This is a blog for entrepreneurs who are starting their own business and want to be successful. We’ll be talking about everything from how to get funding, to how to find a great place to work. We’ll also be covering topics like how to hire the right people and keep them happy, as well as how to grow your business at an exponential rate.
Startup Resources For Entrepreneurs
When I started my first company, I was a little bit lost, because there were not that many open resources back at that time, 20 years ago (not to date myself). There was the city library, of course, and the option to attend a lecture from a successful business owner at the local university. But, otherwise, there wasn’t much.
Oh, have things changed. Today, startup founders can easily access numerous organizations, websites and experts to help them launch their startups and see them thrive. After all, knowledge is power, right? And knowledge is key to making the soundest decisions you can, and developing optimal strategies, to get your startup off the ground and into a position to sustain itself.
Resources I’d recommend? Here are 10 that startups in 2017 can use to gain their biggest advantage possible:
1. Global Accelerator Network
Gan.co, or GAN, is an incredible resource for startups comprised of more than 70 accelerators across six continents and 100 cities. GAN offers a way for startups to benefit from short-term, mentorship-based programs that help them launch in a smart, strategic way.
Started in 2010 by two co-founders of TechStars, this network has helped 3,300 companies complete their GAN program as well as raise more than $4 billion across the globe to fuel these companies and create nearly 22,000 new jobs. Startups enjoy access to best practices, industry data, discounts and perks, consulting, investors, peers and mentors.
2. Startup Grind
Billed as one of the largest startup communities in the world, Startup Grind brings together more than 400,000 entrepreneurs in 85 countries and 200 cities. The community offers a network of resources, which include events, partnerships with organizations like Google for Entrepreneurs and media opportunities. There are also local community events that help entrepreneurs meet up with others for face-to-face assistance and connection.
That assistance includes ways to reach out to talent, innovators, investors and educators. Startup Grind started in 2010 in Silicon Valley and has grown, to offer online and offline opportunities for tapping into some very important resources and opportunities for funding.
3. Young Entrepreneur’s Council
Young Entrepreneur Council, created by entrepreneurs is an application-only resource that offers startups considerable support and resources. For marketing, YEC offers a free website, numerous opportunities for media exposure, tools for brand-building and invitations to special events and conferences.
As a resource, YEC has knowledge-sharing, networking and professional development opportunities. Other perks include affordable healthcare options, a travel agency and discounts for co-working spaces all over the country.
If you’re looking for a convenient, affordable way to expand your own knowledge and skill set as well as that of anyone you hire, Coursera will connect you to the world’s universities and their best online courses. There are numerous specialties available, including machine learning, Python, data science and a wide range of other very relevant topics and courses to assist today’s startup founders.
Prices range from $25 to $99, making this a very affordable way to expand knowledge and skills within a typical startup founder’s budget. Online degrees and certifications are also available, depending on what you are looking to achieve.
Strategyzer offers a tool called Business Model Canvas, which helps users to create, on one page, a business model that helps direct their startup journey. The company also offers other resources, like the Value Proposition Canvas and other tools businesses can use to improve their strategic management processes and overall direction when they’re not sure where they are going or how to get there.
Similar to Coursera, Udemy is another excellent resource for learning about all types of subjects and acquiring the necessary skills so businesses do not have to invest their lean funding in additional staff to handle those projects. This global marketplace of learning offers more than 42,000 courses and a network of more than 14 million students. Numerous certifications are also available.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know if your website, app or idea really has enough traction to go the distance and become a full-fledged business. So Userinput.io helps startups get honest feedback from users willling to provide their opinions. The benefits for the businesses are a very affordable way to get reviews and input from selected reviewers. The feedback comes quickly and offers constructive criticism to make the necessary improvements to increase a startup’s chances at success.
While similar to some of the other educational resources on this list, edX offers free courses which are especially attactive for startup founders facing a very limited budget. Those courses’ major benefit: They’re from prestigious universities like Harvard, MIT and the niversity of California — Berkeley. The organization also has business partnerships with universities, professors and industry experts all over the world and features a global community that facilitates connections among entrepreneurs.
Growthority is a growth-hacking service that helps startups by taking over the early stages of growth for them. It’s akin to an outsourcing service for growth, where startups have a team that can handle online marketing and technical skills as well as provide other knowledge necessary to help build the busines into something larger, with the traction needed to continue the momentum.
Clarity is an organization geared to providing access to mentors and experts that can help entrepreneurs in specific areas. Users can browse for experts by topics such as business strategy, marketing, social media, strategic planning, SEO and business development, to name a few. Users then select their expert and connect directly with them to get answers and advice. This is a great way to tap directly into an area founders are unfamiliar with, to get the assistance needed, rather than hire someone full time to do the same thing.
top 10 startup tools
Communication tools that startups often use include instant messaging and video conferencing tools. Instant chat tools are great for quick updates and small questions but for more complex issues, jumping on a video call is often a more effective way. Video conferencing tools are also very useful in conducting client meetings when the use base of your startup is global.
