ESSENTIAL START UP BUSINESS TOOLS

As you take the journey into business its important you have the right toos and processes.

Business management tools are all the systems, applications, controls, calculating solutions and methodologies used by organizations to be able to cope with changing markets, ensure a competitive position in them and improve business performance.

A startup is a newly formed business with particular momentum behind it, based on perceived demand for its product or service. The intention of a startup is to grow rapidly as a result of offering something that addresses a particular market gap. It is the early stage in the life cycle of an enterprise where the entrepreneur moves from the idea stage to securing financing, laying down the basic structure of the business, and initiating operations or trading.

Knowing the best business tools to use and making the decision to choose a tool when there is a multiple choice is always a challenge for every startup.  Some of the tools can help one get started, others will make one more efficient, and others still will help one communicate with the ever-growing team.

The instruments are classified below into the following subheadings:

  1. EMAIL MANAGEMENT MARKETING Management

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial messages to an audience. All emails sent to current or potential customers are regarded as email marketing. Email marketing enhances business communications, targets precise markets; it is cost efficient and environmentally friendly.

Email marketing helps one to quickly target markets without the need for large quantities of print advertising, television or radio time or high production time and expenses. With efficient email marketing programs, you can keep up or maintain an email list that has been sorted based on several factors including how long an address has been active on your list, your customers’ preferamces, spending habits and many other factors. Emails are then created and sent out to members of the email list, providing them with a personalized message or offer. This allows you to detail information that they are interested in or have requested, allowing a much better conversion rate. This also helps promote trust and loyalty towards a company while also increasing sales.

Email management has to do with the precise control of the quantity and quality of electronic messages that are sent from or received by an organization. Email archiving is one of the most common methods of email management.

The tools for email management and marketing are as follows:

  1. MailChimp

Newsletters are sent through MailChimp. It is an email marketing platform which provides options to design, send and monitor email campaigns. MailChimp lets users track analytics and A/B test different email designs, allowing users to optimize campaigns for better open rates. For small volume, MailChimp’s free option is an excellent way to get started.

  1. Mixmax

Mixmax can be used to arrange a meeting with customers. It enables one to organize calendar availability directly from the Google inbox without stress. It also shows when and who saw or open your email.

  1. Customer.io

This is a comportment marketing rostrum for automating personalized customer communication. It is perfect for an e-commerce podium which is interested in engagement with clients by their transaction behavior. One can send up to 400 messages to 200 customers a month with its free tier.

  1. Surveymonkey

SurveyMonkey is used to embed survey within the MailChimp. It is an alternative tool to Typeform but requires more learning for usage because of more features.

  1. Typeform

Typeform allows one to create an excellent survey. Compared with online forms, it is more customizable and sentimental. It has collaborative and analytics options. Typeform has a free version which is a good option for start-ups.

  1. Rapportive

Rapportive is a Chrome or Firefox browser plug-in which substitutes Gmail ads for a better overview. This sends one an email by cross-examining the email of the sender with different social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, etc., and then replacing advertisements with the personal information of the sender found from those social networking sites.

Rapportive is used to get more information about a sender, save notes and connect to social networking sites

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  1. INVOICING, PAYROLL, AND PAYMENT Processing
  2. Paystack

The best way for any African Start-ups to get payment online from across the world is through pay stack. The pricing of paystack is moderate as they have no free tier. They charge 1.9%of the current payment + N100 (about 25 cents) on local cards. The N100 (25 cents) fee is waived on transactions less than N2,500 (about $8).

  1. Wave Accounting

This is a free accounting tool for startups, which is very easy to use for non-accountants. With wave accounting software, one can customize and send an invoice as well as create recurring invoice profiles. It allows for linking in of multiple accounts to the same login. It easily connects to all bank accounts, and it allows sharing of your account with an account professional. It incorporates directly with Google applications, so sending invoices via Gmail with Wave is great as it does not get caught in any spam.

 

  1. BRANDING AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
  2. NameMesh

NameMesh is used when trying to figure out a name for one’s business. Two to three words that describe what one’s business does is typed in, and this brings out name suggestions for you to pick of. This software also checks if the domain name is available.

  1. Swipe.to

Swipe is similar to power point but a lot more than that. It gives room for the creation of responsive decks with real time sync for playback and enhanced audience participation. The audience can follow the presentation on their smart phones.  The free tier fits needs of most start-ups with unlimited decks, unlimited collaborators, private decks and basic statistics.

  1. Squarespace logo designer

Squarespace Logo is incredibly easy to use. One will finish the logo design in less than five minutes.Type in the name of your company, your tagline, choose colors and fonts, add icons, and you are done. It is a very basic drag-and-drop online logo creation tool.

  1. Customer Discovery Questions

The easiest way to perform a customer discovery is through this ultimate list of questions curated by Mike Fishbein. Everybody needs to do this before they expend time, energy and emotion on a business idea. These questions are:

* Customer segmentation: Here, depending on how much information you have about the person, you may need to understand more about their demographic. Questions like, what they do professionally, their roles, time spent and if they are married or have kids will enhance your knowledge about your customers.

* Problem Discovery: Questions to validate one’s hypothesis about a problem, or to learn about problems are; what is the hardest part of your day, what task take up most of your day, what are your most important professional and personal goals?

* Problem Validation: The following questions can be used to validate or invalidate that one’s customers have the problem you think they have. if they did not talk about the issue you wanted to address; do you find it hard to process this, how important is this to you, how motivated are you to solving this problem.

* Product Discovery: Questions to help generate ideas or to validate ideas are; what do you think could be done to assist you with the problem, How would your ideal solution to this issue look?

* Product Validation: Questions to validate/invalidate one’s idea are; what do you think of this product? Would this product solve your problem? How likely are you/would you be able to tell your friends about this product? Would you ever use this product, what might prevent you from using this product?

* Product Optimization: Questions to help you improve your idea or product; what could be done to improve this product, what is most appealing to you about this product, what might improve your experience using the product, what motivates you to continue using this product, what features do you wish the product had?

* Ending Interviews: Questions to ask at the end of an interview; so based on the conversation, it sounds like x is hard for you, but y is not. How accurate is that? Is there anything else you think I should know about that I didn’t ask? Do I have the opportunity to follow up with you for questions?

  1. WEBSITE AND CONTENT MANAGEMENT
  2. WordPress

WordPress is one of the best content management system. It is easy to set up and have open-source templates, widgets, and plugins that make life easier.

  1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics service on the Internet. It is a web analytics service offered by Google which tracks, analyzes and reports website traffic. It is free and fairly easy to familiarize oneself with the interface. Analytics tools tell you where visitors come from. You can see if you’re getting search engine traffic or if more of your visitors come from social media sites.

 

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
  2. Buffer

The buffer is used for scheduling content across different social platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. The Individual Plan is free, but one can also grab any of their paid plans. These paid services range from $102 to $2,550 per annual term.

  1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an excellent social media tool. It covers most major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare, and Google+. It saves time by managing all of one’s social media marketing efforts from a single dashboard. Hootsuite is also used to measure social media return on investment, and also protects one’s brand on social media platforms by guarding against hackers and external threats.

  1. Dropbox

Dropbox is a popular and stable cloud-storage tool that let’s one store files on the computer, have access to them anywhere, and share them with your team members. It has 2G free space for file transfers.

  1. Google Drive and Google Collaborate Tools

Google Drive helps to save one’s files in the cloud, access them on any device and share them.

The Google collaborate apps: Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Presentation allow you create spreadsheets, documents, and presentations in your browser and have your team contribute.  All one have to do is share a link to them which will enable everyone to contribute their suggestions or ideas.