Building a startup and scaling from the ground up is a challenging task. From managing day-to-day tasks to keeping up with the competition, there’s much to do to ensure your business runs smoothly.
Luckily, there are many tools available to startups and founders that will help you in managing and scaling your business while allowing you to free up some of your time for tasks that require your attention.
With these tools, you can ramp up your business productivity and achieve more things in less time. Your employees will also feel empowered and more confident when they have tools that can support them with their work. Invest in these tools to boost your startup growth.
What is a startup tool?
A startup tool is any tool that can help startups and founders manage their businesses. This can happen in various ways. From helping with streamlining team communication to allowing you to manage your company website, the bottom line is that they are easy to use but impactful for your business.
There are different main categories a startup tool can fall into.
Top 8 categories of tools startups should use?
Table of Contents
1. Content management tools
Most companies choose to create a business website as it adds credibility to the brand and offers people a window into their business. Traditionally, however, creating a website requires a lot of coding knowledge and patience. Luckily, you can use content management software, or CMS, to create and manage web content without needing to code your site.
- Tilda: Tilda is a website builder that doesn’t require you to code your pages from scratch. With more than 500 design blocks available to you on the platform, all you need to do is input your content and combine different elements before you can publish your pages onto your site. Websites built on Tilda are also optimized for SEO.
One thing that you may want to consider before using Tilda is that as it is a no-code website builder, you may not be able to do advanced and complex customizations that you would otherwise be able to do with some other content management tools.
2. Social media marketing and monitoring tools
You want to get your startup brand’s out there and build a presence that people recognize and trust. One of the best ways to do that is to utilize multiple social media platforms. It’s worth investing in a social media marketing tool that can help you create, post, and evaluate effectively to make managing and monitoring all your different accounts easier.
- Buffer: Buffer makes managing multiple social media platforms easy by letting you plan and schedule your posts all through one tool. With Buffer, you can create posting schedules and allow for directly scheduling posts on your social media accounts. The free plan also includes basic social media reports.
However, Buffer only supports one user, so if multiple people are managing your startup’s social media, they’ll have to rely on a single login. Buffer’s free plan also doesn’t include Buffer Analytics, which can make it expensive if you want to get better social media analytics.
- Sprout Social: As an all-in-one social media marketing tool, you can use Sprout Social to plan and create content, schedule posts, monitor and engage with your audience, and get social media analytics all through one platform. Instead of having to switch between different social media accounts, you have a unified center to do everything. It gives you a holistic view of what you’re doing on social media.
The catch is that Sprout Social is on the more expensive side, which may be more than what most startups are willing to pay for a social media management tool. It also requires a bit of initial training to get familiar with all the different features on the platform.
Planable: Planable is a tool geared toward marketers trying to build their social media marketing strategies. Not only can you plan and create social media posts on Planable, but you also can customize an approval workflow for your team. This way, you can ensure that all posts have been approved before they go up on social media.
Like many other social media management tools, Planable also has a free plan available. However, you can only make a fixed number of posts on the free plan and will have to upgrade to one of the paid plans to be able to plan and manage more posts.
3. Project management tools
Use project management tools to collaborate efficiently and encourage productivity within your team. You can brainstorm, track tasks, and set goals to manage your projects better. This is true for both internal and external projects.
- Trello: Trello allows to you make boards for your projects, which you can use to track and manage each individual project. These boards can contain individual cards, which represent tasks that can be assigned to different people and have specific deadlines. With plugins for additional features like calendars and polls, Trello encourages real-time collaboration.
However, Trello has limited customization options and has many advanced features locked out in the premium, paid version. There are also limited note-taking capabilities with Trello, requiring you to possibly use it in conjunction with other tools.
- Asana: With Asana, you can create projects and assign them to individuals. Under those projects, you’ll be able to create tasks, attach files and notes to them, and give deadlines. It’s a tool that is easy to learn and can be used to get real-time updates on all your projects. Asana also has integration with other tools like Google Drive and OneDrive.
Keep in mind that Asana can be more expensive when compared to other project management tools and you’ll need to subscribe to it to get the more advanced features. You also can’t assign tasks to multiple users on Asana, which can hinder some collaboration.
- Confluence (Atlassian): Confluence is Atlassian’s project and document management tool, which essentially acts as a virtual workspace where your team can share, organize and collaborate. Not only can you organize your documents and create internal knowledge bases for your teams, but you’ll also be able to support people working on projects together through the platform.
The downside to Confluence is that because it does so many things, the pricing model can be costly for many startups. This is especially true for businesses that require additional functionalities or integrations for their scope of work.
4. Web Analytics tools
Data is your best friend when you’re just starting up your business. You want to be able to capture, monitor, and review data easily to help you make well-informed decisions regarding your next business move. Analytics tools will help you gain better insights into your business performance.
- Google Analytics tools: Google Analytics is a solid tool to use for analyzing your online marketing strategies through your website. It’s accessible on most devices, allowing you to easily monitor your pages, traffic, and visitor information at any time.
However, you and your team may require some initial training to understand Google Analytics fully and make the most of all the options and features. This tool is also not suitable for offline marketing campaigns, as it can only analyze pages that are on the web.
