9 Must-Have Tools for Startup Success in 2019
Life as the founder of an early-stage startup can be exhilarating, but it can also be grueling. It’s important to be armed with a passion for your product and the latest tools to make your journey successful.
The ocean of business tools seems endless, and it’s impossible to test every tool on the market. Nonetheless, there are a few resources that rise to the very top of the must-have list. The best tools for early-stage startups are those that save time, reduce costs, help market new products and guard you against legal and cybersecurity trouble.
With these criteria in mind, here are nine of the most useful tools for startup success in 2019.
1. Ensure Your Code is Safe
Many software engineering teams, particularly at startups, rely heavily on open source as building blocks for their products so they can focus their resources on the technology which sets them apart. Why do all that redundant work, when it’s already been done? However, the due diligence necessary to make sure the company isn’t compromising on their security or risking compliance issues with open source code is a job on its own and requires constant management and updates.
WhiteSource is a SaaS security and license compliance management platform specializing in open-source code. It determines the best open-source components to suit your needs as you search online; it also detects all open-source components in your code, sending you automatic alerts when it discovers policy problems, security risks and software bugs. WhiteSource can be used with all programming languages, and it plugs into all popular build tools.
2. Earn Investor Confidence with Documentation
First impressions count a lot when investors evaluate your startup. It’s crucial to be prepared for the rigorous due diligence process. All your documentation needs to be in order, including development plans, intellectual-property documents, financial statements go-to-market strategy decks and tax documents. The best way to store and share all your corporate documents is to set up a cloud-based virtual data room (VDR) for each potential investor. VDRs from ContractZen are easy to use, and you can set them up with just a few clicks. They also provide an intuitive user interface that takes very little time to learn.
ContractZen uses metadata technology that eliminates the time-suck of opening folders within folders to find a document. Instead, simply type what you need in the search field, and ContractZen finds the document no matter where it’s located in the VDR. ContractZen also integrates with leading e-signature services, email clients and calendar apps.
3. Earn Customer Confidence with Product Demos
ClickMeeting is a webinar platform that can help you build strategic partnerships for your startup without leaving your office. Start by creating branded invitations for your online demo or sales presentation. Then, import leads from your email list directly into ClickMeeting and send your invitations directly from the platform.
When leads have accepted your invites, use ClickMeeting for virtual face-to-face conversations or live product demo webinars. Share product literature, explain selling points with whiteboard technology, and use screen sharing to show off virtual deployments that are optimized to be aligned with the specific use cases that your enterprise sales prospects might benefit from most when using your product.
4. Make Sense of Data with Embedded Visualizations
Nowadays, pretty much every software product can benefit from some type of analytics functionality. Whether you’re building a game, a medical device, a fintech tool a marketing platform or anything else, you’re likely collecting plenty of data relating to how your users interface with it. But baking analytics into the user experience is easier said than done. These capabilities are time-consuming and expensive to build and maintain. Nonetheless, app users expect to be able to comprehend data quickly and easily — no matter how complex the data is.
To create your app on time and within budget, don’t build such data-visualization functionality. Embed it. Sisense is a BI platform that creates data visualization solutions for you. All you have to do is embed the pre-built capabilities directly into your product. Since you can customize the embedded elements to match your brand’s look and feel, your customers will never know it wasn’t built in-house. And updates will never be a hassle, because Sisense is on the case.
5. Keep Your Ears Open with Social Monitoring
As a young startup, understanding the conversations about your company and industry is vital to successfully managing your brand and connecting to your audience. In today’s digital business landscape, this calls for vigilant monitoring of the different channels people use to communicate and share their views publicly.
SentiOne, a social listening platform, lets you tap in directly to what the world is saying about you — and your competitors — on the most important websites and social media. This includes scanning thousands of news sites, blogs, forums and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. More importantly, SentiOne helps you track your brand’s reach and sentiment by word-of-mouth and buzz marketing. With a data-driven approach that lets you fine-tune your message as you go, you’re able to gain a window into your audience’s minds.
6. Make Your Website Sell More
Your website is intuitive to you, but do your visitors find it easy to use? Depending on the complexity of your site, you could be losing business every day simply because your visitors abandon your site when they’re not sure where to navigate next.
WalkMe makes your website smooth and easy to navigate even for first-time visitors. It adds overlays — or layers of navigation cues — to your existing website. Where your website visitors were once stumped about what to do or where to go next, your site will now provide intuitive visual elements to guide them in the right direction. The results of simplified web navigation are a reduction in bounce rates and a boost in conversions.
7. Manage Your Employees on Auto-Pilot
As a founder, the last thing you have time for is getting bogged down in HR-related details like managing employees. Deputy can manage your team through a robust array of automated features like employee scheduling, time and attendance management, PTO, payroll, communication and tasking.
Once you feed the system with information on each of your team members’ skill sets, it gets far easier to ensure that you’ve got enough hands on deck at any given moment. Did your data lake specialist just call in sick? With a few taps, you can identify the next-best available contributor and ask him or her to come in extra early, for example. Employees will see the value in Deputy’s mobile app, too, allowing them to punch in and out of shifts with simple geo-tracking.
8. Make Your Sprints More Productive
Every day, there are countless tiny details and circumstances that threaten to distract you from your goals. Only the most organized will survive. For a free tool, Trello is unbeatable at organizing your team’s product development efforts — all the bits and pieces of product development can be centralized in one location for your entire team to access. This can include code components, product specs, marketing plans, and anything else that’s needed as your team builds towards the next roll out.
Project management is also made easier. Assign tasks to the right people, and receive status updates and email alerts when milestones have been achieved. You can also use Trello to create an easy-to-use CRM that manages your leads’ contact info and keeps detailed notes about your interactions with them.
9. Grow and Optimize Social Engagement
How do you help your relatively unknown product become a household name? Marketing, and lots of it. Falcon is a social media marketing platform made for teams that are after rapid growth.
Falcon’s collaborative content calendar enables your team to schedule, edit and publish all your social-media content from one place. You also get a centralized location to store your entire content library to make everything easy to manage. Other features include a single social inbox to receive customer-engagement notifications from all your networks, as well as analytics capabilities and social listening tools for deeper audience insights.
Set Yourself Up for Startup Success
It’s true that no tool or app can “make” a startup successful. Nonetheless, if your business idea is marketable and you have the passion to achieve your dream, the apps you choose can help you accomplish goals faster. If you’re striving for a fruitful 2019, consider testing the above tools with your team. Good luck!