Launching or growing a startup in 2021 is impossible without integrating software and programs for sales, marketing, communication, project management, financing, and others. Today, millions of tools help businesses to optimize, automate, and just improve the workflow. Yet, having a tight budget and over 8,000 tools to pick from, it can be a challenge to choose a few apps only to manage the business and keep up with all the ongoing tasks and information. So, how to make the right choice to grow your startup?
5 Essential Startup Tools In 2021
Below you’ll find the list of the tools organized into 5 main categories: CRM, project management (PM), team communication and collaboration, marketing, and accounting to make it a little more manageable. So, check our tools that are a must-have for any startup project to make it smarter, efficient, and successful.
1. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
If you want your start-up to grow and stay competitive, you need to be able to keep up with customer’s high expectations and advanced requirements. It’s where CRM becomes extremely helpful. CRM system for business can play a significant role in the success of the startup project because it:
- Helps to understand and address the needs of customers;
- Automates repetitive tasks;
- Shortens sales cycles;
- Increases customer retention;
- Helps to organize and streamline business operations;
- Provides better collaboration and transparency of the workflow by giving real-time and actual information;
- Increases efficiency and productivity by keeping you tuned about all the sales, follow-ups, deals, etc., providing detailed customer purchase histories, pipelines, and other details.
What are key features to look for in the CRM for startups? Here is a shortlist of what it should do:
- Forecast sales accurately;
- Automate and track sales;
- Provide detailed reports of sales;
- Offer cross-team alignment;
- Manage contacts data.
With such a number of CRM systems available on the market, for startups it’s highly important to make sure:
- If it can provide the right information and data required;
- If it integrates with other tools in the technology stack.
Take a look into Salesforce, Hubspot, Zoho, Freshdesk, which are widely adopted by startup projects.
2. Project Management Tools
The right digital project management (PM) tool that is widely used, will help your organization to:
- Create and schedule tasks;
- Track and control progress;
- Stick to project timelines;
- Provide holistic visibility;
- Increase efficiency and responsiveness, and many more.
The difference between startups and business is that all the team members work across many areas and they have no time and budget to learn the difficult apps. So, here are some of the key features to look for when evaluating a PM system for startups:
- Usability and the intuitive user interface;
- Streamlined work management features;
- Team collaboration software and file-sharing;
- Third-party integrations (availability and easiness);
- Real-time updates between team members;
- Roadmap with automated follow-ups;
- A collaboration tool that can span different projects;
- Scrum boards for backlog visibility;
- Flexible pricing plans.
Some well-known PM solutions include Asana, Basecamp, Jira, Trello, and Monday. It’s better to research the features and options available so that you choose the one that fits your startup project needs best of all. It’s important to consider how these particular tools will integrate into your overall digital workplace and other tools already in place.
3. Team Communication Tools
With the growing popularity of remote collaboration, it’s crucial for any company to ensure good communication inside the team and between different departments. Being a startup, this issue is of the highest importance as well because good communication is a prerequisite for the success of any project.
Basecamp, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other tools not only allow for better circulation of information and effective collaboration but also better engagement and involvement of relevant stakeholders in key processes. Skype, Zoom, Google Chat level up communication allowing you to hold video conferences and face-to-face conversations.
All these tools offer you a free version with advanced paid features provided. Yet, they are perfect for startups because of the intuitive interface, high security, ease of use, lightweights, and useful options on offer.
4. Marketing Tools
Currently, an online presence is a must for any kind of business. So, marketing strategy is one of the key things to do for any startup project. Yet, marketing a product/service is much easier said than done. Yet, using the right tools, you can reach your target audience and grow your business more effectively and quickly. HootSuite, MailChimp, Sumo, Google Analytics, Hotjar, and many other tools can help you:
- Gather and process the necessary information about your customers to build a successful marketing strategy;
- Learn and understand the needs, wishes, pains of your customers;
- Track engagement insights to develop more effective content strategy;
- Curate content for your digital channels like website, social media, etc.;
- Create and track newsletter campaigns;
- Track conversions and traffic;
- Create detailed reports and get analytical data;
- Conduct A/B tests to make the best business choices, and a lot more.
Integration of marketing tools into the startup’s overall digital workplace will enable you not only to build a marketing strategy but measure your efforts and growth, set benchmarks, and track goals.
5. Accounting Tools
Accounting is one of the most important parts of any project for security, accuracy, efficiency. It’s critical for startups to properly manage the finance to build a sustainable business. Thanks to the variety of tools like Wave, WagePoint, Finmark, Sage, Quickbooks, NetSuite, Xero, Stripe, and others you can mitigate risks, accelerate processes, and automate some tedious and time-consuming tasks like:
- Track the capital turnover;
- Create a hiring and financial plan;
- Build a financial forecast;
- Figure out your financial model;
- Do your taxes and many more.
Adopting and evaluating digital accounting tools, it’s better to pay attention to the following features and options:
- Availability of third-party integrations;
- Intuitive and easy-to-use UI;
- Detailed reporting and invoicing capabilities;
- Flexible pricing.
Launching and managing a new business can be a challenge. Yet, there are a lot of tools that can help you to grow your start-up and become a scale-up. In this article, we gathered some basic tools for any startup project across 5 main categories to cover all the bases in 2021. However, every business needs specific tools on its journey to success and limited resources on the very first days. So it’s crucial for start-ups to evaluate the needs and identify inefficiencies to choose only the most required tools to solve those specific problems.
Alexey Kutsenko is the Head of Digital Marketing of DDI Development company. He is experienced in the development of the marketing strategy for companies in different industries. He knows how to do the right marketing and watches all current marketing and industry trends.