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12 essential startup tools: from CRM to payroll

Written 12 September, 2019, 7 minutes to read

Setting business in motion and bringing a concept to market requires a specialist set of tools. But with limited budgets, intense expectations and pressure to produce results fast, startups can’t afford to muck around with the wrong ones. Separating the wheat from the chaff, here are the essential startup tools you need to collaborate, operate and scale effortlessly – and cheaply!

1. Slack - for team communication

slack

We’ve sung Slack’s praises many times before for its versatility and utility in almost any business scenario – and for startups, it also beats most other tools for team communication. From the ease of switching from channel to private messaging to typing quick to-dos on your private notes, it’s a platform that supports efficient, agile working. As with any communication technology, just remember to be mindful of how your team is using it – it can get bloated and ineffective, fast.

2. Lever - for hiring

lever

Startups can go from a founder to a full team within a few months, so having the right recruiting and HR tools is vital to ensure you get the best candidates possible. Lever streamlines the interview process, using the data to help you make informed decisions about new hires while getting the rest of the team on board with the selection process.

3. Teamweek - for project management

teamweek

Teamweek helps to balance big-picture planning and day-to-day team management with ease. The tool shows you how to keep a visual tab on running projects with clear timelines that everyone can understand while allowing you to scale planning with effective forecasting, productivity checklists and beautifully simple visual layouts.

4. Timely - for time management

timeline-yellow@2x

When you need to make the most effective use of your time, you first need to understand where it actually goes. Timely automatically records all the time you spend on work apps, documents, websites, emails and even GPS locations to give you a full account of all business time. As a high-accuracy, low-effort approach to time tracking, it’s the obvious choice for startups looking to monitor budget spend and project work, and understand operational costs – from internal and stakeholder communication, to meetings, travel and admin. It's pretty useful for time blocking too!

5. Sisense - for business intelligence reporting

Sisense

Reporting is important for staying in line with KPIs – and you never know when an investor might want to pry into the details. Sisense allows everyone in your startup to analyze the same numbers and insights with a fun, interactive business intelligence dashboard that updates itself in real-time. Access reports directly from your web browser at any time, or use email alerts and PDF exports to spread the word.

6. Copper - for CRM

Copper

Copper helps startup entrepreneurs close deals fast by tracking, optimizing and overseeing sales figures while developing transparent client relationships. Copper's most impressive feature is that it can integrate directly into G Suite apps like Gmail and Google Apps, so you can keep using everything as you normally would but with value-added features like reporting, deal tracking and forecasting.

7. Mixpanel - for analytics

Mixpanel

Your startup’s website is the door to the outside world and a reflection of your business identity, so it’s important you have a durable analytics tool to help you understand its traffic and conversions. One of the most functional and productive startup analytics tools around is Mixpanel, which helps you understand visitor behavior on your site – like finding out if and why traffic is dropping off a page and how you can capture them for longer. Lighter weight than Amplitude or GA, while still providing valuable detail.

8. Visme - for presenting

visme

Visme is a cloud-based presenting tool to design, collate and present your ideas whether you’re online or offline. With hundreds of infographic blocks, content designs and templates to choose from, you can quickly make presentations come to life. Add animations, sounds and slick transitions from slide to slide to add that extra bit of flair.

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9. FindThatLead - for lead generation

findthatlead

FindThatLead helps you find and reach out to leads through a strategic filtering system, allowing you to reach authentic business emails of new leads at any given company using just their first names, last names and website names. Choose from audience segments like location and keywords and reach millions of qualified leads, and save your lead searches on its native Lead Manager.

10. Campaign Monitor - for email marketing

campaign monitor

Campaign Monitor is an easy-to-use email builder where you can drag and drop template designs to create branded, relatable emails each time you reach out. It offers pixel-level customization for every detail of your email with the exact fonts and colors to match your brand - no code required. For the actual content, check out this guide on how to email strangers.

11. Awario - for influencer PR

awario

PR and influencer outreach is a lucrative avenue for startups eager to get their product talked about – and social media is one of the best places to start. Awario lets you create a topic for your industry and choose social avenues and blogs as your source. You can then find a list of influencers and brand ambassadors within your niche and start to build connections.

12. Persado - for content generation

persado

Persado calls itself a ‘cognitive content platform’, using AI and data science to leverage marketing language knowledge and understand what content will resonate with your audience most. Testing precise words, images, colloquialisms and emotional phrases, the tool unlocks complex human language to engage your customers in a highly intelligent way.

Want to know how your startup actually spends its time?

Read also

Time tracking for startups

28 March, 2019 • 1 minutes to read

In the startup business, time is the one variable you have complete control over and using it well is a basic matter of survival. But you don’t want to waste valuable time and effort tracking where it all goes. It’s exactly why we designed Timely – the first time tracking tool that automatically tracks how your startup actually spends its time in the background while you work.

Should you bill for client communication?

10 August, 2018 • 1 minutes to read

Client communication is an essential but almost invisible task. Few of us track the time we spend on client emails, calls and meetings; fewer consider it to be billable. But communication is just as valuable as any other time-based service you provide. Here’s why and how you should charge for it.

Hidden project costs that limit project ROI

28 February, 2019 • 1 minutes to read

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