Being a start-up company, one think a lot before spending money on technology. And everything you want to be perfect and fast in first time itself. You do not want to take a lot of risk, invest time and money on adapting any technology. So, here I have prepared a list of 7 most productive start-up tools, which is being used in almost all start-up companies and most of these tools are free of cost!
1. E-mail tool
In this category most famous are Outlook, Godaddy, Rackspace, Lotus and Google Mail. Comparing all these tools you would like to have a tool that must be universally acceptable, flexible and resourceful. Well, here except Outlook and Google Mail, others are paid services and no doubt you will get custom domain mail. Now coming to these free tools, Google App gives 10 free custom e-mail address for small businesses and similarly Outlook does. Comparing service integration with docs, calendar, map and accessibility, Google App will definitely win the race. Since, Google has restored the feature to access Mail offline, one would definitely say this is the best e-mail tool for start-up.
A department which need to keep every in and out record of the company perfect. This is where the future of any start-up can be predicted. Well, a lot of tools are there, from our very own known software, Excel to Xero, Quickbooks and Freshbooks.
QuickBooks – is more than just accounting, it is a flexible system adaptable to everyday small business management, which includes all accounting functions and reports. You can send checks, bills (invoices), accept payment by credit card, scan the checks directly to the bank, calculate and pay wages/ taxes – all without leaving the program from/ to office/ home – ‘paperless’ way. You can structure the system differently, depending on the type of business and the preferred monitored parameters of business, export reports to Excel for business forecasting and financial modeling. Not only this QuickBooks has a market for add-ons for different types of business and types of needs. You can either hire a professional QB-who ‘deliver’ (setup) the system and can teach the basics of using, or all of the study on their own, if you have extra time, which you can not spend more usefully, by developing Business Sales. You can conduct a simple income/ expense in Quicken Home & Business . Later, if/ when needed, you can always do upgrade / convert’ to QB.
3. Web Analytics
Analytic, where we need to analyze the type, demography and volume of the traffic that we get from various sources to measure the effectiveness of marketing. Even in this category there are Webtrends, Omniture, Google Analytics and Mixpanel as providers. Most of them are free of cost but with some limitations. Comparing everything there is clear one sided advantage of using Google Analytics, it’s the features that they provide and the detail of the traffic with other integration features. You can analyze various demographics among any length of time. You can get details about the traffic from different Countries and places along with details on sources, type of users, page views, clicks, bounce rate, new visitors and so on. All in all , it is the best tool available in this category.
4. Customer Relationship Management
It is important to have a tactics for managing a company’s interaction with customers, clients and sales. Where we need to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. There are tools available like Zoho, Sugar CRM, Highrise and Salesforce that startups can easily adapt to.
Among all these tools, Salesforce is most widely used CRM. It is an online web-based CRM service. As with all CRM software, it captures and organizes communications and information from current or prospective customers from many departments across a company.Salesforce’s CRM solution has broad category: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Data Cloud, Collaboration Cloud and Custom Cloud which provides several services that can be integrated with Microsoft Office, Social Networking sites and mobile devices.
5. Web Design
For startups if the website is information based then it would be better to adopt WordPress as it is open source and anyone can easily design a website with the help templates. Moreover it has a lot of plugins which can be deployed to get new features without programming skills.
But if you want to go for some unique and creative website then there are tools like Coda, Adobe CS5, Pencil & Paper and Komodo Edit. Comparing all the extensively used and popular app, among them, is Adobe CS5. Here you will have to spend some penny to get full version of CS5. Adobe CS5 Web premium has all web developer tools including Adobe’s applications like Photoshop, InDesign, Contribute, Fireworks and Dreamweaver.
6. File Storage & Sync
Usually people involved in startups want to work from different places like from office/ home/ outside. They don’t want any type of delay in work and each time, to sync updated file from one PC to another takes time, when done manually. Not only this a safe, secure and fast collaborative tool is also the need time.
In this category of file management we have tools like DropBox, SugarSync, Box.net and so on. Although Google Docs can solve this problem but upto some extent, you can’t work offline and the space limit is only 1 Gb. Moving to other tools that silently sit on the machine and do the job seamlessly without any hassle. DropBox is the best solution, which stand out of the crowd and provide ultimate syncing solution for various device platforms. Files also have a backup in cloud and one can easily expand the space upto 10Gb through referrals. Regarding this my detailed review here would be useful.
7. Payment Processing
Receiving payments from Online customers and for smooth, safe transaction process, a reliable gateway provider is required. When you are selling your product in Global Market, an Internationally accepted brand and money conversion facility is required. Well, for this there are many providers like Square, Authorize.net, AlertPay, Paypal and Braintree. Among them Paypal is more user interactive and have widely acceptable APIs that can be integrated to the system easily. Also, in most of the countries Paypal is available for processing payments through local bank. Moreover, they have flexible plans for users who are new in business and overall path for scaling business become easy.