Differentiating your business from competitors’ businesses is tough enough, but it’s even harder when you’re just getting started in a busy marketplace. Considering that there are around 150 million startups currently operating and around 50 million new ventures launched each year, standing out from the crowd is no small feat.
In addition to tips for startup success, entrepreneurs also need the help of appropriate and effective tools. You have to build everything up from scratch without the benefit of having established systems in place. Among multiple other factors, your startup has to contend with:
- Project management
- Accounting and payroll
- Team collaboration
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at some of the best tools for startups to help your new business get off to the best possible start and put those all essential systems in place.
1. For masterful project management
There’s a reason Asana often features in articles covering top tools for startups and businesses: it’s user friendly, collaborative, efficient, and attentive to all those important details.
The platform allows you to create, assign, and edit tasks in a way that’s visible to the whole team. You can get the job done faster and every team member knows what they should be doing. Detailed activity reports are also part of the premium plan.
Companies as well-known as Google, Facebook, and Uber use Asana, so you’ll be in good company with this project management tool. As an added bonus, at around $10 per month, it’s super affordable.
2. To keep all your data safe and secure
Whether your startup is B2B or B2C focused, you’re going to be handling a lot of sensitive data. Keeping everything safe and secure in an increasingly fraught cybersecurity landscape is critical. Cybercrimes are on the rise and your business needs to get its ducks in order to avoid falling victim to malware, phishing, data theft, and more.
A Virtual Private Network (or VPN for short) is a powerful way to encrypt data transmissions and shield a business’s critical networks from would-be intruders.
While using a VPN on individual devices is a good idea, you can go a step further and protect your whole office and all of the devices inside it with a VPN router.
3. Hire the right people for the job
Even if you’ve hired a full suite of on-site staff, you’re probably going to need to outsource for some tasks. Think of all those new business things like logo creation, website building, search engine optimization, and more. And from time to time, once you’re more established you’ll also need outsider help to get tasks completed on time and keep your clients happy.
That’s where a service like Upwork comes in handy. For very little cost or effort, you can log on, post a job, and quickly find the talent you need. Once the bids start coming in, you select the person who is the best fit.
Each freelancer’s profile details their past experience on the platform and how much they charge. Additionally, you can discuss your needs in messages before you hire.
4. For the best in clever visual collaboration
While we wouldn’t want to ring our own bell too hard, there are multiple reasons why companies such as eBay, PayPal, and Amazon trust Creately’s clever visual collaboration platform with their important tasks.
With Creately, you can virtually collaborate in a way that feels like being in the same room as your teammates, create flow charts, mind maps, and more. A full suite of useful templates makes creating a visual representation of your ideas simple and intuitive.
The best bit? Basic plans are completely free of charge while personal plans start from less than five dollars per month.
5. For easy time management
When it comes to timekeeping, it’s hard to beat Clockify for several reasons: it’s free of charge, fast to set up, and provides detailed and exportable reports. Ask your freelance or hourly staff to log their hours with Clockify and you can see exactly what’s getting done and by whom.
You’ll also get important data that will help you pinpoint how long projects will take in the future and how much they will cost you in staff, meaning you can sort your price points out early.
6. Easy team and individual communication
Slack is one of the most popular tools for startups and established businesses alike. The messaging platform allows you to communicate one on one with a team member, message everyone, or set up dedicated groups, such as for advertising or accounting.
As an added bonus, you can integrate your team’s Google Docs and Drive files.
7. Savvy social media for busy people
A solid social media presence is essential in today’s bustling digital world. HootSuite takes some of the stress out of managing multiple social accounts by letting you preplan and schedule posts. Your HootSuite account also provides helpful analytics, exportable reports, and performance metrics so you can see what content engages your target audience.
Because you can manage all our accounts in one user-friendly platform, including post engagement, social media becomes far less of a multi-tab hassle.
8. Easy accounting, payments, and payroll
Wave’s accounting software is built with small businesses in mind, making it perfect for startups in any field. Not only does it seamlessly integrate with your company bank accounts for incoming and outgoing transactions, but you can also use Wave for payroll and to receive credit card payments from clients.
This latter feature really sets Wave apart from similar accounting platforms and means you can provide easy payment options to customers.
9. Keep your communication error-free
There’s nothing worse than putting plenty of time and effort into written work only to discover multiple errors when it’s too late to fix them. Grammarly’s Pro service helps you avoid this and make sure your communications are error-free and easy to read.
A browser add-on, Grammarly seamlessly integrates with Google Docs and any input field on an open browser window. So even if you’re on your laptop replying to an Instagram comment, Grammarly has you covered.
10.Plan smart despite time zones
Does your startup feature a geographically diverse squad? If so, you’re not alone, many teams these days are made up of staff in numerous countries. The downside to this global network is finding a meeting time that will work for everyone.
Fret less with this website which allows you to enter each meeting participant’s location and see a list of possible time slots.
That concludes our list of the top ten tools for startups. With the right tools for the job, you can get all your essential systems in place and get off to the right start.