The right digital tools can save time and money for even the busiest tech founder. In this article, we review 6 critical types of tools and explain how they can help streamline a company's activities.
Launching a new startup isn’t easy. As a tech founder, you become a jack of all trades to perform all your business processes.
During the early days of your startup, one of the crucial decisions to make is to search for the right web and mobile tools to automate your business operations.
Here we have compiled a list of essential web and mobile tools, with examples, for various business processes that can help founders optimize, automate, and improve their operations.
Many of these tools are budget-friendly and spending on the right tool can prevent hassle in the future.
These powerful digital tools will not only enhance the productivity of your team but also enable the long-term growth of your business.
The Types of Tools Every Founder Needs
- Accounting Tools
- Analytics Tools
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
- Project Management Tools
- Communication and Collaboration Tools
- Digital Storage Tools
Accounting Tools Track Finances
Businesses need accounting tools to streamline and centralize their finances. Digital budgeting tools allow teams to see revenue and costs all in one platform.
Two popular business accounting tools are:
- Bright Books
Businesses use these tools to keep up with payments and expenses, as well as send custom invoices.
To make your bookkeeping and payment schedules less frustrating and painful, use QuickBooks to manage your expenses.
QuickBooks allows you to make and send custom invoices, track income, and expenses, and can easily sync with your bank account for hassle-free cash flow management.
Brightbook is a free online accounting tool that is quite handy for those founders who have no prior bookkeeping experience.
It performs all basic functions of any good accounting tool like making invoices, maintaining payment logs, and tracking receivables.
Analytics Tools Measure Success
Analytics tools help businesses measure the performance of their websites and marketing campaigns. With analytics, businesses can evaluate the results of their efforts over time and make decisions about strategy.
To view their analytics, tech founders can use:
- Google Analytics
These tools are user-friendly and enable businesses to track their online success in detail.
Google Analytics is one of the must-have tools to track your website performance and traffic. It’s a free tool from Google that helps track your website visitors’ demographics and behaviors, which you can use to make your email marketing and inbound campaigns more meaningful.
In the image below, you can see the different fields that Google Analytics tracks. The highlighted field, named “Acquisition,” shows how website visitors arrived at the website.
Google Analytics uses different charts to display important data about website traffic. This helps business owners easily understand the information.
GoSquared is a website analytics tool that provides real-time analysis of your e-commerce website traffic. This tool provides data that can help you to acquire new customers and retain the existing ones.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools Manage Contacts
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools play an important role in many businesses. They are most often databases that house business contacts, such as clients, vendors, and employees.
Many CRMs now come with marketing automation capabilities that streamline marketing emails and save time for tech founders.
Some top CRM tools include:
- Insightly CRM
Salesforce is a leading CRM that enables individuals and companies to connect with their clients on a more sophisticated level. It allows you to monitor all business-related activities for as little as $25 a month.
Salesforce allows businesses to sort contacts and create lists for marketing purposes. It helps visualize contact types in charts and graphs.
Salesforce is consistently ranked as the top CRM software for businesses and has different products to suit tech founders’ needs.
Insightly is a CRM specifically designed for small businesses and start-ups. Its web app interface enables companies to nurture leads through a sales funnel and perform other sales functions in one comprehensive platform.
Project Management Tools Help Founders Stay Organized
Tech founders often manage several projects simultaneously, which requires them to be organized and manage their time effectively.
Fortunately, there are several free or inexpensive tools available online for tech founders to manage their projects effectively.
Some of these tools include:
Project management tools can save founders time and keep small teams organized and on track.
Trello provides a visual presentation of each project development stage of every project. It helps you keep track of all your project-related tasks.
On Trello, you can create different projects, add tasks and assign teams to it, and monitor the progress of your team on every task. This tool enables you to add the task’s due date and sends the notification to the team on the set due date.
Trello’s super simple interface makes it more popular than the other project management tools.
Jira is another agile project management tool designed specifically for tech teams.
Jira helps development teams to track and report project bugs, make customized workflows, and contains a release hub to make sure that the project is completed in all its aspects before reaching the client.
In Asana, you can create multiple workspaces (projects) and assign tasks to team members. Your teams can prioritize their task list, add comments and deadlines to the tasks, and share files where necessary.
Every team member can also create their own task list private for them to organize their day to day activities.
In a sample Asana project, shown below, the users can sort the project into stages and move task “cards” between stages as they are completed.
Asana helps teammates stay on track and meet deadlines with helpful reminders, an easy-to-use interface, and eye-catching visuals.
Collaboration Tools Connect Founders to Teams
With the rise of remote work and flexible schedules, founders need to be able to connect with their teams at any time.
Collaboration tools such as instant messenger platforms and video conferences allow for seamless connectivity even amongst remote teams.
The best collaboration tools include:
Slack is a communication platform between internal and external teams to collaborate with each other on their projects.
In Slack, you have the option of creating team channels or to send direct messages to the team members. In addition to that, you can send and receive files and images both in team channels and direct messaging.
Skype is a widely-used communication tool among professionals. Skye offers free video conferencing service.
Skype also offers instant messaging, text, and file-sharing options. For a minimal fee, you can also use Skype to call other people on their mobile phones directly if their Skype account isn’t available. Its mobile app also makes it possible to call and conduct business on-the-go.
Zoom is a virtual conference tool that provides video and audio chat online from anywhere around the globe.
With features such as live screen-sharing, this tool is useful for online training activities for employees and customers.
You can also use Zoom to deliver live webinars on your product/service offerings to your target audience/clients. It offers an iOS and Android app with which you can attend your conferences from virtually anywhere.
As the name suggests, this tool offers free online HD audio and video conferencing services. FreeConferenceCall also has a recording feature that helps you to record, share and playback your conference recordings.
Digital Storage Tools Secure Files
There are plenty of free and inexpensive tools for companies to host files online. Storing documents and files in a shared cloud makes it easy for employees to access and upload important information and projects.
The top two digital storage tools are:
- Google Drive
Using these tools will help a tech founder stay organized and keep records of vital company information.
Google Drive is a real-time online document building tool compatible with Microsoft Office. It’s a widely used tool because of its 15 GB of free storage space.
Google Drive lets users store, share, and edit documents on the cloud in the form of spreadsheets, presentations, photos, and audio files. With its file sync property, you can access the documents shared with you from anywhere.
Dropbox is another cloud storage tool that lets you save files on the cloud for free up to 5 megabytes.
It also offers a referral space bonus. For every referral, you get a 500 MB of free space. Dropbox lets you store files that will automatically be shared with all synced devices.
Tech Founders Should Invest in Digital Tools for Their Businesses
These are some of our favorite tools that we have used to streamline our business processes.
Every tool has its own benefits and tech founders need to keep their goals in mind and choose the best option for them.
Digital tools make it easier for tech founders to remain focused on big-picture priorities for their new company. Investing in accounting, time management, and collaboration tools sets a tone for a streamlined business.