- Tableau: As a visual analytics tool, Tableau allows you to create data dashboards and share them with your team to get a visual representation of your data. You can maintain these data dashboards collaboratively and get real-time company-wide updates for better review and analytics.
If Google Analytics requires some initial training, Tableau needs even more technical training and knowledge to be able to use it. It is also potentially more costly than Google Analytics for startups, as Google Analytics offers a free plan while you must be on a subscription to use Tableau.
5. Accounting and expense management tools
It’s important that you’re always on top of your business finances. You’ll want to invest in accounting and expense management tools to make sure that you can easily record and review transactions, analyze your expenses, pay your bills, and get visibility on your business spending. Tools with many finance functionalities will reduce your finance team’s manual work and allow them to be more productive.
- Volopay: Volopay is an all-in-one financial control center for all your expense management. You get access to tools like corporate cards and accounts payable automation solutions along with a dashboard that allows you to view all your expenses in real-time. Paired with accounting integrations, your expense management is taken care of with Volopay.
You’ll want to train your team with the basics of Volopay and familiarize them with all the features to be able to make the most of the platform.
- Tally Solutions: Tally Solutions offers accounting software that can help you with your business management. From ledgers to inventory management to taxes, Tally can assist you in replacing error-riddled manual work with an automated process to save you time and increase productivity. Tally can be accessed remotely from anywhere.
There is a bit of a learning curve when starting with Tally and is not suitable for beginners without prior accounting knowledge, so be sure to conduct proper training sessions for your team when using Tally. You also have to keep in mind that while you can access your data from anywhere, you also have to manually back up your data with Tally.
6. Design and graphic development tools
Getting people to know and recognize your brand involves a lot of design and visual representations for your business. You’ll undoubtedly need a design development tool to help you make logos, website visuals, brochures, social media content, and many more. With most design tools, you’ll be able to add and edit images, insert texts, and export your document in multiple formats.
- Canva: Canva is well-known to be easy to use for graphic design. You don’t need to know all the technical skills involved that you may otherwise need for other design tools. With many preset elements and templates available to you, creating infographics, social media designs, and business cards is easy.
You can get started on Canva for free, but there are a lot of limitations unless you get the paid version, which allows you to do things like export pictures with a transparent background. Another thing to keep in mind is that because Canva is an online tool, you need internet access to be able to use it.
- Adobe Creative Cloud: The Adobe Creative Cloud suite includes several different tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premier Pro. Each software has its own specific uses and advantages. Premier Pro, for example, is a video editing tool. You have the choice between a plan that allows you to get access to over 20 apps or subscribe to individual apps.
The downside of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite is that it can be expensive, especially because you cannot purchase the tools on a one-time basis and must subscribe. You also need to have some design experience to be able to use the tools efficiently as they are not beginner-friendly.
7. Communication tools
Communication is key for any business. Whether that’s internal communication between employees or external communication with leads, customers, and other stakeholders, you want to be sure that you have the right tools to support you. This can be in different forms such as messaging, conference calling, and video conferencing.
- Skype: Powered by Microsoft, Skype offers a mix of many tools such as messaging, voice, and video calls. You can use Skype as both a day-to-day messenger to communicate with your team and other stakeholders as well as for virtual meetings. Available both on the web and as an app, Skype can also be used to share screens and send files.
However, keep in mind that Skype does not have an in-built scanner for malware and viruses, meaning that you have to be careful with files sent through Skype. Make sure that you only open files that you trust.
8. Web-based office suite
It’s impossible to run a company without a web-based office suite to create and manage documents. This is where a web-based office suite comes in, which allows you to not only create documents but also store them on the cloud and share them with your team.
- Office 365: Microsoft’s Office 365 is suitable for businesses looking for a flexible solution for their virtual office suite. Unlike its desktop counterpart, Office 365 is web-based and can be accessed on multiple devices. You’ll get access to every update and version download, meaning that you won’t have to worry about your software being outdated. You can also share files with others on your team, allowing you to edit files together in real-time.
However, keep in mind that Office 365 is a subscription-based suite. Where you only need to pay upfront for its desktop counterpart, you’ll have to pay monthly or yearly fees to keep access to your tools with Office 365. Getting all the version updates also mean that you’ll have to familiarize yourself with each new change.
- GSuite: Using tools in the Google Suite such as Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets can help you manage your business documents and collaborate with your team. Multiple people can edit documents at the same time, allowing you to get real-time feedback. You can also store and share files so everyone who needs access can easily have it.
While the GSuite is great and has all the basic requirements you need for most documents, they don’t have the same level of functionalities as the Microsoft Office suite. Some formatting functions are limited on the GSuite tools, which may cause issues when you’re trying to open files created on the Office suite on their Google equivalents.
While there are many challenges that startups face, having the right tools can help you immensely when facing and solving these challenges. You want to save as much time and money as you possibly can increase productivity, and focus on things that require more attention.
Startup tools can be the answer, allowing you to make your business processes faster and easier. With a more established workflow and tools to empower you and your team, day-to-day business management and future growth plans can feel much more achievable.