Working from a home office, coworking center, caf or their own offices, founders can do what it takes to grow new ventures using only technology and their talents. With the right tools in place, they can compete with even the largest corporations.
But with so many solutions on the market, it can be difficult for a business owner to know exactly which ones to choose. Functionality and affordability are factors, but it's also important to have tools that can help them focus more time on business growth. Here are ten tools that are helping startup founders succeed in 2016.
Businesses have portals for their employees and clients, so why not board members? This board portal software helps organizations and businesses collaborate with their advisory boards and board of directors by providing one secure place for everyone to log in and schedule meetings, store meeting minutes, look up contact information, save and share files, and much more.
Sales are essential to a small business's growth, but most CRMs are pricey and complicated. This sales pipeline tool creates a straightforward, visual pipeline that makes it easy for teams to track their leads and follow ups, as well as forecast sales.
Documents can no longer be limited to internal use. Professionals need to be able to easily share files with outsource workers, clients, and business partners using a secure document-sharing platform. Google Docs is an ideal collaboration tool, since many of a business's partners will already have accounts.
Another collaboration tool that can help small businesses is Intercom, which empowers businesses with chat, marketing, feedback, and support. The platform has four separate modules that can be integrated with each other, allowing startup founders to choose the software environment that fits their needs.
Keeping social media profiles up-to-date can be time consuming. Edgar makes it easier to manage those updates, providing professionals an easy interface where they can save interesting content and direct it to post on multiple sites at once. What sets Edgar apart from other scheduling tools is that all posts are saved in a catalog, where they can be accessed and re-shared months or years down the line.
New businesses haven't had time to slowly test various approaches, whether they're creating a new website or launching changes to a product. Through the use of A/B testing, startups can try different approaches and learn from the results, helping them make better-informed decisions in the future.
Every new business owner can benefit from a mentor. SCORE matches members with mentors from its nationwide network, allowing them to get the advice they need as they build their businesses. The organization also regularly holds workshops and seminars to provide support and assistance in a group setting.
Soon after starting a business, an entrepreneur can easily find that emails become overwhelming. Email organization tools can cut the arduous task of email inbox organization down to mere minutes, easily ensuring that future emails go to the designated folder, even if that folder is the trash.
If a business's website has a high number of visitors, live chat can help provide better customer service. WordPress site owners can use a plugin to easily add chat to their sites. As a bonus, the software also tracks website visitors to let a business know how customers are interacting with their sites.
Startups often operate off of cell phones in the early days and switchboard apps can help. With Dialpad, calls can be routed to employees' mobile devices, letting them accept calls while they're away from the office. For businesses that combine landlines and smartphones, Dialpad can be set to ring all devices at once.
Startup founders often have little time to waste. With the right tools in place, entrepreneurs can be more productive without spending a fortune, letting them focus on making money rather than attending to administrative tasks.