Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism,DCU.
Running a startup is a massive undertaking. You need to master lots of different things, like … bringing your new product or service to the market on a shoestring budget. Then, there’s all the sales and marketing headaches to make your product discoverable and put it into the hands of the right people not to mention growing your team, oh and paying the bills, and dealing with investors and a bunch of other spinning plates you need to watch! It’s no wonder then that 95% of all startups fail. Fortunately, there are some great productivity apps out there to help you to deal with many of these tasks.
I’ve created a list of my go to tools that will save you time and give you great value for money.
Here are my top 10 essential apps for every startup:
GSuite (formerly Google Apps for Business) is an entirely cloud based set of tools that provides you with email, document sharing, video conferencing and storage in the cloud with nothing to install in your office. Did you know that every time you install a piece of software in a startup a tiny kitten cries, no more tears folks!
Google Docs lets you create and share documents, presentations, spreadsheets and drawings with your co-workers. Multiple people can collaborate and edit the same spreadsheet or document in real time. This is a huge time saver when it comes to collaborating on an important design, documents or spreadsheets. Gone are the days where your changes overwrote someone else’s changes or you edited an old version of a file. Google has reimagined documents and transformed them into living breathing apps in your browser. If you are a Google Chrome user you can even work with your docs offline with this nifty chrome extension.
Google Drive let’s you securely store, share and sync files with others and gives you access to all your data wherever you need. All your important files are backed up safely to the cloud and within easy reach from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
One of the most important aspects of running a business, especially a SaaS company, is communicating and engaging with your customers to understand their needs, introducing Intercom. By adding a few simple lines of code to your homepage you get to live chat to your customers and engage with them. It’s pretty easy to set up custom messages, trigger points and talk to your clients at just the right time. I love the dashboard and analytic features in Intercom. You can send custom business events from your product and visualise these events happening in real time.
Trello is a simple task management tool for teams to help you plan and organise small projects. Trello gives you the ability to create various boards and cards, set due dates, add notes and comments to tasks. It is free for individuals and small teams and the payment plans grow slowly depending on how fast you scale up your team. Everything becomes clearer once it’s broken down into tasks and added to a story board, thank you Trello!
With every small business, it’s vital to get the word out there about your service, product or idea. Social media is one way to reach potential clients, but when it comes to retaining customers, custom emails and newsletters add a real personal touch. MailChimp is an inexpensive tool for building out email based newsletters and campaigns. Spam filters have evolved significantly over the past few years and the reputation of your bulk email sender has a significant impact on whether your email will ever reach your customers inbox. MailChimp deliver billions of email every month and work really hard to keep their reputation and delivery rates as high as possible.
Over 1.8 billion images are shared on social media every single day. It’s becoming harder for your brand to stand out from the crowd and to feed all your social media channels. DesignWizard is an easy to use online design tool that gives you access to thousands of original and authentic designs. The tool is packed full of ready-made templates for every occasion which you can tweak and send to social media in minutes. You can design everything from business cards to twitter ads in DesignWizard. Hooray forDesignWizard!
Buffer helps you to manage and schedule all your social media posts in one single place. Scheduling your social media posts is important for a number of reasons. It allows you to reach your audience at the exact time when they are online even if it’s the middle of the night on your side of the world. Planning, queueing, and scheduling posts to all of your social media channels in one foul swoop is huge time save. You can even schedule Instagram posts and have reminders sent to your phone when it’s time to publish.
Slack is killing email in the workplace and becoming a foundational piece of communication software in many companies. It puts all work conversations in one place and makes it easy to find things and join in. It encourages open communications between groups of people through chat channels and supports an endless list of third party integrations. It’s a must have for any product development teams?—?code checkins, product deployments and organising coffee just got a lot easier.
If your startup needs to collect credit card payment online, Stripe is definitely your best friend. It’s very easy to integrate and requires very little software engineering to get up and running. Stripe payment plans are very flexible?—?you can process one-time payments, subscriptions, discounts, promo codes and refunds. No sensitive credit card information hits your servers which removes a bunch of security headaches. Stripe’s customer service is excellent. There is also a rich ecosystem of plugins around stripe. Taxamo is a nifty add on which integrates with Stripe to handle the liability for sales tax (e.g. GST, VAT) on your digital sales.
There are many free CRMs in the market but the Hubspot CRM stands out from the crowd. It organizes and tracks each aspect of your sales pipeline, and helps you grow and develop your sales in the right direction. The data insights it provides are simply unparalleled especially the company search functionality.
Are you a pen and paper person? Hmm, what happens when you lose that notebook crammed full of the best ideas ever? Introducing Evernote the world’s best note taking and note sharing application. It’s simple, crisp and intuitive interface works on multiple devices. All your notes are backed up to the cloud and fully searchable.
So there you have it, my 10 must have apps for every startup. I’d love to hear what apps or products you use to run your business.