coordinate insurance rates, the startup does something a bit different. Its own proprietary technology digitizes the experience and provides accurate quotes for businesses in mere seconds instead of the minutes it might take over the phone. Real-world data taken from interviews with insurance providers and brokers is also incorporated into the system so that it mimics a similar experience clients would encounter with a live agent.

How it works

 
The company’s digital-only process is easy to use. Startups and business owners can avoid the login hassle found on most websites and get a quote in minutes. Individuals merely type in their email address, answer a few questions about their product or business and are the emailed a quote with today’s biggest insurance providers. For those who still prefer an over the phone experience, agents are available 24-7 as well.

Zensurance’s easy-to-use process is just one way the company is lowering fees and also demystifying the insurance industry in the process. “When people learn more about the industry, they’re also able to make better decisions about prices and what products they need,” adds Mehrabi.

Since Zensurance is only available online (and not face-to-face) that means the company’s customers never have to worry about after-work hours or out of office messages when they need agent help..

“A lot of these insurance providers are only open during the day when these small businesses are at their busiest and don’t have the time to wait. The great thing is you can use our platform day or night, so you can do it when you have time,” explains Yusef.

For Mehrabi one an unexpected benefit is seeing how his company’s approach to insurance is actually shaping how their competitors tackle problems, which makes the industry better for everyone overall.

“We’re a technology company helping small business customers get the best insurance coverage. The [providers] we work with see what we’re doing and end up partnering with us and improving their systems, too.”

From science fiction to science fact: Tech that actually exists

For many, it serves as an inspiration and more importantly a peek into what the near future might offer. Everything from smartwatches to relatable robots can arguably be traced back to a fictional piece of work.

Thankfully technology moves at breakneck speeds and what was once considered impossible has quickly become reality. If you’ve ever wanted your very own hoverboard or a robotic servant to call your own, you’re in luck. Here are some of the best fiction-influenced technologies that now exist.

Hoverboards

Fans of Marty McFly – the wonder kid from Back to the Future – can finally rejoice. The hoverboard that helped propel the smart-talking, wise-cracking teen to new heights is now a reality. In 2015, car company Lexus introduced its own version of the device that relies on “magnetic levitation” (read: magnets that repel gravity) to achieve lift-off.

Since then other companies have stepped up and created their own. U.S. startup Hendo Hoverboards introduced the world to its first levitating device on Kickstarter two years ago and since then has launched four different versions of the board that look and move like a traditional skateboard.

Embeddable microchips

In most dystopian movies, GPS-tracking microchips are tools oft used for nefarious reasons. Bad guys inject the tiny, plastic devices at underneath the skin of the heroic protagonist (or protagonists) in an attempt to track, manipulate and in some cases even kill. Thankfully, in real life, things aren’t so bad.

While tech startups (and a few forward-thinking innovators) have long flirted with the idea of embeddable tracking technology it’s only in recent years that it’s become a real possibility.

Wisconsin-based Three Square Market is one of the first in North America to provide its employees with tracking chips that allow them to enter and exit a building at will and make cashless purchases from company kiosks. The devices, the size of a single grain of rice, use radio-frequency identification (RFID) — the same technology found in key fobs and smart wristbands. While Three Square Market’s chips don’t include in-depth tracking by choice the Swedish company — called Biohax International — behind the device does include that feature in its other smart embeddable products.

The Jetson’s ‘Rosie the Robot’

Robots are all too often employed by Hollywood as a way to demonstrate just how modern and advanced a society is without being explicit. It’s a popular trope that can be found in Star Trek’s Data, Ava from Ex-Machina and even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in The Terminator. While the characters from our favourite science fiction novels aren’t feasible just yet, several companies have figured out a way to emulate some of their best features.

Sophia, a humanoid robot created by Hanson robotics, is as close as it gets to a Rosie from The Jetsons. She can converse in up to 20 languages, easily mimic human emotions, clean and respond to questions in real-time. Her skills have even garnered her a vocal and enthusiastic following online and since being launched last year has appeared at the UN, Jimmy Kimmel Live and CNBC.

Driverless cars

Hiring a human driver is so passé. If science-fiction movies are to be believed the best way to travel is with an artificially intelligent and self-aware driver behind the wheel. Knight Rider’s Michael Arthur Long and his trusty sidekick — the smooth-sounding Pontiac Firebird Trans Am — were for many the epitome for what a smart car should act like.

The growing roster of driverless cars on the market, unfortunately, lack the spunk found in KITT (the affectionate nickname for the car) but they do showcase some of the basics that consumers will likely want in a vehicle.

