Updated: Jan 9
In my mentoring program I coach new syndicators in starting and scaling out their businesses. One of the common misconceptions of someone transitioning into a full-time career as a syndicator is that it requires tools they can’t afford. As your business scales, the tools will grow with it. But for a start-up or small business, there are many tools to take advantage of when getting started.
Here are the top 5 tools I recommend utilizing when you are just beginning to build out your own business. (As a disclaimer, no, I am not being compensated in any way for these recommendations.)
Cost: Free - $8.00 p/mo
Scheduling tools are becoming more popular and greatly help simplify communications when scheduling calls, meetings, and more. The reason I recommend this tool over others is because it provides me a way to easily send a link to someone to book themselves on my calendar (saving us time from having to go back and forth on communicating about what day and what time is better), and allows me to block times for specific activities.
For example, I do my podcast interviews for the month all in one day. Since it requires time to have the equipment and lighting set up properly, as well as be in a quiet and distraction free environment, it’s easiest for me to do this all in one day. Using this tool, my team can send the link to our upcoming guest to easily select a time that works well for their schedule and mine.
By grouping my activities into blocks, this allows me to better control my schedule and thus accomplish more during times that I have dedicated to each task. Another example is taking investor calls. By blocking all calls to the mornings only, I can then ensure I have enough time in the afternoon to address other business concerns. Blocking is one of the best features Appointlet offers and it’s essential for time management when running your own business.
Cost: $29.00 p/mo
I often get asked how I manage to keep up with so many business-related functions, including overseeing our social media. The truth is while I do keep a broad oversight of it, I of course have a team who helps me and this is one of their favorite tools. While there are many options to choose from, Hootsuite is an affordable social media management tool that allows for content and post planning in advance, team collaboration, and more. The basic plan allows up to 10 social media profiles to all be stored in one platform.
For example, rather than my team having to go to the company LinkedIn page, and then move over to our Facebook page, and then move over to our Instagram account, this platform gives them access to post to any of them all in one place. Even more, messaging, comments, and reactions can all be monitored and managed on the platform as well. In a world with multiple minute by minute interactions happening across multiple social media platforms, this tool makes it easier for each one to be monitored and engaged with in one place. It also provides analytics for each platform, helping myself and my team to track our overall growth and progress on overall business goals.
Data is important for every business, and this is no exception for a start-up or small business. Once you have a website established, it’s very important to learn what kind of audience you are driving to your site. While it may be helpful to have 1,000 visitors a month, if the majority of them are not your actual target audience, this will not be helpful to your overall business goals or strategy.
Google Analytics is a robust tool that allows you to look much deeper than just quick stats about your website. For example, I can use a “behavior flow” report to identify where people are moving through my site, and what information is of greatest interest to them.
Being sensitive to and aware of my audience’s behavior on my site allows me to identify what information is most important to them and helps me to know what content isn’t. If I see that this behavior flow is generating results in-line with my business strategy, this helps me to know I am doing something “right”. If I see indicators that are not positive, I can then implement the improvement or changes necessary to avoid continuing doing something “wrong”. This type of data is very valuable for any business and should be evaluated on a regular basis to measure your own business performance against your goals.
Cost: Free - $15.00 p/mo
MailChimp is a great communication and marketing tool that allows you to organize your contacts in various lists (called “Audiences”) that significantly ease bulk communications.
For example, I provide all of my investor’s monthly updates on property specific details and where we are in our overall investment strategy. By grouping all the investors into their respective deals, I can quickly and easily send out one email to the specific group, saving me and my team tremendous time from having to email the update out one by one.
Another benefit of MailChimp is for creating and distributing a newsletter. Not only does this allow potential new investors an opportunity to learn more about me and my business, but it also helps me share valuable information with my subscribers on a regular basis. It also provides great reporting features and integrates well with Google Analytics to track “campaigns” (emails) to help ensure my subscribers are engaged with the content and information I’m sharing with them.
Cost: Free - $20.00 p/mo
AirTable describes themselves as “part spreadsheet, part database.” Essentially, AirTable can function as a great tool similar to a project management program that allows myself and my team to seamlessly stay in communication on tasks, assignments, and provides quick snapshots of overall progress on projects we consistently work on together.
For example, when I publish this weekly blog, I input the name of the article and assign it to my editor, who is then notified that it is his turn to review and make edits as needed. We can leave one another comments, and change who is assigned what tasks in real-time.
Rather I am traveling out of the country, or in my office, I can quickly and easily see where we are in the progress of finalizing my upcoming posts going out. When it’s ready to publish, I then assign it to another team member to create the associated artwork, who then assigns it to another team member to publish the post. AirTable is a great team-working tool essential for any small business
Having the right tools in place can greatly help any start-up or small business thrive. Tools that improve time management, streamline job functions, gather and report on important data, condense communications, and simplify operations are not only affordable (or even free), but greatly improve a business’ overall success. Young syndicators or any small business can use these simple tools, at less than $100 per month, to run your business efficiently. The more streamlined your operations are, the more this allows you time to focus on growing your business, rather than just running it. This is one of the keys to ultimately scaling.
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About the Author
Ellie is the founder of Blue Lake Capital, a real estate company specialized in multifamily investing throughout the United States. At Blue Lake Capital, Ellie helps investors grow their wealth and achieve double-digit returns by investing alongside her in exclusive multifamily deals they usually don't have access to.
Ellie is the host of REady2Scale, a podcast that focuses on the "APS" of real estate: Asset, Process, and Strategy. Each episode discusses how investors can scale their real estate portfolio and/or businesses.
She started her career as a commercial real estate lawyer, leading real estate transactions for one of Israel’s leading development companies. Later, as a property manager for Israel’s largest energy company, she oversaw properties worth over $100MM. Additionally, Ellie is an experienced entrepreneur who helped build and scale companies by improving their business operations.
Ellie holds a Masters in Law from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.