Essential Startup Tools to Start a Business in 2021
An important task in organizing any business is to build your own automated system for making a profit. We are talking about a sales funnel that works through advertising, then closing the deal, and, in fact, the sale itself, with following repeat sales.
In this article, you can find the minimum and obligatory set of various software tools that a startup needs at the first MVP stage. These tools are the building blocks of a funnel for any startup. We are convinced that all entrepreneurs, startups, as well as executives and marketers simply can’t do without them on the way to a successful business.
The sections below are the foundation that will allow you to create a really powerful project.
Without further ado, let’s get to the tools.
Top 12 Startup Tools to Use in 2021
Social Champ is a social media management tool that integrates well within your social media management processes.
The tool supports all popular social media networks including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google My Business. You can easily link your social accounts and automate social media posting and profile management.
Social Champ is ideal for businesses and agencies that have multiple people taking care of the social media processes. As such the Teams feature allows the main stakeholder to onboard as many team members as they like and assign them roles such as Administrator and Editor.
The most popular feature of the tool is the Workspaces that group social profiles and team members into one easy-to-manage location that is ideal for agencies that handle social media accounts for multiple clients.
Other features include a bulk uploader that allows you to schedule several months of posts at once, a powerful social media calendar that offers details of the live and scheduled posts, and integrations with Crello and Wave Video for creating amazing content from right within the platform.
IdeaBuddy is a free idea generator. If you need more ideas (no matter what topic), but nothing comes to your mind, you can use this service. Type in an idea – get 10 in return.
Unfortunately, the service does not always provide ideas thematically related to the text entered. For example, if you want to learn Italian and how to make Neapolitan pizza, you will get this: “A company that sells book covers with beautiful design. You can take the covers off your favorite books and hang them on your office walls.”
Anyway, we found this idea quite entertaining. With IdeaBuddy, you can sketch and develop your business idea, build your business plan, and automate financial projections. So if you critically need a fresh idea or concept, whether for content creation, business or personal needs, try IdeaBuddy – you might find one that catches your eye 😉
3. The Name App
Another critical element of a successful business is the name. And the competition is quite high in the U.S. – statistics show that more than 627,000 companies register each year. Thus, choosing a unique name can be a challenge.
The Name App service helps you choose a name and domain name for your startup. In addition, it helps check the availability of appropriate usernames in the most popular social networks.
You have chosen a name, now it’s time to register the company. You can do it remotely, but that can be complicated.
If you’re outside of the U.S., not all popular paperwork automation services support launching businesses for entrepreneurs from other countries. Stripe Atlas, for example, doesn’t register companies “doing business in certain countries.”
As an alternative to Stripe Atlas, you can try Clerky. This site will require you to fill out simple forms with answers to questions, and it will eventually segment the package of documents and send them to the registration authorities. Setting up a C-Corp in Delaware with a couple of founders will cost you just over $700 (you will need Incorporation and Post-Incorporation Setup packages).
5. Panda 5
Panda 5 is a newsreader service, which you can use to follow news from many related sites at once. Easily add articles to bookmarks and Pandmarks (the most liked entries). You can also leave comments to them, send them by email, share them on Facebook and Twitter. Panda 5 has a bright attractive design and is used daily by many well-known companies such as Facebook, Google, and Trello.
You can download the service as a Chrome extension or use the web version. The service integrates with Twitter, Pocket, and Instagram.
You can decorate your page originally by adding to-do lists, time, images, and so on. Also, if you’re having trouble focusing, the service helps focus on reading with the “Distraction-free reading” feature.
Note that before using the service, you should add RSS feeds of the news channels that you’re interested in.
Reading articles with Panda 5 is very convenient – choose a news channel, articles you like (from the built-in list), choose your reading format – and go ahead!
Airtable is a flexible organizer for different ideas, content, dates, lists, appointments, etc. Add fields for attachments, long text notes, checkboxes, links, and even barcodes!