Startup Tool – Slack
Slack is our favorite tool for instant messaging. Using Slack, you can create channels to group discussions on different topics. Slack offers an extensive Slack App Directory where you can easily connect Slack with tools that your startup already use in your daily workflow or add extra functions to help you use Slack in a more productivity way. The free plan pretty much covers all the things a startup needs, just that the free plan only has limited history and can install up to 10 apps max.
Need more tips on using Slack? Check out our blog posts on Slack tips and tricks.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $6.67/month per user
best startup tools – Zoom
Zoom is one of the most popular web conferencing tools on the market. Using Zoom, you can easily start an online meeting or webinar with good video/audio quality and screen sharing function. One handy feature of Zoom is that you cna create recurring meetings with the same URL, which is very useful for hosting internal team meetings for your startup.
The free plan covers the basic needs that you need to do a video call. But group calls are limited to 40 minutes for the free plan.
Need more tips on using Zoom? Check out our blog post How to use Zoom: 15+ Zoom tips and tricks.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $14.99/month per host
best tools for startup – Google Meet
If you are looking for a completely free option for video call, Google Meet is a great choice as well. Using Google Meet, you can safely create and join high-quality video meetings for groups of up to 250 people. You can also view and present in live-streamed events that include up to 100,000 in-domain viewers
2 Best project management startup tools
Using a project management tool to organize and track progresses of projects and tasks is very helpful to enhance the productivity of your startup because at the early stages, when you are still trying to find product market fit, it’s likely that there can be numerous changes to your priorities and task arrangements. Without a right tool, things can get very messy and your teammates may find it hard to keep track of what needs to be done and the progress.
Best startup software – Trello
Trello is a Kanban-style list making tools that are helpful in project or task management. You can create boards, lists, and cards with labels, checklists and due dates to organize your team’s projects and tasks and simply drag and drop them to track progresses. There are also a lot of Power-ups (essentially apps for Trello) that you can add to Trello to supercharge its already amazing functions.
The free plan is adequate for most small startup needs but is limited to 10 team boards and 1 Power-Up per board.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $9.99 per user per month
Best software for startups – Asana
Asana is another very popular project management tools among startups. Using Asana, you can organize your projects and tasks in one shared space and switch between list, kanban board and calendar views easily.
Its free plan covers most small startups’ needs and can have up to 15 teammates.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $10.99 per user per month
3 Best documentation / knowledge management tools for startups
Knowledge management tools help teams better organize useful team knowledge such as frequently asked questions, workflow guidelines and other important information in a centralized hub so teammates can access important info quickly when they need them.
When choosing an internal knowledge management tool for your startup, look for tools that integrate well with other tools your team already uses, offer a powerful search, good collaborative features and built-in workflows to ensure content accuracy and freshness.
Benefits of investing in knowledge management tools:
Speed up onboarding
Enhance team productivity
Standardize workflows and share learnings among teams
Reduce repeated questions and mistakes in your team
Top startup tools – Kipwise
Kipwise is a knowledge management tool that helps teams build up their company knowledge hub easily. It offers powerful Slack integration, browser extensions and is integrated with Google Drive, Trello, Airtable and more, so you can save and retrieve team knowledge easily, wherever you need them.
Some key features that help teams enable better internal knowledge flow:
Powerful Slack integration – Handy slash command and Slack Actions to create and search for team knowledge. You simply don’t have to leave Slack to build up your knowledge base.
Real-time collaborative editor – With rich embedding options, your team can edit the same doc at the same time and create visually appealing documentation easily.
Content review process – Set designated reviewers for your collections to ensure content is always up-to-date and accurate.
Pricing: Starting from $16/month for 10 users
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4 Best scheduling tools
As startup founders or customer-facing roles, it’s likely that you have to schedule quite a lot of meetings with different stakeholders like investors, prospects and customers. Instead of needing to send back and forth emails to schedule a time, using a scheduling tool can help you save a whole lot of time and also increase conversion rate as booking a meeting has become much easier and hassle free for your prospects and customers as well.
Useful startup tools – Calendly
Using Calendly, you can set specific time that you are available (or simply link your Calendar to block off unavailable time slots) and allow people to make a booking with you easily. Other than sharing your Calendly booking link, you can also embed the Calendly booking form in your website directly for prospects to book a timeslot with you or sales team directly.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $8/month per user
Useful startup software – YouCanBook.me
YouCanBook.me is another popular online appointments booking system among startups. It works well with Google, iCloud and Microsoft cloud calendars. Simply link your calendar and your customers can make a booking directly into your calendar and they will automatically get their notifications, calendar invites and reminders, etc.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $10/month per user
5 Best team culture / team building tools for startups
Most startups are still operating in small teams and busy focusing on product building and customer acquisition. It’s easy for startup founders to overlook the importance of building the team culture that they would like to see in the team that will help the company grow in a healthy way. Below are some tools that can help shape the team to live the values that you care and build a team that can work cohesively together.
