Running your own startup is no walk in the park. Wearing many hats takes moxie and it is often hard to juggle all the tasks that need doing and we need the best startup tech tools to do it.
While there are many helpful apps and tools out here, some of them do more harm than help. They can keep you lost in user process and admin, taking away from that time that they should be saving you. Trying and testing these processes sometimes just isn’t worth the effort, when you have a million other things on your plate.
As an engineer of digital transactions, juggling between clients and my own brand has forced me to identify the difference between the apps that help and those that don’t. After half a decade of trying and testing, here are 10 of the tools that I have selected for this month’s roundup:
With Instagram being the most frequented social media platform, next to Facebook, it has become an imperative marketing tool for any modern business. Using the same basic guidelines as Facebook, creatives and savvy users can easily crack the code with some simple training.
While the theory behind using Instagram effectively may be there, all good and well, the one thing that the Instagram app has not released is a scheduling option. This feature is a short click away on Facebook, making posting at peak traffic times simple and one of the most useful startup tech tools for social media experts. This is what makes Autopublish for Instagram a must-have.
Instead of waiting eagerly for 9pm (my own brands peak performance time), I can simply schedule my Instagram posts for the entire week. This means that I can keep my social media’s peak performance without breaking routine or sacrificing additional hours of my personal life.
In our age of instant gratification, users are looking for answers to their immediate questions. If they can’t find them on your website, the Messenger Customer Chat plugin allows them to ask the questions they need, without moving on to one of your competitors.
Any visitor on your site that has a Facebook account can now pop you a message that will be delivered straight to your smart phone. This allows you to answer questions in real-time, offering you a higher conversion rate of lead generation.
A great function for this plugin is using it to create a self-hosted webinar room. With most webinar room rates starting at a $39 subscription rates, many startups are hindered in their initial hosting process. Using the Messenger Customer Chat plugin, I added a chat function to a webinar page on my WordPress website. This can also be done on a costom-coded or standard HTML site. I then used Youtube’s free live stream option and, “Voilà!”. I built myself my own webinar room and saved myself a lot of money!
I am fortunate to be a decent designer, with years of experience and all the right software to set myself up with a professional logo. Not everyone has that luxury. Often startups don’t have the budget to pay a professional for this ans settle for a make-shift logo that can be damaging to their brand. When I am unable to help clients on such a tight budget, I recommend Launchaco.
“You get what you pay for” is a cliché because it is true. A good logo is going to cost you good money. As a startup, good money is not always easy to come by. Just because you don’t have the budget right now, it doesn’t mean that your brand image should suffer.
Launchaco offers a good temporary alternative to spending money that you don’t have. With just a few clicks to indicate your brand preferences, you can have a professional starter-logo within minutes.
Using your new starter-logo, you can portray your brand in a professional manner, from the get-go. Then, when you do have the budget, you can hire a professional to design you something that will blow your clients hair back.
Being a qualified web designer, I know my way around WordPress like the back of my hand. The problem was that my clients don’t know their way around WordPress. So, I either let them stumble around their own site, breaking things that I would inevitably need to fix, or I would accept their weekly (or occasionally daily) requests to adjust the smallest tasks. Either way, I was spending additional time on the client and breaking my routine to help them with their “urgent” requests. Does this sound familiar?
Beaver Builder, for WordPress, has been the most valuable discovery of my life! This handy plugin allows admins that are new to WordPress “newbies” are no longer having to login and fiddle with page settings or design, doing damage to the site itself. The easy drag and drop platform allows even the most technically challenged users to navigate and seamlessly update their own website content.
Have you ever wondered how companies like Youtube, Airbnb and other household names got their kick in the startup industry?
As a startup, getting the funding you need is not always as easy as a click of your fingers. Thanks to Startup Pitch Decks, it can be as easy as a few clicks of your mouse, to learn from the pros. Comparing your own project to those of others, you can use Startup Pitch Decks to compile your very own pitch that will have investors knocking on your door in no time!
