Running a tech startup and growing a team by threefold in under a year has been a huge challenge for us. Following a late seed round in 2017, we have fueled our jets and are finally using the right tech tools after much trial and error, to escalate our growth.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that there’s no perfect tool that exists for implementing a functionality. I’m sure you’ll agree with this fact, irrespective of your company being a startup or a large corporation.
So, in this article, I’d like to walk you through the various tools we use to optimise our workflow. Here’s a powerful visualisation of all the services we use:
Let’s break this down into the following categories:
- Content and Development
- Office & IT
- PaaS Tech
How many tools do you need to make it happen?
‘Growth’ which is one of the trendiest words in the startup culture, sure comes with a price tag. Having tested and used over 90 tech tools, a large number of which fall under the ‘growth’ category, here are a few tips.
Ever since our launch, one of our main commitments has been to have an open and easy communication channel directly with our users. This can be super challenging, especially due to time constraints. Having a customer support tool such as Freshdesk helps in having a systematic approach to managing customer tickets.
Once you’ve moved to the next level in terms of your business growth, you can consider adding a live chat feature. Intercom is a great tool that can help you organize your teams and power live chat. Furthermore, it offers a way to spin up customer-nurturing campaigns which is quite helpful to keep your users informed about your product and achieve your funnel goals.
One of the holy grails in Marketing still remains Email as one of the key channels. One of the best ways to communicate is via a newsletter and Revue is a great tool that provides simple and efficient design, as only text would be boring.
We recently decided to merge and move over all email communication to MailChimp. With the latest GDPR tools form Mailchimp, you can make sure you stay compliant when managing your distribution list, if your business operates in the EU.
If your company has a presence on Medium, you might wanna consider having your readers subscribe to your newsletter. A great tool to get email subscribers is Upsri.be that helps you create embeddable lead generation forms. This way you can stay in touch with all your subscribers and keep the communication going.
Generally speaking, there are two types of sales strategies — inbound and outbound and a lot of tools are available to help you manage both kinds. Although we started off using Capsule, the update to version two of the Capsule API has forced us to evaluate our options as the old API v1 was set to work only for a limited amount of time.
Following a vast amount of exploration we decided to move to PipeDrive as a CRM solution that gives an easy way to build your sales pipeline and manage deals.
One great tool to kick start sales prospecting is Klenty that helps manage prospects and leads in an intuitive way. It also helps keep your sales team closely aligned to all your activities and contacts.
2. Office & IT Tech
How do you maintain a lean & efficient office tech?
Focusing on team collaboration, you must be in a similar place and Trello is your partner in crime. As I mentioned earlier, our team tripled in size. Trello was no longer able to help us manage all our internal tasks spread across different teams and members. It was still good for documenting our brainstorming and planning sessions, but we just couldn’t grasp the project management side of things with Trello.
So, we decided to move to a better project management tool to help us manage our individual tasks. After going through 10+ tools we decided to give Asana a try. Within just a week, we found it so much more efficient that we moved all of our projects from Trello to Asana, long before our one month trial period with Asana.
When it comes to communication, one of the latest gems in our tech tools list is BlueJeans. The team at BlueJeans exactly knows what we all have been missing out on, in terms of video conferencing and they’ve come up with a perfect solution for it. You can share a link of your meeting with your guests and they can straight up connect to you with video without having to install any software or plugin. This is a huge problem solver!
In case you are still using a Google Sheet to plan your team holidays, go and check out Timetastic. This tool helps you automate this work and make sure everyone is able to book their holidays, while providing them with a team-wide calendar with everyone’s availability.
When it comes to storing and managing all your docs, there are two players we’ve looked at — Dropbox & Google Drive. And, although there are pros and cons in using either of the solutions, we decided to use Google Drive. If you are prone to using Google Apps and have already integrated with the rest of the Google Suite, then Drive would be an obvious choice.
As security is a major concern today, more so following the new EU data regulation, it’s important to keep an eye on how you manage access and privacy. After researching a few tools, we zeroed in on 1Password that helps us keep all of our passwords and provides an easy shared access to team wide tools.
3. PaaS Technology stack
What it takes to run a real time platform?
If you are maintaining tech infrastructure, one of the best things is to get a solid hosting solution. If your span is global and you are dealing with a large amount of data, Amazon’s cloud infrastructure is one of the best choice to go with.
Security & Search
Most of the companies, nowadays, own a digital certificate. It acts as a digital equivalent of a passport or signature. By having a digital certificate you can make sure the recipient know who you are and also use it if you choose to set up a two-factor authentication for your service. You can do your research but we are loyal to GlobalSign.
If you are looking for startup tools suggestions that you’d like to test yourself, feel free to look at Ably’s extensive list of tools.
Do you know of any other tools that you think we should give a try? Be sure to add it to our existing list of startup tools at Ably and we’ll evaluate it.