Startup Tools allow businesses to scale more efficiently and operate as smoothly as possible. Streamlining operations while increasing quality is most critical to small businesses’ success. To reduce errors and save time, startups adopt a lean methodology and agile work environment with the help of different SaaS tools.
Let’s take a look at the different startup tools every company must have in its tech stack.
With project management tools, you can establish order within your organization. Unlike established companies with already set standard operating procedures, startups have to build reliable workflows from scratch. Project management tools allow you to list down all of the milestones and create a hierarchy of tasks to complete them more efficiently.
Teams who take advantage of project management tools have lesser chances of getting overwhelmed and overworked, making them twice as productive. If you can designate tasks to your team, you can also easily monitor their performance. You get to see who is performing and who needs help.
Excellent project management tools also have time-tracking features. You can collect data about your team’s pace, making it easier to gauge your team’s capability when planning future projects.
Startup founders tend to agonize over tedious paperwork and documentation. Between the lean methodology and agile environment startups usually adopt, documentation can be complicated. Ensuring that everyone is up to date with everything can be a challenge, especially in a setup that prides itself on being fast-paced. Project management tools provide a solution with its centralized documentation storage plan.
These tools provide you with a centralized documentation system that makes it easier for you to view everyone’s calendars, tasks, and documentation. It is vital to avoid messy documentation and even messier task allotment to ensure cohesion within your team and guarantee your business’ sustainability.
Top Project Management Tools
A SaaS tool, Asana makes collaboration and work management easier for your team. You can manage projects and all their subtasks in one dashboard. 65% of businesses who used Asana have claimed that the tool has reduced the back and forth between departments and enabled their team to get more work done.
Mostly used by software developers, Jira works better for tech startups. You can create tickets that allow developers to organize and prioritize bug fixes and develop updates for software releases. Aside from tracking issues and deploying updates, Jira is also a great tool to use when it comes to technical documentation. If you want to quickly onboard your team with any software updates, Jira is the way to go.
Trello can handle any project you can throw at it. If you want to organize and manage your content team, marketing campaigns, sales, and more, you can easily accomplish that with Trello. It uses a kanban board system to provide you with a clear overview of tasks, schedules, and task prioritization. You may also upgrade your Trello subscription to use the calendar feature for a more organized look at your to-dos, task owners, and due dates.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
To ensure your business’ survival, you should improve your relationship with your existing customers and find new ones. It is essential that you also take the time to win back former customers and lost leads. With so many things you already have to keep track of, how will you find the resources?
The answer lies in using a trusted Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Most small to medium-sized startups use CRM to streamline their business processes. With CRM, you can improve customer service, deepen existing customer relationships, and retain new ones.
CRM works by storing all of your customers’ data. It serves as your central database that tells you all about your customers, their contact information, the type of service or product they bought from you, and even where they are at right now in the sales funnel. Having access to this rich data enables you to craft strategic marketing initiatives that are likelier to generate more sales.
The data stored in CRM can provide you with a lot of relevant insights into your target market. Your team can easily reach out to satisfied customers to get them to repurchase. Similarly, you can contact those who are not as happy with your service or product and immediately soothe these concerns, effectively winning them back.
You can maximize profitability because CRM provides you with up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Because you have a deeper understanding of your customers’ wants, needs, and purchase patterns, you would be more able to entice them to get product upgrades or buy other products, leading you to close more deals and generate more sales.
Top CRM Software
Hubspot offers a free version with a decent number of features. With a wide range of integrated features and functionality, this CRM works best for starting companies. If you happen to sell your products or services on social media, Hubspot might be your new best friend. It connects to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, making it easier to capture your customers’ demographic and behavior.
Salesforce remains one of the largest cloud platform providers most startups prefer to use. It retrieves enormous amounts of data from your target market and enables you to look at each of your leads that piped in. You may also see every interaction they had with your website, which helps manage your business. All the information you need to convert your leads into paying customers is located in one organized location. Salesforce lets you make sure your company is working optimally and allows you to see any potential problems from a mile away.
One of the startup tools you must use, especially when running an online shop, is e-commerce software. e-Commerce platforms have grown in leaps and bounds, offering advanced features that make running an online shop hassle-free.
Business owners take full advantage of different e-commerce software to grow their company and maximize Return on Investment (ROI). With e-commerce, you can manage your online shop in one dashboard wherever you are. You only need a reliable internet connection and access to a browser.
Easily add and remove products without breaking a sweat. Shopping carts can update quantities whenever products are shipped out, making it easy for you to track your inventory and how much product you are selling. The software can also calculate your taxes for you, print shipping labels, and track orders. Say goodbye to the manual labor of running stores.
