The 6 Applications That Will Make Your Startup Fly
20 February 2017 00:00
When starting usecure, I was sure that I fully understood the products that I wanted to use and how I would actually use them. Like a lot of new business owners, I wanted to kick things off on the right foot and, in my head, that meant premium products for premium costs. Well, how else would I ensure my business was built on the right foundations?
After 6 months I have learned that there are some fantastic tools out there which, as a small/new business, you can pick up for free (or at a small cost) which can really make your business sing. The great thing about these products is that they're different from the past, such as when a free product meant sacrificing functionality or quality. These vendors are happy to supply the “best in market” products to help you grow so that you do you stick with them and eventually pay for their service…. Seems fair to me!
So here are 6 great applications that we use now (in startup mode) and will carry on using in the future.
No surprises here, Slack’s free version is available to businesses of all sizes and enables you to communicate internally with real-time messaging. The great thing about slack is that as you start to work closely with business partners you can create B2B slack channels, which enable greater collaboration without the need for cumbersome email.
Don’t shy away from using a CRM when you kick your business off, it will make your startup life easier in the long run and make you entirely more efficient. We use BASE which is $25/month and is really intuitive with great integration with things like MailChimp and xero. There are other options available and a good free option would be Hubspot’s CRM, which isn’t quite as polished as BASE but is a great cost saving option for a startup (plus you can move into their suite of marketing products which is where they really excel).
Fiver / Upwork
Need small jobs doing quickly and for a reasonable price? Both of these platforms enable you to do this as you post your work and then wait for talented people from around the world to bid on the contract. Now my advice is that you don’t use these services for everything - we primarily use Manchester based companies for important work and services as we enjoy a better relationship and control, but that's down to preference.
Google Mail & Apps
We thought about Microsoft 365 but our business does not require the added functionality that MS gives you. Drive, Gmail and the suite of applications are great to use and make sharing documents a breeze. They also save everything on the fly so you never run the risk of losing work you have done. Google also adds a host of additional apps which all hit the mark such as 'Keep', which is the best to-do-list app I have used yet.
If you conduct presentations or demos of your software with clients, then Joinme is great. It works differently than other webinar tools as it does not require the client to install anything at their end. The console is modern and the required functionality is never more than a click away. We use their paid-for version, but the free one is perfectly suitable at the beginning.
One of my faves this. Now, we were almost convinced into using another HR application (trust me, it was awful), until we found Charlie HR. Not only is it free (for small teams) but it has a click console and is an absolute breeze to use. Charlie also integrates with Slack perfectly and has a strong security message which is all referenced on their website - really important for that sensitive HR data.
So there it is, I hope these reviews and recommendations are useful for anyone out there looking at building a startup. This is not a list of products that I will move away from when we have more money to spend, in fact, quite the opposite. These are modern-day vendors that understand the value of helping new businesses get off the ground, which is the foundation of a long-term relationship.