6 Great Tools to Kickstart Your Startup
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
This past September we founded a social-good tech startup, Stand4. It’s a simple concept centered around creating new ways for you to make your mark on the world. And it's thriving: Over the past few months we’ve grown our team to 20-plus, brought on some great partners and begun to gear up for our launch. While all this has been going on, we've made a conscious and ruthless effort to utilize only the best tools for small teams. Here are six of our favorites:
It depends on the environment you’re cultivating, but if you’re about ultra-transparent teamwork, there’s no better tool than Trello. It’s “a new document type that starts with collaboration,” says Michael Pryor, CEO of Trello, "where everyone is seeing the same board at the same time.” The visual nature of the platform makes it highly flexible, highly collaborative and great for small teams. We love it for prioritization standards. Our daily standups are centered around simply ranking our Trello Cards. Now, at any moment, any team member knows the exact top priorities of the team.
“When it comes to building a business, there are certain everyday tasks that you want running automatically in the background,” says Linden Tibetts, co-founder of IFTTT. IFTTT helps you automate your business by creating easily integrated, highly customizable recipes that connect services together, so you don’t have to. We love this tool because you can use it in so many different ways. There are over 165 channels that plug into services, ranging from Dropbox, to Gmail, to the lights in your office. Simply set up an if/then statement and you’re good to go. We use it for quite a few things. Some examples:
- If someone posts a photo with #Stand4, we get sent an email with that photo.
- If it’s 7 am, we’ll receive daily reminders in Slack.
- If we post any photo socially, we’ll have it autosaved to a dropbox folder.
Charlie is a personal assistant that helps you prepare for upcoming meetings. This automated tool syncs with your calendar and then pulls from LinkedIn, Twitter and major newspapers to provide insight into the company and person you’re about to meet with. This young startup is still learning but is off to a great start. Aaron Frazin, CEO of Charlie, imagines Charlie being "a personal assistant that knows exactly what research you want on your desk an hour before any meeting." He adds: "Charlie is about to start learning what you need, so you never walk in unprepared.”
It seems like everyone we know is using some type of email-tracking software these days. When we first started out, we dabbled in a few but could never get behind one fully. YesWare is the best we’ve seen. For its price, it offers the most complete email analytics solution with open/click tracking, email templates and the ability to collaborate with other team members. "We serve brand-new startups and publicly held companies. Our mobile application works seamlessly with our desktop products. And we're just getting started,” says Michael Bellows, CEO of YesWare.
5. Product Hunt
Yes, Product Hunt is quite different from the rest of this list but we really believe it belongs here. Discovery is a huge part of any startup, and Product Hunt, which offers just what its name says, curates that better than anyone else. It’s one of the first sites we read every morning, and should be one you frequent, too.
Finally, there's Slack. A messaging app for teams, this is is the no-brainer of the list. If you're a startup and not using Slack, you’re missing out.