Startup’s Toolkit

Do you know what web and business tools are available to help you with your startup? Or what tools can help you market and grow your business?  There are a million tools your company could use and it is often painful to decide which to buy.  After surveying over 550 people on what they use in their business, the Startup’s Toolkit was created.

After talking to many startups, a few themes clearly emerged:

  1. Google Apps for Business – You can’t argue with $5 per month. More than any other service provider, the King of Search is helping you run your business!
  2. Software as a Service – You love the internet. You’re moving away from on-premise enterprise software and turning to on-demand web applications you can use from your browser such as Basecamp, Evernote, DropBox, MailChimp, Salesforce, etc.
  3. Some of your choices are easy and others are really painful. Obvious solutions like Adobe, Apple, Salesforce, and Quickbooks are easy. Not so obvious solutions include banking, storage, telephone services, and payment processes.

Survey Results: The survey results were gathered with a majority of responders being in the Executive/Administrative role with companies in the Technology industry having fewer than 10 employees.

Check out the results from the survey and find out what people like you are using for:

Company Email
Merchant Account
Accounting Software
Bug Tracking
Web Analytics
Web Design
Text Editor
Payment Processing
Testing Framework
Project Management
Version Control
Note Taking
Hardware Monitor
Visual Design
Phone System
Photo Editing
Web Hosting
Ecommerce Platform
Business Intelligence
Email Marketing
Company Credit Card
Social Media Management

Along with the results from the survey, we have included some information for some extremely useful tools below. Some are free, most offer a free trial period, and those that have a subscription fee tend to charge a modest sum. With the ten tools below (in no particular order) you can have a well-organized startup running in under a day. Good luck!

  • Google Apps  One of the grand-daddies of the hosted App market, Google Apps offers a huge range of products that cover all the productivity needs of a small company plus an unprecedented ability to share information. Use Google Mail for domains and get Gmail functionality for your company’s mail domain. Share contacts and calendars with synching to your desktop or smartphone. Google Docs gives you collaborative document editing, spreadsheets, and collaborative websites. It’s quick to set up, free for under 50 basic users ($50 per year per user for more users and features), and is accessible anywhere you have an Internet connection.   Google Apps
  • WordPress—If you need to build a website quickly, WordPress is one of the fastest ways to do it. Granted there are dozens of other blog/CMS platforms, and WordPress isn’t perfect, but it has a large user base (great for community support and custom development), loads of plugins, and a huge range of themes. WordPress offers hosted solutions with your own domain for $13 a year (note that hosted WordPress does not allow Javascript) or you can download the packages and install on your own webserver for free.  Word Press
  • Salesforce—Managing and tracking the sales pipeline is a big job. Excel spreadsheets get complicated and cluttered and it’s hard to pull data from them. Salesforce makes it easier to manage, collect, track, schedule, and explore your sales opportunities. It’s also web-based and works on a subscription basis: nothing to install or manage and great for when you’re on the road. In my experience, the interface can be a little clunky, cluttered, and slow to work with, but it’s still the best thing on the market, plus as you grow you can customize or seek help from a raft of Salesforce service providers who can help you customize the tool to your needs. Starts at $65 per month per user.  salesforce
  • GetSatisfaction—Managing communication with customers for support and feedback through email can be difficult and duplicative. Why not put it all in one place where both employees and customers can help each other? GetSatisfaction creates a forum where people can discuss your product and interact with staff and other users. It can be used for support and product discussions. It works great and pricing starts at $19 per month.  GetSatisfaction
  • Zendesk—Need a more specific incident ticketing or request management system? Zendesk makes it easy to create custom online forms (for support tickets or information requests) you can integrate into your website or web-based products. Tickets are then tracked in their incident database. You can assign and track ticket status until completion so nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Pricing starts at $19 per month per user.  zendesk
  • Basecamp—Basecamp is a lightweight project management tool which allows your budding business to create, share, and collaborate on projects. In essence Basecamp is a glorified To-do list: simple and clean, it makes it easy to communicate and collaborate on projects with co-workers, clients, and suppliers. Pricing starts at $29 per month.  Basecamp
  • Pivotal Tracker—If you’re in the software development business, keeping on top of bugs, features, releases, and the overall development pipeline can be a full-time job. Using the Agile development model, Pivotal Tracker lets you manage the development process in a collaborative way. It’s a great way to prioritize bugs, pipeline features, and measure progress against development targets. It’s also an essential tool when you’re managing a development effort with remote employees.  While Pivotal Tracker offers a free trial plans start at $15 per month.  PivotalTracker
  • Dropbox—Does your startup needs to backup, share, and sync files simply and seamlessly? Do you have people who need to access files from a range of computers, smartphones, and other devices? Dropbox has you covered. Once you create a Dropbox account and shared folders it’s drag-and-drop simple. With clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile (iPhone, iPad, Android) you can have your files available almost anywhere. 2GB for free, with additional storage starting at $9.99 for 1TB. Dropbox
  • Skype—Communication is critical to building your startup. But cellphone bills can be brutal when you’ve got a developer in one city, a marketing person in another, and a sales person on another continent. Skype gives you voice, video calls, teleconferencing, and instant messaging for free with other Skype users plus allows you to place outbound or receive inbound calls from traditional landline or cellular networks. Clients for all major computer platforms plus mobile clients (Android, iPhone, Symbian) make sure you can connect with almost anybody. Free for Skype services and low rates for Skype In and Out services.  skype