The great thing about a recent survey of top start-up tools is that most of them are free. There’s no excuse then, not to use world class services in your start-up! We already use many of those tools at Prowess 2.0 and here’s our assessment:
Google analytics This enables you to analyse your website traffic. It’s one of the best analytics packages there is and integrates seamlessly with the google online advertising packages, Adwords and Adsense. It’s simple to set-up, just go the Google Analytics site and follow the step by step instructions. Then you will be able to see how many visitors you have, where they come from, how long they stay, your most popular content and much more. The data is presented in various graphical formats, over whichever timeframe you choose. Google analytics will enable you to understand and respond to the needs of your online customers.
Mailchimp A great email marketing tool. Gone are the days of fiddling around with html newsletters and manually updating the mailing list: mailchimp does it all for you. The free package is for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. There are a range of attractive template designs you can use, which you can easily adapt. Or you can send out plain text emails if you prefer. Mailchimp deals with opt-ins: you can easily embed a sign-up form on your website. It then automatically cleans and updates the list and provides you with detailed analytics for each mailing.
Dropbox If you work closely with partners in other locations, as we do, Dropbox enables you to share files and folders and avoid the muddle that quickly happens when you have several versions of files being emailed around. It’s very easy to set-up. You install Dropbox on your system and then when you open a new folder you invite others to share. You can have different partners for different folders. I know some people use it to share with themselves when they have to work on different systems. The shared folders are synchronised across all the linked systems. When you update a file, it’s automatically updated across all the systems too; so you’re always up-to-date and always using the latest version. Dropbox is free for up to 2 GB and then charges kick-in.
Gmail We use this, we love it and it’s continually improving. If you don’t already know, it’s the free email service from Google. you can use it either with a generic gmail address, or for a more professional image, with your own business website based email address. It offers 7 GB of storage (I’ve reached only 20% after 3 years) a strong community supported spam filter and great management functions, such as labels, stars and filters.
The original top start-up tools list was based on a survey of 550 New York start-ups. But most of the tools are used internationally. We can’t comment on the other 6 top tools as we don’t use them. Most don’t look free either. But if you’d like to check them out, they are:
- Quickbooks (Accounting)
- American Express (Company Credit Card)
- Salesforce.com (CRM)
- Evernote (Note-taking)
- Basecamp (Project Management)
- Amazon Web Service (Web Hosting)
Those labour saving technologies are to 21st Century business women, what the washing machine was to women 50 years ago: liberation to spend our time on more important things. Just remember, in business marketing is always more important then technology. So use the tools, but keep them in their place!