Time is of the essence when it comes to sales. Customers are less likely to complete the purchase if check out is slow. Most e-commerce software apps have standardized checkout forms that make it simple and faster for customers to purchase. Speeding up the checkout process serves to generate more sales and encourage repeat customers.
How does having an efficient shopping cart help your business? Well, not only does it make purchases more convenient for the customers, but it also takes off the manual burden of managing the store. You no longer have to continually do inventories, manually ship items, and calculate taxes. You can easily let your online shop run on its own, letting you have more time and energy for the other pressing concerns of running a startup.
Top e-Commerce Software
This platform works well for beginners with no prior experience in coding and design. You can easily set up your store with little to no configuration in Shopify. The platform is designed for online sellers with its intuitive design and simple, no-fuss navigation. With its wide variety of professional and customizable templates, you can start selling your products and services right away. Easy to set up, Shopify is your quick, no-frills e-commerce solution.
Having a seamless checkout process can only mean increased conversions. While it is not an e-commerce platform, Stripe is an essential tool that works hand in hand with online stores in boosting revenues. Instead of being redirected to another site during payment, Stripe enables users to stay on their current landing page. You can quickly integrate Stripe in your store without paying any monthly fee.
Stripe also features a great API that web developers love. It gives developers full control over the entire payment experience, allowing them to make tweaks and improvements to provide the best user experience possible.
ThriveCart helps you upsell, down-sell, and cross-sell, increasing the lifetime value of your customers. As a hosted service, you no longer have to install any software on your browser. It recently released a drag-and-drop editor so you can create your shopping cart however you want without breaking a sweat. If you are not that big on customization, you can still use premade templates for your online store.
Get a special Lifetime Deal on ThriveCart here*
Landing Page Builders
Whatever niche your business is in, you need landing pages to reach and exceed your business goals. Landing pages are there to capture the target audience’s information and start the process of directing your leads down the sales funnel. Having optimized landing pages increases your click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates. Landing pages are even reported to have an average conversion rate of 3.6%. Indeed, if you want to boost revenue and maximize ROI, you need to incorporate landing pages into your marketing strategy.
However, creating landing pages and calling it a day is not enough to convert your leads into sales. For your customers to convert, you must have a highly optimized landing page that compels your users to click. Otherwise, they would only visit your landing page and click off, increasing your bounce rate instead.
Everyone knows that web development is a highly complex process. You also need a specific landing page for every service and product you offer. Websites take countless hours to build and require a strong team of developers to code complex designs and navigation.
If you are an online seller rookie and don’t have the technical expertise needed to create landing pages yet, page builders are great tools to use. Page builders can help you create non-generic landing pages that can convert better without web design or development experience.
Excellent page builders provide you with custom domain names, heatmaps for engagement tracking, and webinar integration. You can also make use of different SEO tools to optimize your page better. It might seem daunting, but many of these page builders use the drag and drop method, simplifying development without needing any knowledge of HTML or CSS.
Top Landing Page Builders
Wix works well with individuals, bloggers, entrepreneurs, small to medium-sized business owners. It makes building different types of pages as easy as dragging and dropping elements. Wix also offers numerous design templates that are still customizable.
You can do the following:
- Opt to use these useful templates or customize them even further to achieve the look that you want.
- Search for templates by category, narrowing down your choices to the layout that best suits your business.
- Quickly customize the font, color, and design of the page to fit your business’ objectives and campaign.
With its easy to use features, this beginner-friendly page builder rose to immense success and eventually became a household name in the online world. Its intuitive user interface allows you to perform tasks in just a few clicks.
What makes this platform appealing is enabling users to do front end and backend web development without coding anything. You can create complex changes to your website by only dragging and dropping. Elementor and Divi are popular page builder plugins people often use.
Aesthetically pleasing websites attract more customers. With hundreds of customizable templates to choose from, Squarespace provides you with visually stunning designs you can easily use. You can also integrate marketing automation and data analytics with your Squarespace powered website.
Aside from marketing and content, design is an essential aspect of every business’ growth. Great designs attract more customers and solidify your brand online. When people see any of your marketing materials, you want them to recall your brand automatically.
Having excellent graphic design helps you gain traction in your industry. Design enables you to achieve a unique look people can trust and associate with your brand. Having a custom design throughout your marketing campaigns gives you an edge over your competitors.
However, most startups and small businesses find it challenging to look for reliable graphic designers. Outsourcing graphic designers is an option, but expenses can quickly pile up when you hire different designers for every project.
