Creating and maintaining a successful small to mid-size business is equal parts art and science – not a combination that is easy to get right.
Despite the efforts of talented teams and proper preparation, there are hundreds of reasons why a business could fail, from a lack of product market fit to running out of runway.
For any business, one of the main challenges is how to effectively use resources. A small team must take on many aspects of a constantly evolving business in a short amount of time. While this can be exhilarating and exciting, it’s also extremely demanding and challenging.
The 21 tools compiled below cover everything from human resources to social media and are a professional way for you to save more time, cover more ground, and give your small to mid-size business a competitive edge.
Podio is the perfect tool to streamline or create your startup’s project management strategy. Used and trusted by top companies and newcomers alike, this tool streamlines communication, is easily customized, and creates a centralized work hub to keep team members in sync.
While there are quite a few options for group chats on the market, HipChat stands out in that it’s designed for business. Completely accessible, HipChat runs on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, and even has a web app. Additionally, HipChat is secure, searchable, and fully customizable – a perfect mixture for a business that needs to cut down on email clutter.
RealtimeBoard takes a startup favorite, the whiteboard, and brings it into the digital age. This tool is conceptually simple, classically intuitive, and allows for collaborative ideas to become visual. Team members can work in real time to brainstorm, collaborate, give feedback, and refine your startup’s next big idea.
Namely is an all-encompassing HR tool designed for the modern workplace that manages payroll, benefits, talent, and more. Namely even incorporates a social news feed to keep employees connected. Best of all, Namely has rave customer service reviews, which is likely to save your startup time and effort in solving any problems that may arise.
Homerun allows startups to infuse their company culture into the hiring process. By attracting and securing talent that is a good fit, Homerun offers the opportunity to make hiring more streamlined and effective, while fueling your company culture from the ground up. It’s a great alternative to generic job postings, endless Excel documents that don’t support collaborative decisions, and ultimately promotes finding the right fit.
KnowEm is a do-it-yourself approach to brand management. This tool allows you to search over 500 popular and emerging social media sites for references to your brand, product, username, etc. KnowEm even offers a business starter pack that helps you to secure your brand in the World Wide Web, have a positive impact on search engine optimization, and create the foundations for growing your brand awareness.
Pipedrive is a simple and visual sales customer relationship manager (CRM) for teams. The tool can be setup in minutes, includes iOS and Android apps, allows you to see all deals in a visual sales pipeline, organizes contacts and forecasts sales. Pipedrive is easy to use, great for small teams and allows salespeople to focus on the right deals.
Growbots is an all-in-one outbound sales automation platform that offers automatic lead generation and email drip campaigns with CRM integration. With a database of 200 million decision makers, the platform will automatically generate a list of ideal targets and contact them with an email campaign. Teams can generate new sales opportunities by setting up customer profiles and scheduling email campaigns.
Canva is a one-stop shop for accessible, approachable, do-it-yourself graphic design. It’s perfect for marketing and social media startup teams because of its simple, effective, and almost impossible to mess up templates. Additionally, Canva helps startups navigate a multitude of platforms by providing an impressive range of specs for posts, ads, covers, infographics, headers, and more.
Piktochart has an extremely user friendly interface and allows beginners to create sleek and professional infographics from day one. Infographics are more than just a Pinterest trend – their popularity points to the power and persuasion that visual communication can have in business. Now, thanks to Piktochart, your startup doesn’t need a professional graphic designer to make this impact.
Social media often plays a key role for a startup’s growth and expansion. HootSuite is a way to operate, integrate, track and monitor all your social media platforms from one central portal. With access to a full range of metrics and features such as timed messaging, it offers everything you need to successfully manage your social media presence.
GoPlan is a flexible, reliable, and secure way to encourage collaboration and communication within a growing startup. Through use of milestones, calendars, task lists and more, GoPlan offers an intuitive solution for offices that can’t seem to get out of their inboxes.
Skip the piles of paper receipts and opt for Shoeboxed instead. Easily integrating with a variety of programs, Shoeboxed helps over 1,000,000 companies organize business cards and receipts, formulate expense reports, and more. This tool can save time, space, and headaches.
Track your startup’s competition with SimilarWeb. This platform offers a competitive analysis that often leads to key insights for up and coming businesses trying to get their foot into an industry’s door. Knowing where you align with competitors in your field is vital information for any startup operation that wants to see the clear, big picture and how they fit in it.
BodeTree takes some of the confusion out of finances by offering tracking and analytics that you don’t have to be an expert to understand. BodeTree helps startups with its ability to offer a clear picture of your finances, while identifying areas for growth. With the fast pace of startups, this tool can be a powerful guide and way to keep your financials on track.
Focus is a simple, yet almost universal tool that tackles a very human barrier to productivity – procrastination. Focus allows users to block websites that are potentially distracting to avoid wasting time, and even offers the user a motivational quote every time it does. This tool is perfect for individuals and startups that have the foresight of recognizing a tendency to get sidetracked.
Proved is a startup’s dream for affordable, reliable, and usable market research. This tool gets fast and accurate feedback from a desired audience, yielding confidence, results feedback, and analysis. It’s a great way to test your assumptions or product market fit.
Trello is a flexible, visual task management system. Not only is it customizable, it can fit in with any startup’s team, project, organization, or workflow, but it is a proven way to create and maintain organization. So simple and always useful, Trello is truly a must-have for your startup.
Workable is a professional and efficient tool that is a perfect companion to a startup’s hiring process. Its focus is on streamlining the process so that the time can be spent on people. Having all admin materials in one place, accessible and organized, can simplify finding the next key member to your team.
While spell check and auto-correct might be able to spot a repeated or misspelled word, the Hemingway editor does justice to its namesake. This powerful writing tool can recognize passive voice, hard to read sentences, and areas to simplify or improve your startup’s written copy.
Placeit is an amazingly simple editor that allows you to digitally insert content into high-resolution professional mockups without software such as Photoshop. Simply choose your template, upload the content, and drop it into the mockup. The results are professional, affordable, and fast. Perfect for presenting your product or new feature.