10 Useful Tools For Early Stage Startups
“How to grow a business?” is not the easiest question to answer, is it?
According to statistics, 9 out of 10 startups fail. Why is that? Well, there are several very obvious reasons, but the most important are “making a product that no one really wants”. So to overcome this obstacle, you have to do thorough market research.
You’ve done that? Good.
Now it is time to form your team, the team that will carry your business to success. However, that is a tricky one as well, and some hiring advice for growing businesses would be more than welcome.
After the team has been formed, the final touch is the implementation of tools – tools that will make your road to the top much easier. Here are some recommendations that can prove to be very useful if used at the right time and under right circumstances.
Being a startup owner that you are, it is highly likely that you will reach a financial obstacle. At that point, you can either turn to are bank loans or opt for cooperation with angel investors. Thus comes in the AngelList – a service that connects entrepreneurs and owners of startups with potential angel investors. This service provides you with a pool of investors willing to hear you out and maybe even invest in your company if it’s fueled by a good idea, that is. Even though it was a while ago, there was a debate on pros and cons of AngelList. And while some decided to delete their accounts, many have remained active users.
2. Active Collab
Image source: Imgur
It doesn’t matter that you are an early stage startup – you need to organise your projects and keep track of tasks. Powerful yet simple project management for startups called Active Collab will help you organize everything. It’s easy to use, it has lot of features like task management, team and client collaboration, time and cost tracking, invoicing and others. You can create tasks, and set due dates, attach files, add reminders and leave comments. By choosing Active Collab for managing your work, you can rest assured that all work will be done properly and that no one will mis their deadline. Maybe the most important fact that it’s low price and functionality makes it excellent Basecamp alternative.
Slack is one of the most popular applications for team communication used by startups, scale-ups as well as enterprises.You can create team chat channels organized by topics, make private with selected members and have one on one conversation with a member of a team via direct messaging. Slack is known for it’s integrations: there is a large number of third-party services such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Runscope. All content uploaded to Slack is searchable which makes finding files, conversations, and people super easy and efficient.
If your startup is product based, you will need simple but useful product management tool to keep everything in check and all tasks on track. One of best apps on the market is ProductPlan: it enables you easy communication, planning, and visualization of your product strategy by using roadmaps. You can drag and drop bars, milestones, containers, and lanes and keep the entire process in check, all the time. Finally, everything that is going on can be shared with colleagues, other teams or an entire company if there is a need for it.
5. Week Plan
Image source: Pixabay
Week Plan is a task manager that organizes your goals and tasks by importance and urgency and according to roles and responsibilities. Inspired by the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this personal time organizer will help you keep your personal and professional life on track. It is very light and user-friendly, Week Plan will give you much more than you expect when it comes to day-to-day task tracking and overall time management.
Kissmetrics is a powerful business intelligence platform that will help you keep track of important metrics. You can create as well as improve marketing strategies and practices. Also, it will allow you to determine where your best customers come from and who they are. The platform provides funnel reports that can help you turn your visitors into paying customers, as well as an insight into revenue metrics – broken down by traffic source, of course.
7. Quickbooks Pro
Handling an early startup means managing every aspect of business – that means an accounting as well. If you want one simple solution, you can opt for Quickbooks Pro. It is a comprehensive accounting solution meant for small and midsize business. This app has all functionalities of a core accounting software: project accounting, account payable & receivable, expense management and payroll management. Also, there is a ‘Bank Account Reconciliation’ feature, which enables you to make automated payments and deposits from your bank account and simultaneously manage the employee payrolls. Transactions get automated categorization, which gives you an accurate insight into monthly expenses and earnings.
As an early stage startup, you will often find yourself with very limited sources. At this moment, relying on freelancers is a very good move to make. And while there is an abundance of freelancing sites, only Fiverr lets you hire someone for 5$. This service (or a toolbox, as it may be) is perfect for outsourcing certain tasks such as graphical design or copywriting if you are on the budget. However, keep in mind that “what you pay is what you get” so it is highly unlikely you will receive top notch work for money you are investing.
Image source: Pixabay
With Toggl you can track time during which work is being done. Why is this important? Because if you are charging by the hour, every minute counts. This timer app tracks billable hours, and it comes with a reporting feature so that you can export timesheets or you can email reports to your bosses or clients. The toggle is very functional and simple solution if you are looking for something lightweight to track time spent on real work.
Email is getting a bit obsolete, but it’s not entirely useless – especially in marketing. What’s more, it can be a powerful weapon for client and customer attraction and retention. With Mailchimp not only can you to create and send regular email updates to your clients and customers, but you can design email newsletters, share them on social networks and track your results as well. It is equipped with an interactive drag and drop interface, as well as analytics and reporting tools that represent data and customer interactions in graphical format.