In fact, it’s the most comprehensive organizer we’ve seen – you can add ideas and notes on totally different topics. Create an art gallery of photos, a product catalog, an organizer for projects, clients, and restaurants, and various establishments. Create a wedding planner, an article release calendar, a travel planner, and even an organizer for farmers (to track profits and livestock).
The service offers 4 plans, with 1 Free plan (includes unlimited bases, 1,200 records per base, 2GB of attachments per base, a grid, a calendar, kanban, forms, and gallery views). Paid plans start at $10. They differ in the number of records, the amount of memory used, and the presence/absence of various features.
Airtable is available as an app and desktop program for Mac OS, Windows, iOS, and Android. It can also be integrated with many platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mailchimp, Evernote, Slack, Twitter, etc.
Ultidash is an extension for Google Chrome that contains site-blocking features, as well as to-do lists and task creation, site tracking, etc.
One page of the extension shows the weather forecast, date and time, a list of your current tasks, a Google search bar, and a timer. A screen saver and motivational caption change every hour. We liked the service for its convenience and design.
If you have a small startup without huge investments, then saving money is a priority. However, you can always turn to your fellow freelancers. Eventually, you might, at the very least, need a local accountant, a marketer, or a copywriter/editor.
Hiring agencies and contacting specialized firms will be too expensive, and this is where Upwork comes to the rescue. This job board has a huge number of specialists in a variety of fields. This competition promotes cost reduction and increases in performance quality. Of course, you can always “run into” a mediocre performer. However, the built-in rating and feedback system minimize the risk making Upwork one of the most legitimate ways to find a quality freelancer or get freelance work.
In the end, with Upwork, you’re perfectly capable of completing tasks like submitting reports and paying taxes, as well as launching basic marketing.
This free marketing & CRM solution has already been loved by 30,000+ businesses and is something of an emerging favorite in the CRM and marketing automation space.
It can help startups with lead generation, free email marketing, online advertising, free social media tools, and much more.
The wonderful thing about this product is that its free plan comes with no time limit, and can be used by up to 15 different users from one account. That makes it really easy for entrepreneurs to play around with all the sales & marketing tools and then decide to upgrade if they need to.
Speaking of accounting – you’ve probably heard about QuickBooks, right? If yes, then you know that it’s a paid software tool, and you have to pay extra for each individual module (like payroll).
In addition, practice shows that not everyone can use all the features of the service – for example, you will not be able to issue invoices through it with the possibility of paying with your bank card if you are not a resident of the United States.
Wave is an excellent free alternative. This accounting software is completely free and includes a feature to create invoices that can be paid by card and through a U.S. bank account.
Doing business involves constant communication with customers as well as internally, and you want to be as correct as possible in your written correspondence. Therefore, you want to use a specialized software tool.
Textly.AI is a service for correcting grammar mistakes in your text documents. The service finds grammatical and punctuation mistakes, corrects your typos, and gives recommendations on your writing style.
The tool works not only as a web app but also as an extension for Chrome and Firefox. That means you don’t have to copy and paste your text anywhere – Textly fixes typos on the fly right where you write. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Gmail or a blogging platform like Medium.
12. Web App Generator
One of the proven ways to build an application for your start up business is through the use of a web application generator. Web app generator helps to save costs and time of web development thanks to optimization of manual workflow as no code is needed.
You’re free to choose any popular stack of technologies like React, Angular, Vue for frontend, and Nodejs for the backend part of the app. Generated apps resolve the question of data storage, data management and many other significant business tasks.
As a result, you get a fully working app, a sort of CMS for the entities defined in the database schema.
Additional Tools for Startups
If you can’t think of a cool name for your startup, here are a few name generators that can help:
- Name is your number one service for a domain name search. It helps you check for available domains on web platforms;
- Squadhelp is one of the best simple name generators. You enter a keyword, and the tool combines it with other words to create a unique name;
- Business Name Generator is a free tool that automatically combines a keyword with other words to create a reliable list of domain names;
- Namelix allows you to find a short, branded, affordable, and unique name for your business. A name that’s going to be relevant to your business idea, while being catchy and memorable;
- Lean Domain Search is another handy site to help you combine a name with your keyword. Here you can sort results by popularity, length, or in alphabetical order.