Google, one of the top companies in the AI driving market, has seen its cars rack up a total of three million self-driving miles so far. It’s autonomous fleet rely on sensors to differentiate between pedestrians, other cars and cyclists and can transport individuals to their chosen destination, just like KITT.

 

Is Rewordly the savior content creators have been searching for?

Traditional news publishers are fighting an uphill battle these days.

A 24-hour news cycle, online social media platforms that regurgitate free news and a decline in advertising rates have created a hurricane of hurt for the news industry, but today’s biggest companies refuse to go down without a fight.

Media companies – like Toronto Life and Now Magazine – are looking for new ways to make money and turning to tech startups for a helping hand.

Enter: Rewordly, a Toronto-based tech startup. The company has created an AI-powered product called Readefined that lets publishers better gauge how readers engage with online stories, determine how much content users read in real-time and what multimedia aspects of a story people actually like via behaviour tracking software. These important metrics are the cornerstone for any publisher since it helps not only attract high quality sponsors but new advertising partners.

“We have a vision to truly transform– and help –  the publishing world,” says Mario Vasilescu, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “We’ve won some awards and are in discussions with Canada’s top four publishers and associations from around the world. It’s still early days, having just launched.”

A closer look at Readefined

 

Here’s how the platform works: A user signs up at Readefined and installs the company’s tracking software or downloads the official WordPress plugin.
Afterward the software starts interpreting patterns for every person that visits a publisher’s page and can even make AI-based suggestions about what writers can do to improve their content before they publish future stories.

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The company is currently in beta and working towards a mid-August launch, but for now publishers with views under 500,000 per month can sign up to use its software for only $19 per month. Companies with more readers are charged on a per view basis.

For Vasilescu, his company’s product is a way for newspapers – and content creators of all kinds – to truly understand what readers want in the digital age. No more guessing and conjecture.

Of course, the startup’s team has never worked for a newspaper, but they understand the difficulties legacy newspapers can face. Adapting to a changing industry is something Rewordly is all too familiar with. The company has undergone several pivots since it launched in 2012.

“We’ve had a winding journey. The initial product took shape while working at a management consulting company in Paris. It was really shaped by seeing how inefficiently content was managed internally and externally,” explains Vasilescu.

“As naive first-time founders, we initially built a single product that – with the benefit of hindsight – we now see was attempting to solve all of the world’s content-related issues in one behemoth of a platform. People got really excited about it, but would be totally overwhelmed using so we went back to the drawing board and created this.”

How are publishers adapting?

 

For most publishers, it’s the company’s machine learning software – which gets smarter over time as it processes different reading behaviour and content – that could provide the most return. Keeping readers online longer, more engaged and even being able to predict what will work best is crucial.

And a focus on superior engagement data couldn’t come at a better time. Online advertising is now under attack. Over $7 billion in click fraud is reported every year. Meanwhile, over 50 per cent of online users are using adblocking software and a little over one-third of traffic is fake, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

“Now is the time,” Vasilescu adds. “We’re ready to change how the publishing world works for the better. We’re excited to see what comes next.”

The top 6 apps entrepreneurs need to improve productivity

Staying productive isn’t easy. Especially when so many of us are bombarded with a steady stream of notifications, breaking news and emails every day. Is it really any surprise that overall productivity is on steady decline these days?

It can be difficult for even the most dedicated worker to stay on track in the face of so many distractions, but for entrepreneurs — who are expected to juggle multiple responsibilities alongside financial pressures and few resources — staying productive can be an almost hellish task.

If you’re looking for ways to combat distractions and improve your work efficiency, here’s a list of the most popular (and little known) apps that will change how you work for the better.

Awesome Screenshot

For developers and designers, it can be hard keeping track of the minute changes that seem to crop up on a daily basis. Projects that require group input often involve sending blueprints or mockups to group members that can end up clogging up inboxes or, in some cases, being ignored entirely.

Awesome Screenshot has found a way to get around that problem using its unique software that lets individuals snap a picture of a project that colleagues can then use to add comments, edits and even blur out sensitive information. These images are saved to an external database, saving crucial email data and giving internal team members or clients a chance to review documents at their leisure.
Where to get it: Find it online and Google Play

Streak

This fairly new plugin may not be widely known, but is definitely an app designed with entrepreneurs in mind. The platform turns your Gmail account into a powerful tool that lets any team member process sales, track product development and group customers into custom boxes to make it easier to contact and analyze.

Its free email templates and in-depth reporting function make it a great system for startups with limited funds.
Where to get it: Find it on the Apple store and Google PlayMove — daily activity reminder

Taking the time to maintain physical health is important. While most apps concentrate on ways to better manage our time, it’s been proven that physical activity can not only increase productivity, but provide long-term mental health benefits.

