In today’s connected environment, any startup business will need to consider its online or remote clients. To do otherwise is to lay the pathway for failure instead of establishing a foundation for success. That said, remote businesses require specific types of tools to help them remain competitive. For instance, they must have a secured connection with their clients and the ability to protect intellectual property.

If you are a business owner who outsources work, you need to be able to meet with people and review work before accepting it and issuing payment. Creative companies require the ability to draft projects and create a final product that resonates with an audience–even if that audience consists of only one person, the client. Finally, only the best business tools will help a business owner stay on track of schedules.

1. Dropbox

Dropbox is critical for sharing files. It offers a variety of tiers that allow you to select how much space you need. It features a new service that allows you to work at your computer and share files with colleagues right from the convenience of your desktop. However, it offers much more than just file storage. For instance, you can work in Microsoft Office from within the Dropbox interface, which saves the hassle of opening and closing programs as you switch from one to another. Finally, it is secure, and you can access your files right from your phone.

2. Search Remotely

Any startup enjoys a greater chance at success if it can connect with other entrepreneurs, and Search Remotely is a search service dedicated to helping startup owners find such things as co-working spaces and co-living spaces. To find co-working spaces, all you need to do is enter in the desired location or zip code, and you can instantly find options in your area.

Of course, you will likely need to stay abreast of changing technology or up your skills game by taking online classes or earning certifications. To help with this, Search Remotely offers remote business owners the ability to find classes and ensure they maintain the knowledge to edge out the competition. Finally, Search Remotely offers a guide on how to work remotely. This book covers the shifting landscape of conducting business remotely and how to remain relevant in your industry.

3. Milanote

Most startups are probably aware they will need some sort of multimedia tool to help them with creative work. For this, Milanote offers individuals or teams a digital canvas to help create mood boards or storyboards for any type of film, music, or digital project. Additionally, it offers an online canvas, which gives you the ability to visually organize and share ideas during that all-to-critical brainstorming phase.

Equally important is a resource’s ability to grow with you or your business. For this, Milanote makes available to entrepreneurs a digital business hub. Via this hub, you can share work files, project notes, and updates. Additionally, employees or colleagues can access to-do lists and see everyone working on the team. For impromptu or scheduled meetings, you also have the ability to meet and consult with one another in live brainstorming sessions.

4. Everhour

When you need to track all the working hours that a project will require, you need Everhour. It allows business owners to input projects and define each task as well as the time associated with that task. Doing so allows workers to better schedule their time and provide deadline estimates to clients. To ensure everyone stays on track, Everhour offers online time tracking as well as weekly summaries to provide an at-a-glance report of all the work done in any particular week.

5. Slack

Twenty years ago, e-mail was the new way to communicate with colleagues, employees, or clients. Today, the most effective communication solution is Slack. Slack allows you to chat instantly with the professional connections that matter most, and it offers you the ability to post content to keep everyone informed. You can organize conversations and discussions according to project, and it allows people to consult with one another securely. If you want instant communication instead of having to wait hours for an email, Slack is the communication tool for you.

Final Thoughts

It is worth noting that the best thing your startup can do is to select the right tools from the very beginning. If you do not, you might end up with a huge mass of project files that must be migrated to another platform. Such an administrative chore will certainly be time consuming. It can also be costly if you end up losing data. When it comes to your business, you should identify your needs and select the tools that have the best change of serving your needs.