Ah, the adventure of starting a new business! I bet you’ve already imagined yourself sitting in a luxurious leather office chair, counting dollars and sipping margaritas… Okay, you’ve had your fun. Now it’s time to face the harsh reality: entrepreneurs experience way more anxiety than employees do and get stressed out constantly.
Nevertheless, it’s what we’ve signed up for—and there’s really never been a better time to start. The age of information has presented us with tech solutions that may become your safe ground to stand upon. From launching a website to hiring an outsourced workforce and tracking your team performance, you can find an easy-to-use, feature-rich and reasonably-priced apps that bring your new business to the next level. But be mindful of the tech that will help your business grow, and the tech that will ultimately wind up being just another toy in the toolbox.
With thousands of tools available, it can be hard to figure out which tools will best serve your business. We put together the seven business areas where technology can be especially beneficial. The best tools do more with less, making you and your business more efficient and versatile. Let’s dive in!
1. Build a following before you launch
Launch day for your startup is a huge, so build pre-launch buzz beforehand. You can use tools like BuzzSumo and Followerwonk to reach key influencers in your space and send your press release to as many bloggers and editors as possible. The more, the better.
Next, create a referral system to spread the word about your business with Maître. This effective tool provides users with the unique link they should share with their friends and followers for-profit. As a result, you gain the list of hungry prospects looking forward to your launch–no hassle!
If there’s a need to raise funds before the launch, join various networks designed to connect startup owners with funders, such as Angel.co or Gust. Moreover, participate in startup blogs and forums connecting with industry-related influencers. With the help of social media activities, you can reach people who could end up being your investors or partners.
2. Developer-free web design
Squarespace is an excellent choice for almost any startup website with their award-winning templates and a drag-and-drop site editor. This tool makes it super easy to design a custom site in a blink of the eye. It is so intuitive that it’s actually really hard to build a crappy website with Squarespace.
Squarespace is great for simple, straightforward sites, but if you require more robust features, consider WordPress. It’s a feature-rich, completely customizable platform that satisfies the needs of the most demanding business owners.
If you plan on selling products through your site, consider Shopify. You can have a crisp and clean store live in hours with all your products, ready to sell. Shopify also makes it easy to sell on other platforms including Facebook, Etsy, eBay, Pinterest, and Amazon in a few clicks.
3. Stay secured with technology
Your startup data must be secure and backed up. Your local network and each of your laptops should have a firewall and antivirus software. But let’s face it, you might not have sufficient expertise to protect your sensitive data from online attacks properly. If you can swing it, hire a security consultant—especially if you are going to process customers’ personal information.
Next, make sure that all of your data is backed up and you have a recovery strategy if all your computers blow up, succumb to floods, or get abducted by aliens. The better you prepare for all these incidents, the better you’ll sleep at night.
4. Organize your money
One of the most challenging areas of a new business is managing finances. Organizing your business expenses and developing financial strategy has never been easier with the apps like Mint.com, iBank, and MoneyDance. Online invoicing services like Due.com eliminate the costs of chasing down money from clients for businesses of all sizes.
5. Legitimize it!
Establishing your business as legally sound can be a huge headache, but it doesn’t have to be. Tools like LegalZoom manage all the necessary paperwork and send you the business tax ID as soon as your state approves it. If you start your business in another country, find a LegalZoom alternative suitable for your region.
You may encounter additional legal concerns or questions along the way. Upcounsel provides legal advice on employment contracts, partnership agreements and everything in between. Just post your legal question, choose who you want to work with, and get on a call to discuss your issue. This is by far the best and easiest way to get legal advice in a pinch.
Apart from helping you navigate legal issues, you may have to create legally-binding proposals and contracts. Better Proposals lets you create a library of common templates to get the needed documents ready on the double.
6. Outsource everything
I bet there are certain tasks you don’t want to handle. And it makes good sense. By outsourcing the back-office tasks, you have more time to focus on bigger challenges and generating income.
Upwork and JobRack can help you hire and manage freelancers from all around the world, with a choice to pay them hourly or per project. Posting a project is free and takes only a few minutes. Conveniently, you aren’t required to hire any of the applicants if you’re unable to find a good fit.
Fiverr, another freelance services marketplace, gets most things done for as little as $5. The tool is great for no-brainer, quick tasks, done dirt cheap.
Looking for the best developers and designers in the world? Toptal is a community of IT experts limited to the top 3% of freelancers, so you know you’re working with the best in the game. As a result, you’ll pay more than you would on Upwork, but the work quality and customer experience will make up for your additional expenses.
7. Foster team collaboration and productivity
You may start running a new business as a solopreneur, but one day you’ll probably need a few Robins or a dozen Jarvises. Here are a number of tech solutions to help you put a dream team together and keep them synced:
- Use time tracking software to see where you are spending your time so you can become more productive. Toggl, Harvest, and TimeCamp are popular options in the startup world.
- Conduct teleconference calls to make sure team members in different locations are on the same page with the tools like Google Hangouts or GoToMeeting.
- Communicate quickly with your team through instant messaging tools like Slack, Chanty team chat, Hangouts Chat, etc.
- Catch those emails that tend to slip through the cracks. Manage multiple accounts with Checker Plus and Mailbird, clean up the inbox setting up Unroll.me or optimize sales process adopting HubSpot Sales, Docsify and Sordt.
- Automate your shift workers’ scheduling with When I Work.
- Remember all your passwords with LastPass, so you can get rid of that Word document where you’ve been storing them for years.
It takes blood, sweat, and a few tears to be a business owner. Luckily, technology can help you work more efficiently, from solving your legal issues and putting money in order, to getting a team together.
Did we miss anything? Are there any tech solutions you have tested while starting your business?