When you’re a startup, you have thousands of decisions to make. What tools do you absolutely need? Is cloud storage really best? How do you handle all of that paperwork?
For starters, yes, cloud storage is critical for a startup. It saves you space and money, provides the best document security and lets your employees work anywhere, any time.
Dropbox and Google Drive are both fantastic cloud storage options. Both are widely used in every industry, so there’s a good chance your employees and clients are already familiar with them. However, some startups still need to keep hard copy documents, though this is getting rarer.
If you’re not required to have hard copies (i.e. medical files, signed documents), aim for a totally green and paperless office.
Here are a few more must-haves for startups that will make your venture a little easier:
Google is your startup’s best friend, largely because it’s accessible and familiar! It’s good for organizing contacts — like a modern day Rolodex, but you can share it with your co-founders, employees or anyone else who needs access.
Google Sheets is another fantastic option, providing Excel in a cloud environment. Google Sheets is only slightly different from Excel, and you can upload Excel to Drive, then open in Sheets for easy sharing and editing.
Of course, Google’s Gmail and calendar are the go-to options for communication, organization and planning. Share calendars, correspond via Gmail (plus, the Gchat function, including video, is a great way to keep in touch) and make your startup Google-based — it’s perfect to start everyone off in the same realm.
Google Analytics and AdWords can be your sole sources of creating marketing ads/campaigns, tracking visitors and tackling SEO from a DIY angle (at least in the early years). Eventually, you’ll need to upgrade and let a pro agency handle marketing and SEO, but Google provides a great starting foundation.
You may not have thought much about who your web host is, but it makes a huge difference. The quality of your web host affects your site speed, security and customer service experience. GoDaddy is one of the biggest, most reputable hosts in North America, and one of the few that offers virtual private server (VPS) hosting, which gives you most of the benefits of dedicated hosting but with a price point that aligns with basic shared hosting.
You’ll likely need a platform for project management, invoicing and customer relationship management (CRM). Zoho provides it all in one fell swoop. It’s intuitive, user-friendly and affordable (basically, everything a startup requires!).
WordPress is the go-to platform for many because it offers truly easy design customization, it’s free (although premium themes are available for a fee, too) and has fantastic SEO capabilities.
Gimp 2 is an open-source graphic design software that’s free, easy and even recommended by graphic design pros.
Both Skype and join.me can be used for screen sharing. Most people are familiar with Skype as the global video/voice communication tool, and join.me is ranked highly for screen sharing. Use them in tandem, or just pick your favorite to turn your startup into a global business.
Startups are always a lot of work, but having the right tools can be a huge help. Sound overwhelming? It can be. The best tool of all is Be Locally SEO, your agency for all things SEO and content-related.