You can use design tools with preset sizes and templates for all types of marketing collaterals, such as infographics, presentations, social media posts, etc. There are thousands of preset options available for whatever marketing asset you might need. It’s a simple and easy solution for non-design-savvy business owners.
Top Design Tools
Straightforward and easy to use, Canva is hailed as one of the best websites to create different designs. There are still a lot of fonts and graphics you can use without paying for premium. You can make an account easily without subscribing to any services. It is a good design platform, especially for beginners.
Penji works slightly differently from Canva. In Canva, there are many designs to choose from, but you would still be the one to customize these designs according to your needs. In Penji, you pay a flat monthly rate for unlimited graphic designs made by top designers. You can cancel your subscription at any time with no cancellation fees.
Penji offers a 24 – 48 hour turnaround time. If you require numerous designs done by actual professionals, this subscription-based design platform will suit you better. The first drafts typically take up to 24 hours, while complicated designs would need 48 hours.
One of the most convenient ways to communicate is through email. It is swift and can be sent anytime and anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Email allows you to stay on top of projects and respond to your correspondence efficiently. Without worrying about delays that often happen with traditional means, you can travel around the world and still stay connected with everyone at work.
Emailing documents is less of a hassle than faxing. You can send and receive information regardless of different time zones.
Top Email Provider
GSuite is a cloud-based platform featuring unlimited storage for photos, files, emails, and documents. You can also use Google Drive to store all your data in the cloud. You no longer have to worry about losing important files or documents whenever your computer malfunctions when everything is already backed up in the cloud.
Another benefit of using GSuite is company emails. Company emails give your business a more professional appeal. Having one can increase your credibility and entice customers to respond to you better.
If your primary aim is to scale your business as quickly as possible, email marketing should be one of the core strategies in your overall marketing campaign. Email marketing serves to grow your list of interested and loyal customers. Let’s say you are a property management company looking to expand in Arizona. The first thing you should do is build an email list of interested rental property owners. When you launch in that area, you already have warm leads to greet you.
Email, after all, remains the number one means of communication. You must be able to leverage that if you want to maintain a growth mindset. The most common email marketing strategy digital marketers use is creating coupon codes. Your customers are given coupon codes if they refer a friend. If most of your customers refer a friend, you can expect your email list to explode in just a few hours, growing your number of leads. That’s the beauty of email marketing.
Top Email Marketing Tools
ActiveCampaign works with a category-defining Customer Experience Automation Platform, which includes a CRM built for small-medium-sized businesses, that helps businesses around the world creating meaningful connections and engagement with their customers. Businesses of all sizes have access to pre-built automations that optimizes the overall customer experience. ActiveCampaign* has a 14-day free trial and pricing starts at $9 for accounts with less than 500 contacts.
MailChimp prides itself on its well-designed and easy-to-use interface. You can easily customize your email campaigns to suit your customer journey. If you are a small business looking to scale, MailChimp is a great email marketing platform to use. The basic plan is free of charge. You can easily send out emails if you have less than 2,000 subscribers. MailChimp works well for business owners who are new to email marketing. Learn the ropes without spending too much.
ConvertKit is another email marketing service you can use. It only charges you once per email, unlike others that charge you per email per list, even if it’s essentially the same address. Perfect for marketing professionals, ConvertKit creates a unique profile for all of your subscribers. You can use these profiles to tag and segment your customers with ease so you can send emails to different audiences, allowing more customization to your content.
ConvertKit also provides you with a comprehensive graph that reports which email campaigns are effectively growing your subscriber list. This information is crucial when optimizing and tweaking your email strategies.
Strong team communication encourages alignment and increases productivity among team members. Your team members need to understand your company’s goals and objectives. Once they are aligned with your vision for the company, you’d be surprised at how efficient your team can be when executing tasks. They would need to have a firm grasp of what parts to prioritize first and which jobs require the most effort.
Poor communication only causes tension and anxiety, preventing your team from working harmoniously with each other. This unnecessary stress can only hinder productivity and might even doom your company right at the very start.
When it comes to SaaS product-based startups, employees typically work from home. Without face to face interaction, communication might prove to be challenging. However, there are messaging apps you can use to create a safe and positive working environment while building trust within your team.
Making use of messaging apps enables your team to stay on top of things and get updated with what they are doing. These apps help you bring your teams closer, even during remote work. Empower your employees and facilitate more collaboration. Ensure cohesion within the workspace and align everyone towards the leading company objectives. Your company will thank you for it.