Tools for startups – Disco
With Disco, you can easily send appreciation to teammates directly via your company chat tool like Slack. This way, you can shape your team culture by recognizing teammates in real-time when they live your values. Disco also provides leaderboards so you can formalize recognition by rewarding your team superstars every month or quarter.
Pricing: Pricing starting from $3/month per user (they are currently having a 50% off discount in light of the Coronavirus, so starting from $1.5/month per user)
Tools for startups – Donut
Donut helps your team members get to know each other better, across departments, office locations and continents – a particular useful tool if your startup works remotely (read more tips about remote work). Donut introduces people who don’t know each other well on teams of all sizes via direct message, and encourages them to meet in person or virtually for a variety of programmes. You can also use Donut to welcome new hires, and introduce them to onboarding buddies or other teammates.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $49/month for 49 users
6 Best holiday management tools for startups
Even if your startup is small, having a proper procedure on leave management is important in keeping productivity high. With proper vacation management, your team can plan ahead when employees need to take some time off and ensure your tight deadlines won’t be missed. This is particularly crucial for remote teams as teammates are not based in the same office so sometimes it’s hard for them to know who’s out of office on a particular day and might not be responding to their requests.
apps for startup – absense.io
Absence.io helps you manage team absences like vacations or sick leaves with ease. With its Slack integration, managers can decline or accept absence requests directly within Slack and teammates can see current and future absences easily with using Slack slash commands.
Pricing: Starting from €1.5 per month per user
startup apps – timetastic
Timetastic is another great holiday management tool that can be easily integrated into Slack to help your team prepare for a teammates’s absence in advance. With Timetastic, you can basically manage the entire “taking time off” process directly on Slack. Best for startups that want to avoid the paperwork that comes with planning a few days off for a teammate.
Pricing: Starting from $1 per month per user
7 Best automatic daily standup / status report tools for startups
software for startups – Status Hero
Status Hero is a lightweight tool for tracking daily goals, activity logs from your tools, and status updates from your team, all in one place. It makes checking in within a team and collecting daily goals easier. With Status Hero, your teammates will be prompted to check in and give a brief update on their progress to the rest of the team. Then Status Hero will combine the daily check-in with data from connected project management tools such as GitHub, Trello and Jira and create status reports to be sent to the team.
Pricing: Starting from $3 per month per user
software for startups – Standuply
Standuply helps to automate most common Agile processes via Slack, including standup meetings, retrospective meetings, team motivation check-up, etc. You can integrate Standuply with tools like JIRA and GitHub to build Agile charts and run complex processes, such as backlog grooming, planning poker, and more.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $5 per month for 3 users
8 Best marketing tools for small startups
Startup tools – Buffer
Buffer is a social media management platform that can help you save a lot of time by allowing you to manage all your social media accounts in one place. Using Buffer, you can schedule posts to share in multiple social media accounts in one go and track the performance of your content.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $15 per month for 8 social accounts
Tools for startups – SEMrush
SEMrush is a popular SEO tool that specializes in keyword research, backlink analysis, competitor analytics, Google Ad optimization and more. A very useful and comprehensive tool if you are looking to grow the traffic of your website.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $99.95 per month
9 Best sales tools for small startups
Startup platform – Apollo
If you are looking to do outbound sales, Apollo is a handy tool to help you find verified email addresses and phone numbers of the prospects that you would like to reach out to. Its data base has over 200M business contacts and 10M companies, and you can set up your own filters to target your ideal buyers.
Currently, its free plan allows you to get 150 verified emails per month for free.
Pricing: Freemium with plans starting from $19 per month per user
Startup Stacks – Yesware
Yesware is a very useful email tool for sales people. Using Yesware, you can track emails, create templates, set up personalized email sequences and schedule meetings easily. A great tool to help your sales close deals faster.
Pricing: Plans starting from $14 per user per month
Startup stacks – Close CRM
Close is a CRM built for sales teams. Every touchpoint with a lead is automatically tracked in a visual timeline so it’s easy for your teammates to keep track on the stages of the lead and all the data are very useful for handover as the lead move along different stages.
Pricing: Plans starting from $21.25 per user per month
10 Best customer success tools for startups
startup tech stacks – Intercom
With Intercom, you can build better customer relationships through personalized, messenger-based experiences across the customer journey. Using Intercom, you can talk to your leads and customers almost anywhere: on your website, directly in your app, on mobile and via email. Some of our favorite features include event triggered emails, in-app messages product tour and drip campaigns.
They have a special startup pricing at $49 per month for qualified early stage startups.
Pricing: Plans starting from $49 per month
Startup tech stacks – Fullstory
FullStory is platform that helps you understand better how prospects and customers are interacting with your website and product through useful analytics such as heatmaps, conversion analysis, user session recordings, etc., which is a very useful tool across product, marketing and support teams.
Fullstory also offers a special rate for early stage startups at $2,028 per year (i.e. $169 per month).
Pricing: Not shown on website
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