By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR
Starting a company in this modern age is easier than ever thanks to technology. Have an interesting idea? – use crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo to get the funds you need to get it off the ground. Need a logo for your new company? – start a design contest on 99designs and have dozens of graphic designers compete for your project. Ready to incorporate and start hiring employees? – visit legalzoom for help with all the legal papers you’ll need to file. The list of tools and services to help you get from idea to your first sale goes on.
Along with all these services to help startups get off the ground are business apps geared at increasing your productivity so you can spend more time being creative. Here are 5 business apps every startup should take a look at regardless of industry.
Mailchimp – Whether you’re sending out that first email to family and friends asking them to participate in your crowdfunding campaign, or you’re alerting your 10,000 beta signups that your product is ready for them to test, Mailchimp has your back. Create beautiful emails using provided templates or ones that you’ve created yourself, manage email lists to ensure that the right people see the right content, and see how each email campaign performs all on platform.
Google Drive – Seamless collaboration is a key factor in any successful business, and what better tool than Google Drive. While competitors offer anywhere from 2-7GB of free storage, Google recently tripled their offering to an industry leading 15GB of free storage! So don’t worry about playing flash-drive-catch around the apartment as you work on getting your bootstrapped startup off the ground (personal experience), Google Drive has you covered.
Hootsuite – Regardless of the type of company you’re planning on starting, you’re going to want to be on social media. Social media pages are some of the first places people look to find out about your company; sometimes they can even help you clinch that VC investment. But in order to manage these pages in your company’s infancy without the budget to hire a full time digital marketing expert, you’re going to need to do some careful planning and time budgeting.
This is where Hootsuite comes in. This online application allows you to manage all your social media pages in one easy to use platform. You can schedule updates, respond to comments, monitor keywords, and a whole host of other utilities that will cut down the time you’re working the social channels to a fraction of the time. Furthermore, once your company expands, you can upgrade your account to allow for advanced features that will aid your full time digital marketing pro in creating the best content marketing plan possible.
WordPress & Launchrock – I’ll group these two together because I think they’re both great platforms for your company’s website needs. Let’s start with Launchrock, because that’s what you should start with when beginning your venture. Launchrock allows you to create an informative “launching soon” page with a variety of useful features such as email signups, social media links, and information about the project and the team. You can have this page up and running in minutes and leave it there until you’re finished working on your website. And on that note, take a look at WordPress for an easy to use, robust CMS. Create a nice website with little to no coding experience using WordPress. Use downloadable templates, or create your own, and add all the plugins you need to ensure that your website has the features necessary to cater to your audience.
FreeConferenceCall.com – Although there are many conference-calling platforms available for your company to choose from, FreeConferenceCall.com ranks among the best. First and foremost, it’s free to host a call with up to 1,000 participants. Need to record the call?..this too is also a free service. When comparing these costs with one of their major competitors, GoToMeeting.com, which charges $19 a month for a conference line that can be used with up to 5 participants, the choice becomes clear…just like the sound quality on FreeConferenceCall.com.
Now of course any successful startup is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication…but with these apps you will be able to spend a little less time on administrative tasks and more time changing the world. Enjoy!