Creating a startup can be one of the most rewarding endeavors for any entrepreneur. The drive to propose an innovative solution to solve a pressing problem is the first, and often most exciting, step. But without certain must-have tools, your startup will not do nearly as well as it could.
Every startup needs to be able to make the transition from an idea to a viable enterprise. The foundation of a startup lies in its vision and human capital.
But taking the company from ideation to scale requires ever clearer structures and processes. The initial idea is just the beginning. Many startups fail at the execution phase due to a lack of clarity on how they will transform their ideas into action.
Must-Have Tools for Your Startup
Luckily, there are plenty of tools on the market that can help you along your journey by providing much-needed structure and support. Since every startup is concerned with making the best use of its limited resources, many of these tools offer free versions or free trial periods.
With the right choice of tools, startups can ensure that they fulfill their vision and don’t fizzle out once their initial excitement fades.
These seven tools will help you get your idea up and running and create the systems and structures you need to see it to its realization.
Every startup begins with an idea, but thriving enterprises don’t stop there. They continue to generate solutions to a wide range of problems they face on their journeys.
But simply generating ideas is not enough. You need a structured way to capture, build, and follow up on them.
With Evernote, you can create a space to capture all of the innovative thoughts that come from your team. The software allows you to organize your ideas in “notebooks” that consist of a range of “notes.”
Your notes can include formatted text, links to web pages, photographs, voice memos, and even attachments. In order to facilitate collaboration, your team can tag, annotate and comment on notes.
This virtual space allows you and your team to build off of each other’s ideas and never lose track of a great concept.
Evernote offers a free basic service and three paid plans with different levels of features. That way, you can choose the level that works for you.
Eventually, successful startups reach the stage of taking their products to market, and this process requires a whole new set of competencies.
When you’re ready to begin generating revenue, Invoicely can help you organize your invoices and customers and facilitate smooth transactions from anywhere in the world.
Invoicely works with multiple online payment platforms in any currency. That way, you can service customers regardless of their physical locations.
Best of all for startups, there’s a completely adequate free version that you can upgrade as your needs expand.
Communication and collaboration are the keys to any startup. Given the current dynamic work environments that most startups operate in, it’s not always possible to gather your team in one physical place. That’s where Brosix comes in.
With Brosix Instant Messenger, you get a private network that allows your team to collaborate from a distance. You can do so through a number of innovative ways in addition to the standard voice and video chats.
Through screen sharing, co-browsing, and a virtual whiteboard, your team can create a virtual creative space for developing ideas.
You also get complete administrative control over your network so that you’re able to customize your settings to best address your team’s needs.
Brosix offers free software for personal use, several affordable business plans, and a free 30-day business trial. The company’s paid plans are based on a per user charge, so you’ll pay with little upfront costs as your team expands.
4. Survey Monkey
One of the key phases of startup development is ideation and experimentation. During this phase, it’s crucial to gather customer feedback on your product. That way you can continuously seek ways to better adapt to customer needs and market demands.
SurveyMonkey allows you to gather and process customer feedback in a streamlined and user-friendly way.
You can create and administer surveys through a simple user interface. Even team members without a background in these areas will not have a problem with using these features.
With services in the areas of data collection and analysis, marketing, and brand management, SurveyMonkey can help make sure you’re driving your product idea forward.
The platform offers products from a free basic version to a full-featured platinum package, so you can upgrade as your needs expand.
Driving your startup forward requires a strategic approach to marketing. The ability to engage your customer base and convert interested parties into full-fledged clients is crucial to scaling your enterprise.
Drip allows you to take a calculated approach to your marketing and communication strategies. By managing your contacts and automating your email communication, Drip helps you to maximize the results from your large-scale marketing efforts.
Drip provides a whole series of features aimed at ensuring that you’re targeting the right people with the right messages.
There are several levels of packages, ranging from basic to premium. With Drip you can also calculate your own package based on the total amount of subscribers or broadcast emails you plan on sending. So you won’t pay for more than what you intend on using.
Successful startups know how to best make use of social media. Given the numerous social media outlets out there, it can be difficult for any startup to coordinate its social strategy.
Hootsuite provides you with a platform for integrating your various social media platforms. It works with all of the well-known outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and many more.
It also allows you to manage your communication from one dashboard, saving you time and ensuring message alignment.
Hootsuite offers a free basic service for one user and up to three social media outlets. This setup works well if you’re just starting out. You can upgrade your plan accordingly from there.
7. Startup Stash
Any list of this nature cannot be comprehensive or meet the needs of every startup. You know your startup best, so one of your most valuable assets will be knowing where to turn to search for the right tool when the need arises.
This is the role that Startup Stash serves. Startup Stash is a searchable directory of multiple startup resources. It’s organized by different categories, making it easy to navigate and find just what you need.
The value of an idea lies in the using of it.
—Thomas Edison, co-founder of General Electric
This quote holds just as true today as it did when General Electric began over a hundred years ago. Building a business from the ground up is one of the most challenging (and rewarding) journeys you can undertake, but it’s not necessary to do it alone.
With a wise choice of tools, you can receive the right support along the way. Then you can move your idea forward through the phases of a successful startup, culminating in the scaling of a sustainable enterprise.