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The growth percentage targeted by startups is growing phenomenally and to achieve such an incredible sustained growth, productivity, and effective management is imperative.
Each internet startup needs to manage 15 categories identified in this article regardless of which nation they’re operating in, and we’re sharing the best tools for unmatched efficiency in each of them.
The sequence of categories progresses in the same flow as the journey toward starting up.
1. Internal Communication
This makes or breaks a team. Regardless of which framework, policy, tool or process is used, internal communication directly relates to the probability of a startups’ success. We have only three recommendations, every other tool integrates into it.
Here are three excellent tools:
Facebook at Work
- Excellent internal social network, needs to be approved by FB.
- Price: Free (for now)
- Do we need to elaborate?
- Price: Free and paid plan starts at $6.67 per user/per month
- Old school Slack.
- Price: Included in the Office 365 subscription
The plugnplay global email solutions available since a few years have eliminated local email providers. The value add beyond emails provided by each is incredible and eliminates the need to have any other service.
- Gmail and has more products within.
- Price: Starts at $25 per user/year
- Microsoft products integrate easily, expensive minimum price.
- Price: Starts at $50 per user/year
3. Project Management & Collaboration
Keeping each team member insync with project goals with crystal clear tasks and timelines is the difference between growth and saturation. Collaboration tools we’ve shared have helped incredibly and are helpful to organizations of all sizes.
- Exceptional UI, solid for large teams.
- Price: Starts free up to 15 members and paid plan starts at $8.33 per user/per month
- Unmatched for Scrum followers, good for todo.
- Price: Starts free and paid plan starts at $8.33 per user/per month
- Good for small teams, fastest among the three, best for individual todo.
- Price: Free and Pro version starts at $4.99 per user/per month
Once there’s a website or app idea, the founder(s) would draw out how each page would look, starting with the homepage till signup/checkout/goal.
- A beautiful and easy to implement wire framing tool.
- Price: Starts at $12/month.
- Similar to Balsamiq, with an advantage of a free plan.
- Price: Starts with a free plan and premium starts at $14/month.
Prototyping is the heart of UI where every detail of how the user would interact is defined.
- Best prototyping app we’ve seen.
- Price: Starts with free for one prototype and paid plans start at $15/month.
Where do you host your website and app? There’s only one recommendation.
Amazon Web Services
Used by majority of startups, globally.
Imagine you’ve convinced a potential customer to try your service and while trying to open the app, the customer shares its down. You didn’t know when it happened, could be a minute ago, an hour or worse. The tools below will notify at the exact second a website or app goes down.
- Excellent UI and most popular among startups.
- Price: Starts at $14.95 per month
- Direct integrations and excellent for large organisations.
- Price: Starts at $29 per month
- Free plan checks every 5 minutes.
- Price: Free and paid plan starts at $4.5 per month
Analytics shows target vs achieved and deeper analytics show heat maps on apps, potential exit reasons and so on. The tools mentioned below are excellent for analytics of a website and a mobile app.
Google Analytics, for web and Flurry, for mobile.
9. Customer Support & Ticketing
Startups would allow maximum channels for customers to communicate with them and it’s very important to have only one tool for managing all channels, helping with accountability and analytics. Imagine having the customer support team using one app for chatting on the website, another for responding to emails, a third for each social profile and fourth… you get it, it’s ineffective.
- Neck to neck competitor with Zendesk.
- Price: Starts with free up to 3 agents post which $15 onward.
- Cheaper and good for small teams.
- Price: Starts at $10 per agent/per month
- Excellent for large teams, integrates into a social channels, chat and email.
- Price: Starts at $5 per agent per month
10. Customer Chat
We’re in a realtime economy and responding realtime is helping businesses close deals or lose them. Customers can chat through several mediums website, inapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram DM/comment, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and so on. We’ve identified the best tools for managing incoming channels. Please note that there isn’t one tool for ‘all’ channels, multiple tools are essential as of now.
- One of the best alternate to a different chat app, within Slack.
- Price: $49 per month
- Exclusive chat app, best for nonSlack users.
- Price: Starts at $15 per month
- Integrates into FB Messenger, Telegram, SMS and converts to emails, Slack et al.
- Price: Free for 10,000 monthly active users and paid plan starts at $100
11. Social Media Management
Signing into different social accounts for posting and managing each social platform differently is passé .Startups today have active business pages on every new social platform, yet managing all networks from within one tool saves 90% time for posting and monitoring in comparison to the past.
- Great UI, doesn’t integrate into Instagram.
- Price: Starts free and paid plan starts at $10 per user/per month
- Excellent for managing multiple accounts and channels, good for replying.
- Price: Starts free and paid plan starts at $10 per user/per month
All businesses need accounting period.
- With additional features in comparison to QB.
- Price: Starts at $150 per year
- Excellent UI, good support, economical.
- Price: Starts at $80 per year
13. Transaction & Marketing Emails
Most objectives for a startup are achievable through emails. For emails, transactional emails are business emails like confirmation of an order, receipt for purchase et al. Marketing emails are the emails sent for offers, discounts, announcements etc. Both types of email work differently and a separate admin for each will help.
Mailchimp & Mandrill
- One stop, beautiful templates, excellent support.
- Price: Starts free and paid plans starts at $15
- Used by most large companies globally.
- Price: Starts at $9.95 per month
14. Cloud Drive
A third party drive will help for an additional backup and if either Gmail or Outlook isn’t used for email.
- Probably the best cloud drive in the world.
- Price: Free for 2GB and Pro starts at $9.99 per month
- Collaboration is unmatched.
- Price: Part of Gmail or Google Apps.
- Microsoft product hence no challenge in format changes of Word or Powerpoint.
- Price: Part of Office 365
15. Customer Relationship Management
Managing potential customers. Effectively.
- Excellent UI, good for socially active customers and has good integrations.
- Price: Free for 2 users and paid plans start at $12 per user/per month
- Best for large organisations.
- Price: Starts at $40 per user/per month
- Free plan works perfectly for startups.
- Price: Free for 10 users and paid plans start at $12 per user/per month
Before choosing the Vamaship final stack, we tried many other tools in each category and believe these are the best in each. Though some prices look expensive, adding up all expenses on tools would cost about the same as salary of one team member.
This comparison makes us realise this is an investment, not an expense.
The entire team working as a family and using technology to automate any recurring task will make each team member realise their full potential and eventually the startup.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on other tools in these categories which we missed out.