I have no shame in admitting that I have hit that “forgot password” button, on a number of occasions. When you think of all the time that you have wasted typing in all those passwords that “may be the one”, only to go through the process of emailing yourself the reset link… Let’s face it, it could add up to hours. Hours that you could have spent completing more financially valuable tasks.
I was overjoyed when I discovered 1Password. As a creative, I will openly admit that my mind is often in several different places at once. Remembering the millions of different passwords I have for countless different platforms is not one of those places.
1Password is exactly that: having to remember just one password. It integrates with your browser, remembering each unique password for all your platforms. When it’s time to log in, you simply open your password vault and your secure information is there for you to access.
Basically, 1Password is like a bank vault. Only, instead of money, you’re storing passwords and information. All you need is your one secret pin to get in. Now, you will never have to go through that gruelling “forgot password” process again.
If you are in the business of any type of design, this online application is going to change your life!
Personally, I love creating mockups of designs that I have created for clients. It is great to be able to visualise what the final product will look like. Unfortunately, this does take additional hours that clients are often not prepaired for.
While not yet released, Artboard Studio is open for early access. It is about to save designers, all over the world, hours of painful back and forth, trying to explain to clients what will be happening with their designs. I have never been so excited.
With Artboard Studio, anyone with the slightest glimmer of design skills will now be able to apply designs to the mockups that they were created for. From magazine covers to beauty product labels, your clients will now be able to visualise what their new designs will look like on their products.
For those that aren’t designers, Artboard Studio will enable you to create beautiful branded posts, displaying your your branding on everything from pot plants to t-shirts. It’s a win-win for everyone!
As mentioned before, like most creatives, my mind is generally in a million places at once. Google Tasks has become my saving grace. It is the equivalent of having a secretary, without having to pay the additional salary.
If you have been smart enough to integrate your inbox with a Google account, Google Tasks allows you to schedule meetings as they are confirmed via email. You can also curate daily to-do lists, schedule events on your Google Calendar and even set reminders for phone calls and follow ups
The best part is, all of this can be done from your mobile phone.
While Google Tasks is great on a personal management level, team projects may require a slightly broader management to that of what Google can offer. Let’s face it, good communication is essential to a successful team project, so a good management platform can make the world of difference.
Asana allows you to create a project board that is visible to your entire team. It’s completely free (until you hit 15 members) and allows you to share tasks with just a simple click. It allows you to set due dates, discuss progress and openly discuss tasks, even when your team members are on the other sire of the globe.
What I absolutely love about this app is that you can log on from anywhere. By phone, laptop or desktop. All you need is your email address and password. Better still is that you don’t have to log on to check for updates. Asana conveniently emails you with any actions made on your allocated tasks.
I like to use Asana for ongoing projects with web and graphic design clients. Its easy, open discussion board makes getting feedback from multiple decision makers faster. It also insures that there is no “broken-down-telephone” and all parties are on the same page. All in all, it just makes life easier.
The first thing that I do with any new web client is ask them to send me some examples of websites that they like the look of. This way, I can build them something using the generalised guidelines of what tickles their fancy. Most of the time, these are standard, everyday, nothing-so-special-about-this websites. Once in a blue moon, a masterpiece pops up – a website like nothing I have ever seen before – and I HAVE to know how it works!
This is how we “web people” grow. We find other awesome web things and then code something similar. All too often (web people secret), we will literally copy the code and try to replicate it. What gets really frustrating is when we can’t find that code…
What WhatRuns does, is it deconstructs any website to show you what powers it. From paid web apps to hosting companies and fonts to WordPress themes. You want that information, you got it!
Bonus points: It comes in the form of a Chrome extension, so all of this information is just one click away at any given time.
If any of these suggested apps and tools have helped you, we would love to hear about it! Send us your feedback and let us know what you think of this months selection of tech tools for startups, creatives and savvy users.