One of the easiest ways for entrepreneurs glued to their computers to fit in some daily exercise is to take walks. The iPhone app will remind you to take regular, active breaks throughout the day and record your progress over time. It also plays double duty as a gym buddy that features over 300 fitness exercises and the ability to create your own custom circuit training.

For Android users, an app called ‘Move It’ offers up many of the same features listed above with the added option to sync it with Google Fit to provide better step data and calorie counting.
Where to get it: Move: Find it on the Apple store and online. Move it: Google Play store

Have you ever had a great, life-altering idea pop into your head, but forget it because you didn’t have some way to write it down?
Well, Evernote may be able to help fix this annoying problem. The free platform helps users work smarter by letting them create customized to-do lists, upload notes from their mobile device, which can be shared with other users, and even craft personalized audio checklists.
Where to get it: It’s available via the Apple store, Google Play Store and online.

Asana 

Asana is the swiss army knife of online management tools. This oddly named application helps you manage tasks, oversee work projects from shared dashboards and track conversations all in one place.

It also allows you to collaborate with team members, assign tasks and schedule due dates so colleagues know exactly what to do and when to do it. Track progress on shared projects and chat about updates with other members all in one place so you can finally ditch those never-ending email chains for good.
Where to get it: Get Asana by going on the web, from the App store & Google Play Store.

Expensify (tracking expenses)

Keeping track of your employees’ financial statements and your receipts can be headache inducing, but Expensify wants to be the antidote to your money woes.

The app’s algorithms not only analyze company expenses in real-time to combat fraud,but also detect which items need an extra pair of eyeballs, such as managerial approval, if the purchase is sensitive in nature or exceeds set company limits. Expensify’s SmartScan features allow users to take pictures of receipts while on the road that are then automatically uploaded and saved indefinitely.

The best part is that it can be integrated with financial products offered by firms like QuickBooks (small business accounting platform), Zenefits (HR management software) and Xero (a data management software company).
Where to get it: Find it online, the iTunes store or Google’s app store.  

How this startup aims to transform transgender care

The month of June is almost over, which means Pride Month is officially winding down.

For years, civil rights groups focused their efforts on guaranteeing that LGBTQ Canadians could marry, live and work without fear of discrimination. While there’s still more that needs to be done, 2017 saw a slew of long-awaited, and well overdue, civil laws enacted.

Earlier this month the federal government passed legislation that would protect transgender Canadians from gender-based discrimination. The law also expanded the country’s hate speech laws to make targeting someone based on their gender expression illegal.

Meanwhile the Canadian government is pushing forward with legislation that would pardon or expunge criminal convictions for thousands who were arrested — before same-sex relations became legal in 1969 — under the country’s gross indecency laws.

Maggie Bergeron and her co-founder Ellie Afif are using their Toronto-based startup called Embodia to help transgender Canadians in a new way. Their company which produces educational courses recently launched a new series aimed at helping pre- and post-surgery transgender Canadians. It’s the first of its kind in the country and a big step forward for transgender men and women across the country looking for online guidance.

The duo were inspired to launch the series after realizing there were few places that provided similar offerings, especially outside of major Canadian cities. The team behind the course worked with researchers, nurses, doctors and the transgender community to make sure the content was accurate and helpful.

“The course is meant to support the community who identify as transgendered or gender diverse and want to be aware of the best protocols and health available,” says Bergeron. “The video course is meant to help transgender people through the transition period through exercise and mindfulness training”.

Noah Hicks couldn’t agree more. The Niagara resident says his trans journey was largely aided by his laser-like focus on fitness and health and wishes something like this existed before he transitioned three years ago.

“Fitness was a big part of helping my mental well-being while dealing with gender dysphoria – it was such a positive outlet that helped me not only mentally, but physically, and I still continue to work out and enjoy it as a part of my regular routine.”

For Bergeron a gap in the market, like this one, is an opportunity for Embodia to make a difference. “Some healthcare providers wouldn’t have specific knowledge about how to empower people going through transition and give them a supportive community. Through Embodia there’s a forum for transgender Canadians and people taking the course, who then can choose to post anonymously and find specific exercises and track progress”.

Of course this is just the beginning for what the company plans to offer minority and LGBTQ Canadians in the future, she says. “It’s the beginning for us and the timing is good for creating this consumer facing course because we just launched another course on the cultural implications about minority groups, LGBTQ, religious groups, Judaism, Hinduism and Muslim and what you need to think about.”