Top Messaging Apps
With over 1.5 billion users worldwide and an average of 60 billion messages sent per day, WhatsApp stays one of the leading chat apps. Completely revolutionizing the way we do instant communication, this messaging app helps you keep updated with your team and customers. Whatsapp also comes preinstalled on many smartphones around the globe. If you want a convenient and free way to reach your colleagues and customers instantaneously, why not use WhatsApp?
Most startups experience being overwhelmed with keeping track of mile-long email threads and numerous messages. Slack solves this problem by enabling you to create different channels.
Having different channels allows you to organize your conversations in the workspace per topic or project. If you have a concern about marketing, you can send a message to the channel dedicated only for marketing. If you have tickets assigned to your web developers, you can ping them on your channel for web development. This saves you time from sorting through hundreds of messages and immediately find what you are looking for.
Slack also offers a bunch of integrations to make your workflow as streamlined as possible.
Customer Support Tool
Strong customer support can make or break your business. When customers feel taken care of, you have more chances of racking up positive reviews. Positive reviews help your brand gain credibility and encourage more customers to continue to buy what you sell. Negative reviews, on the other hand, might turn away potential customers.
Having a robust customer tool helps you maintain top-notch services. These tools help you identify, collect, and organize all the customer feedback you can use to improve your services. You can also avoid duplicate work by keeping track of customer questions. Whenever your team replies to the customer, rest assured that their reply is up-to-date and coordinated with the rest of the team.
Don’t you love it when businesses respond to your questions right away? It goes the same with your target market. Fast responses from businesses signal greater conversions. Leverage on customer support, and you will find your business scaling up faster than you can say “startup.”
Top Customer Support Tools
60% of sales can happen on Intercom. People are more likely to use Intercom when they need their questions answered. Intercom can send automated emails to help with the onboarding process and further nudge the lead down the sales funnel. You can also add links into the chat panel, making it easier for your potential customer to read necessary references.
Used by over 40,000 businesses, Zendesk offers a wide range of features to streamline customer service. Up to 500 support agents can access this platform at once. Manage up a thousand tickets per hour with Zendesk, ensuring increased productivity and improved customer satisfaction.
Zendesk features a self-help portal where customers can find information for themselves as well. If you want to optimize your support team, Zendesk is one of the best tools for it.
Remote work can prove to be challenging at times. Isolation, procrastination, and misunderstandings are just some of the issues that tend to crop up now and then. However, the rise of video conferencing addresses these issues.
Teams can participate in discussions whether they are sitting at home or tuning in from the airport across the globe through video calls. You can stay connected with your co-workers and feel like you are in the office in the comfort of your own home.
Video calls help build camaraderie within the team and help make sure that everyone works in alignment with the company’s business objectives. It is a great avenue to make sure everyone is on the same page. Problems are a bit easier to solve through video calls.
These face-to-face calls help increase the flexibility needed in an agile work environment. You can make decisions quickly and get information faster.
Top Video Call Apps
Zoom caters to all types of industries. Virtual town hall meetings are made a lot easier since Zoom can accommodate up to 100 participants. It’s relatively easy to navigate. Combining HD quality video stream and crisp audio, your team can connect, collaborate and work together even if they are from different parts of the globe.
While Google Meet requires an app on mobile devices, you don’t have to install anything when using this tool on your computer. With just one click, you can jump into a meeting seamlessly. The meeting’s occupants can admit or deny entry to newcomers. If you don’t recognize the Google Account trying to participate in your discussion, you can keep them out, ensuring privacy.
Company Wiki does not mean what you think it means. It is not a Wikipedia page. A Company Wiki acts as the knowledge base every member of your team can access. The Company Wiki can answer every question an employee might have about the company and its services. It is your one-stop-shop for information and resources.
A Wiki helps build transparency within the company. Each team can explain their work and contributions to the company’s OKR, creating a bigger picture for everyone. New employees can be onboarded faster since the Company Wiki shows everyone how the business is done. It provides information on how each team member can do their job well.
Top Company Wiki Tools
Notion excels as a tool for efficiently collecting, organizing, and accessing information. It’s reasonably easy to build a user journey in Notion. You can walk through pages after pages to find the right information you need.
Guru provides an efficient knowledge management solution that allows your team to be more efficient when getting to know your company and its standard operating procedures. With integrations from Slack and Microsoft, rest easy knowing that everyone on your team stays aligned.
Launching a startup is one thing. Running it is another. If you don’t have the right tools to help you, you have already lost the battle. The tools listed above can significantly help you execute tasks with precision. Employing the necessary tools can mean the difference between success and staring blankly at screens.
*Note: I use an asterisk to denote an affiliate link (they help me out).