The number of online tools young startups have at their disposal has increased tremendously over the last couple of years.
The number of online tools young startups have at their disposal has increased tremendously over the last couple of years. They can be used to get valuable insights about consumers, drive traffic and increase conversion rates. However, they can easily turn into a bottomless pit in which you pour resources at the expense of products and services. That’s why you have to ask yourself whether those tools meet your business needs and whether they actually save time and resources, before investing your entire budget in them. That said, let’s discuss the type of tools every tech startup should invest in.
Content management and publishing tools
Every startup needs a publishing platform and the three most popular choices are Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and choosing the right one generally depends on the type of the business you’re running and your plans to expand in the future. WordPress, for example, is very easy to install, customize and use and it offers numerous free themes and plugins to choose from. It’s ideal for beginners and small and medium sized businesses. Joomla is excellent for e-commerce and social networking, but it does require some degree of expertise. Drupal is the most powerful and the most difficult solution and requires extensive knowledge of CSS, HTML, and PHP.
Project Management tools
Successfully tracking product and service development, as well as collaborations on various projects would be extremely difficult without a proper project management tool, especially if you have a number of different employees working at the same time. Fortunately, there are numerous options to choose from, such as the Agile system which has stemmed from Kanban, and Scrum, Slack, Trello, etc. Trello is a free solution which is extremely useful for small businesses but loses its power once a business starts growing. Kanban is a paid solution which offers flexibility and management of completely different areas of business inside a company, and as such, it is favored by large companies.
Customer Relationship Management tools
Customer relationship management tools or CRMs offer numerous benefits to startups and small companies including improved organization of various customer information, enhanced communication with your customers, better customer service and automation of various everyday tasks. The most popular CRM solutions include Nimble, Streak, and Salesforce. Nimble is a cheap and lightweight solution which aggregates Gmail, Google+, Facebook and Twitter contacts using their info to make a coherent and manageable list, while Streak presents itself as free management tool inside Gmail. Salesforce is the most expensive option which offers advanced customization and flexibility in customer tracking and relationship management.
On-site analytics and traffic acquisition tools
Brand, product, and service marketing is used to attract search traffic which is organic. This means that it’s not attracted using paid advertising. From Google’s Analytics tool to MOZ and SEMRush, there are numerous tools and services you can use to get more information regarding the ranking of your search terms and various options of putting that knowledge to good use. Both MOZ and SEMRush are paid services, but get the job done. Once you have incoming traffic, you can use Google Analytics to figure out how visitors behave and interact with your website. KISSmetrics is another excellent tool and if Google analytics is telling you what exactly is happening on your pages, KISSmetrics will let you know who is doing it, by providing you with insight into user behavior on a personal level.
Cloud Storage Tools
Today, most small businesses want the ability to access their data anytime and anywhere, without unnecessary overhead for hardware and storage maintenance. Cloud storage also increases flexibility and improves collaboration efforts, which is particularly important when you have teams working on different projects at the same time. Both Google and Microsoft are offering cloud storage solutions for both personal and business use, with the later requiring a monthly fee. Alternative storage options include BlueHost, Dropbox, JustCloud, OpenDrive, SpiderOak, and Syncplicity, to name a few. Which one you will choose depends mostly on the type of business you’re running, as well as your current budgeting options.
Once you’ve decided on the adequate tools for your business, you need to measure and evaluate their success in order to weed out the subpar solutions and, if necessary, invest in a better option. Have in mind that a tool’s success depends heavily on its implementation and the use of data provided by the said tool. Experimenting with different tools is a far better choice than investing your complete budget into a single one, only to realize that it doesn’t satisfy your startup’s needs.