12 Productivity & Marketing Tools Every Startup Should be Using

You open your email for the first time in the day and that uneasy, yet familiar, cloud of overwhelm starts to creep over you. The dreaded list of tasks and to-dos just grew substantially. How will you ever make it to Inbox Zero?

Chances are good that you won’t hit inbox zero very often, but there are ways to better manage the never-ending onslaught of new tasks you face every day.

New Tech to the rescue!

Productivity and marketing are two areas I’ve struggled with forever — and if you run a business, I’m guessing you may struggling with those things too. Let’s face it — there’s just not enough time to get it ALL done. Though we all have the same number of hours in the day as Beyoncé, most of us don’t have a team of managers and assistants to juggle all the details like Bey does.

What we do have is some beautiful technology to help us to prioritize our tasks, jumpstart our creativity and connect us to others who can help! Drumroll…

Here are a dozen of my favorite low-to-no-cost tools (in no particular order) that I’ve found helpful, straightforward and exceptionally useful. I hope some of these tools can help you too:

1. Priority Matrix for work task management — I love how they use the simple visual Eisenhower method to prioritize. You may also know this method from the Stephen Covey 7 Habits of Highly Successful People best seller.

2. Trello for work task management — This is another great visual tool for teams to collaborate, communicate, and share information securely. Our web development and design partners invited me to this tool when they built our website and we still use it daily with them and with our internal team. It’s a fantastic way to see where every aspect of a project is at and easily work together on updates and changes.

3. Liquid Planner* for project management for technology teams — What’s better than a tool that you use to manage projects? A tool with predictive planning software for your company organization and scheduling. Collaboration and execution were never so smooth.

4. Slack for team communication — With a tag line of “Be Less Busy”, what’s not to love? Their public channels, private channels and direct messages combine to eliminate the need for Google chat, most internal company emails, and to some degree Google Hangouts and Skype. We use Slack for the New Tech community and I also use it for mastermind groups I participate in. It’s a very effective way to create, track and research conversations.

5. TinyHR* for happier employees — What’s the point of having tools that help productivity if your team members aren’t loving their jobs? Yes, there’s an app to help with that. You can collect anonymous feedback from employees and clients that improve your business. Even better, it’s fun so they feel heard and you deliver better experiences for them to be happier. Everybody wins!

6. Expensify for creating your expense reports — Take photos of your receipts, then throw them away. The app will automatically scan the image and fill out the details (e.g., amount, company name, etc.), generate your expense report in seconds, and keep you organized.

7. Simply Measured* for social media marketing reports — Do you use Google analytics to optimize your website? Then you’ll love Simply Measured to optimize your social marketing.

8. Moz* for search and content marketing — Do you use Google analytics to optimize your website? Then you’ll love Moz to optimize your search marketing, local search marketing, content marketing and Twitter analytics.

9. Edgar for social media marketing — Think Hootsuite + Buffer + repurposing and reusing relevant content over and over and over. Tell Edgar what types of updates to share at which times after you tag them by category.

10. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator for marketing content generation — Have you ever had trouble thinking of interesting topics for blog posts or articles? Go to this site, plug in a few keywords, hit a button and get lists of ideas of what to write about. (How do you think I came up today’s topic?)

11. Canva for design & images — For some design work you definitely need to pony up the cash for a quality designer. But for some simple work you’ll love Canva. By dragging and dropping images on their professional layouts you can create some simple yet fantastic cards, flyers, posters, banners, resumes, infographics, social graphics and more.

12. PicMonkey* for images — Need to crop or touch up a photo, create a design or make a collage? Then look no further and trust the monkey.

* Seattle company — BONUS!

Let us know how you like the tools here and share your favs with us so we can try them out.