7 smart tools for startups and small businesses
Starting up? Working with a limited budget? Sometimes, all you need are the right tools to go from zero to hero. I’m talking about tech tools that need little-to-no investment and offer maximum returns. For instance, tools for project collaboration or team management apps.
And just coz I’m feeling kind, here’s a list of some amazing tech tools to scale up your small business or startup. All researched and neatly typed.
No designer? No problem.
Visual brand marketing rules the roost and design is no more a luxury. It’s an essential tool for new age startups, and no one does a better job at conjuring up a perfect social media image or a PowerPoint presentation than Canva.
Canva, which describes itself as an “Amazingly Simple Graphic Design Software”, lets you create both print and web designs easily, via just a simple drag-and-drop interface. It has made good design possible without designers, for hustlers who won’t settle for an ordinary collateral. So, you can try Canva to make custom design posters for your brand’s social media marketing, without burning a hole in your pocket. Did we say it’s free?
Go make your own masterpiece.
2. Appy Pie
Everyone can make an app.
Appy Pie, which runs on a simple 'choose, design and build’ model, lets anyone create an app for their product.
It offers great value for small businesses looking to create professional-looking apps — without the hefty developer price tag. You can start with making simple project collaboration apps for your team like Reminders, To-dos and Notes.
You can use the free app with ads (not too bad a bargain) or a monthly paid subscription. Appy Pie’s pricing is based on which device(s) you wish to create an app for, and whether you require a white label (branded) app. And the best part? You won’t have to break your head to understand it.
The team communication tool your startup needs.
One way to make sure you scale up your business right is by deploying the best productivity apps that help you streamline your activities. From getting your entire team across the globe together for a virtual huddle, to taking opinion polls from your teammates, or plugging in the Twitter app on its open platform, Flock can take care of everything.
With Flock by your side, there’s no need to come to work everyday to get work done. Packed with powerful project collaboration apps like actionable To-dos, Polls, and Code Snippet sharing, Flock is the ideal team communication tool for fast moving teams.
Apart from these native project collaboration apps. Flock also takes all your most used apps like Twitter, Github, and Google Drive, and allows you to integrate them in one place. And guess what? It’s free to use for as many users for as long you want.
Email marketing — It will always be a thing.
It’s 2017 and what we’ve realised is that emails are not going anywhere. And if you’re planning to engage a broad user base, email marketing is the king of the marketing kingdom. In 2016, marketers earned a 44% ROI on every $1 spent.
Your business is going to need email marketing. Enter, Sendy.
Sendy is a self-hosted email marketing application that is backed up by Amazon’s Simple Email Services (SES). You can use Sendy to carve out elegant looking campaign emails and receive a detailed report of your campaigns and profiled users.
And the best part? It’s super cost-effective. With Sendy, you can send 10,000 emails for $1! Say you have a list of 10,000 subscribers, and you send 4 emails to each of them in a month. With Sendy, you will need to pay only $4 each month — as opposed to $150 with MailChimp! See the difference?
There’s a new chef in town.
A business running on a small scale has more technicalities to address than one would imagine — and everything is important. What if some of the important tasks could be left to the machine and you and your team could then focus on growth avenues for your business?
IFTTT, which stands for ‘If This, Then That’, makes this possible.
It’s a free online service that allows you to create easy and automated processes to deal with a variety of online situations. Broken down, it’s creating a series of cause-and-effect ‘recipes’ to help solve a bigger problem. From getting email each time anyone mentions your favourite topic on Twitter to publishing pictures on Instagram or automatically setting up a reminder message for your team, IIFTT is the dream tool for startups and SMEs.
Don’t know where to start? Begin exploring some amazing sample recipes on IFTTT’s homepage.
Looking to make a mark on the global map?
Meet Transifex — a localization tool that you can use for customizing your product content in various languages. Transifex can help with strings, video subtitles, landing pages, etc. It’s a wonder tool for fast developing companies working with or without global teams. When it comes to translation, it’s safe to trust the best ones.
In other words, Transfix fixes for your business what distance tries to ruin. It’s a godsend for businesses that need to speak with their target groups in a language that they’re most comfortable with. Transfix has paid plans but nothing that wouldn’t help accelerate your company’s operations.
Freelancers — employees of the future.
Working with freelancers has worked surprisingly well for many organizations, including startups and SMEs. According to this Randstad report, over the next 12 months, about one-third of companies are likely to hire temporary, contract, or freelance workers who will account for a significant percentage of the total global workforce.
So, if you’re up to saving some bucks from the company’s digital marketing budget, we’ll tell you why Upwork is such a great idea.
a) Upwork is free to join, post, and hire from.
b) Its database of candidates is unparalleled.
c) It fits a diverse range of budgets, with hourly and fixed price contracts on offer.
On Upwork, you can review the portfolios of qualified freelancers, look for the best ones in town…or anywhere in the world.
If you use any of these apps at your workplace, or some other new ones, share with me and the world.