10 Essential tools I utilize in my startup
So you’re ready to start a company… You have your next big idea, and now your ready to make it a reality. Below is a list of tools I utilize daily which has helped me and my team build and maintain “Health As We Age”.
- Google Apps for Business— So you have a name for your business. And you now are ready to start scheduling meetings, communicating with colleagues, clients, and more. But your email@example.com isn’t very professional. Google Apps not only will help you look professional in your emails. It saves you from shelling out cash for expensive word processing, number crunching, presentation making software. Thanks to this glorious software, I save thousands of dollars on office space. We are 100% a virtual office and I’m able to communicate with my staff through video conferencing and text. Need to share your Photoshop.psd file? No problem! 5 users get 1024 GB of space to share anything between one another. I could rave on and on about Google Apps for Business, but I wont. Do yourself a favor and start your free trial today. After your free month of service it’s only $5 a month!
- Fluid UI — So you have a vision for your Website, or your new Mobile App, but you have virtually no skills what-so-ever in mobile development. How do you share your vision with investors, developers, partners, co-workers? Fluid UI allows you to turn your vision into a virtual demo of your product. You now can hand over your wireframe to a developer to make it come to life. Or maybe you want to share your beginning stages with an investor to jump start the project. Fluid UI starting at $12 a month is a great tool for those who need a jump start in there million dollar idea!
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)— Back in the mid-2000's I was apart of a startup that had the privilege of building our very own server farm. It was a 30x30 room with security access, expensive air condition units, and server racks which stored our members sensitive health records. For most startup companies, we don’t have 100k’s to drop on server space. So that’s why we rely on AWS. AWS is a unique solution that has a “Pay as you go” type service where you are only charged for what you use. Unlike Dropbox, or iCloud type services were you buy a bulk of space and use only 30% of the 5GB. Just like a utility bill, AWS only charges you for what you are using. So if you are having high traffic, or low traffic, you are always in budget.
- Wordpress/host/domain — What’s a company without a website? That’s like drinking a cola with a fork… Unheard of; right?! Knowing that a website is almost necessary to a business, there are a multitude of options. I’m not going to go through every option, but what I’ve found that works best is utilizing a Wordpress hosted site. Need help finding that new sexy look? Start here!
- MailChimp — Communicating with your population is key to happy customers. And consistent communication is even better. MailChimp is a must for anyone. And the cost is potentially free for startups! If you’re sending emails to under 2,000 individuals your services are free! MailChimp allows me to send updates of what features we will soon be releasing. It allows us to communicate to our members coupons or promo codes that we have for holidays. One of my favorite features of mailchimp, is know how my population is reacting to my email. MailChimp allows you to figure out who’s clicking, reading your emails which helps you continue to write better emails!
- Zendesk — Customer Service is a tricky beast to handle. It takes a special someone to tackle a complaint that unplugged computer is the reason you can not sign in. Zendesk is my choice is Customer Service Management. Zendesk allows to me to communicate with my members on Social Media, Phone, Email, Text, Forums and more. It helps me understand if I have a reoccurring issue, along with how my customer support team is handling each issue. Having a virtual office, Zendesk also allows me to setup a 1.800 number that rings all my Support Agent’s laptops and cell phones. Being a startup Zendesk is at a super affordable price of $1 a month!
- Bit.ly — Bitly is not just a must have for startups, it’s a must have in general. Simply put; Bitly allows you to understand how effective you are on the internet. For example, every time someone clicks on a link on healthasweage.com, bitly stores that anonymous information on a dashboard. Each day I take a look to figure out how effective is my website? Where are people clicking, what are people not clicking on? What time of day are people clicking on links. Is anyone sharing the link? All these questions can be answered with the free tool, Bitly. What’s my favorite feature of Bit.ly? Do you have a cool domain like http://spring.er or http://Cool.io? turn these easy to remember unique links into bitly analytics!
- Snip.ly — Snip.ly is like bitly on steroids. Sniply collects the same data as Bitly but allows you to create a “Call to Action”. Want to see Sniply in action? Click here to see the magic of snip.ly.
Start using Snip.ly today.
- Google Analytics — Google Analytics has become the staple in understanding your population. Like Bit.ly and Snip.ly, Google Analytics lets you understand how effective your click rates are. But Google Analytics goes a little deeper. With this great tool I’m able to understand if a users leave my website at checkout, or how effective my introduction video is. Google Analytics anonymously monitors your website and mobile app, and reports back to you how effective of a product you have. Want to get started in utilizing the tools Google Analytics has? Start here
- Notebook — This is my most prized possession. My notebook is my brain all written out. It’s a diary, journal, doodler, idea book. Everything I ever think goes into this notebook. It’s flimsy, covered in coffee stains, and if I lose it, I’d be heart broken. Every idea starts in the notebook. The pros and cons, the naming ideas, the phone number of someone who I need to reach out to. Why a note book? Because the battery doesn't die, I don’t need a backspace for my fat fingers, I can use it during take off and landings, and it feels more personal.
Did I miss a tool that you prefer? Have another unique application that helps you out in your life of entrepreneurship? Share it in the comments below!