Founding a startup today is a lot more doable than it has been over the past decade. It still isn't cheap, though, especially if you want to build your company to compete. Sure, you can have a business website up and running with less than $100; however, when your competition is using paid tools, services, and platforms that push their businesses ahead of yours, it can be daunting to navigate the competitive landscape.
Thankfully, you don't have to commit the same amount of investment in those tools to remain competitive. For boostrapped startups, here are some of the tools you should use to gain traction:
Time-Tracking Tool: Timely
First and foremost, you should invest in making sure your team is productive. You can use a time-tracking tool like Timely to create schedules for each of your employees. You can break down their workload by specifying one task at a time and manage everyone’s workweek all in one place.
One key feature of Timely is that you can modify and track the billable hours put into every task. This makes sure everyone is time-efficient and is doing their part to move the company forward. Furthermore, the service comes with a flexible pricing plan – perfect for bootstrapped startups.
Online Project Management Tool: Teamwork
Many startups choose to have a virtual office to save costs and give employees more control over their time. However, you need a project management tool that keeps everyone on the same page. Teamwork is a comprehensive project management platform that can help you specify tasks, set deadlines, and assign the right people. Its main features include as statuses, milestones, sub-tasks, and attachments.
With Teamwork’s project management dashboard, your team can stay ahead of every task and work collaboratively through file-sharing. You can also take advantage of Teamwork Chat for free to facilitate live communication between every team member.
It is worth noting that Teamwork allows you to access your projects on all devices – from tablets to smartphones. It also comes with a Chrome extension to allow you to access basic dashboard functions such as messages, timers, and tasks as you conduct research.
Virtual Office: W1 Office (UK) or Opus Virtual Offices (US)
For home-based startups, having a physical business address and a phone number are essential for accommodating client enquiries and other business leads. Of course, you should avoid using your home address or your landline. Renting an actual office space will also be very costly and can hinder your company’s growth prematurely. Instead, you should opt for a virtual office service such as W1 Office (UK) and Opus Virtual Office (US).
A virtual office handles all business communications – from live phone reception to fax. In addition to a corporate mailing address, you can also avail a physical meeting room to accommodate clients and host company meetings. This is why you need to opt for virtual office services with the largest coverage in your location.
Marketing Automation Software: Hubspot
One of the biggest challenges startups have is developing effective lead generation channels to bring in potential customers. Without prioritizing this, a new company’s budget will be swallowed by the costs of maintaining the business. Fortunately, you no longer have to guess the correct formula for successful online marketing.
With automation tools like Hubspot’s Marketing Automation Software, everything you need to do to generate more leads, attract new clients, and close more sales will be integrated all in one place. Hubspot's platform focuses on inbound marketing strategies – including (but not limited) to social media, blogging, and SEO. Using the email automation platform, you can execute processes (newsletters, follow-ups, and others) that will nurture your leads as they move down the sales funnel.
Web Analytics: KISSmetrics
As a startup, you need to make the most out of your marketing dollars by continually reviewing and optimizing your campaigns. Remember that you can keep increasing your traffic by optimizing your lead acquisition channels. However, without studying your target audience and how they interact with your material, it will be difficult to secure more conversions and be rewarded for your hard work.
With KISSmetrics, all of the right analytics that can help you optimize for conversions will be right at your fingertips. It all starts by reviewing your sales funnel and building profiles on your best kind of leads. You need to know where they are coming from, how they interact with your site, and what they want from your brand. Remember that getting to know what makes your consumers happy is the key to making better business decisions.
Some of the key features of KISSmetrics include funnel reports, cohort reports, and A/B test to speed up the optimization process. You can also use engagement tools such as popups that appear when your visitor goes idle or right after the page loads.