If you need to create a website, blog, or app, try the following tools:
- WIX is a free website creation platform. You don’t need to know anything about coding to create a website from scratch. Build a unique website using ready-to-use beautiful templates;
- Yola offers free hosting, customization, and easy drag & drop functionality for novice and advanced users. A premium account will allow you to manage your domains, hosting, email, online store, etc.;
- Doodlekit is a free website builder for startups. The in-built editor tool allows you to create and share your own wonderful templates. There’s plenty of background patterns, icons, fonts, and border effects to choose from. No coding skills are required;
- Zoho offers free website building for any business or event. Plus, you get access to a personal blog, email, and unlimited web hosting;
- Webnode invites you to join 40 million users and build your own website. An easy and intuitive website builder that you can use to become a blog or portfolio owner in just 5 minutes. You can build a website using your phone or tablet, as well as rely on years of experience with Webnode’s responsive support team. That’s in case you have any questions.
To plan a project and estimate your chances of success, you can try the following tools:
- Enloop is a free app that predicts your chances of success and helps you build your business plan;
- Rocket Lawyer is a great way to manage your legal affairs online. With this service, you can create and sign contracts, agreements, find a lawyer. or get other legal services online;
- BPlans allows you to find free business plan samples/templates, business planning resources, financial calculators, and various related articles. It’s a great platform for planning your own business;
- MPlans helps you create a marketing plan for your business. It gives you the opportunity to use hands-on ideas and models of successful marketing plans to create your own;
- Marketing Donut is an information website that helps small businesses succeed. It offers a lot of advertising promotion materials on online marketing, social media, digital advertising, market research, sales, customer care, etc.;
- Microsoft To Do is a cloud-based task management app. It allows users to manage their tasks from their smartphone, tablet, or PC. To Do is ideal for daily tasks. In fact, it’s the natural successor to Wunderlist – Microsoft built it based on the list-making app’s features. Sharing a shopping list with a partner or supervising several projects at the same time. Or maybe you want to plan your vacation – this service’s list has so many more features to offer;
- Checker Plus for Gmail is a browser plugin that adds all your emails from Gmail. You can connect multiple inboxes. Click the icon, read the mail. and reply to it without leaving the page! Plus, you can set up notifications for new emails;
- Todoist is another convenient task manager. With it, you can create tasks, attach files to them, sort them into lists, and set deadlines. This toolkit allows you to manage various business tasks, add them to projects, filter, edit, tag, and export them.
Compared to its peers, Todoist has unique advantages aimed at securing your work:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) utilization. AWS has trusted servers to store your data;
- Constantly updated Firewall. All the intrusions are monitored, and access control is constantly audited;
- SSL encryption for all communications. The Todoist team ensures that your data is kept secure 24/7.
We use it as a storage container for ideas. Do you have a cool topic for an article? Save it there! Found a service that’s worth testing? We’ll need it later! You can also create your daily schedule so you won’t forget any tasks by accident. Plus, there’s you can even use a shopping list on your phone!
There’s a plugin that allows you to generate tasks directly from the browser and attach links to them.
The following tools will allow you to do your business accounting at home:
- Invoiceto.me is a platform that helps you create and send professionally drafted PDF invoices online. It can also automatically calculate taxes and totals;
- Pandle is a free and easy-to-use program. It can compete with professional accountants and meets the real needs of entrepreneurs;
- Invoice Home offers a library of 100 invoice templates. Choose your custom design, pay your invoices at home, email them, and promote your brand! Invoice Home saves and protects your customer data and product information in a cloud-based platform that you can access anywhere via Wi-Fi.
The following tools will help you create a beautiful logo for your startup:
- Easel.ly – the name speaks for itself. No design experience is needed. Creating graphics with easel.ly is a no brainer;
- Logomak.com is a software program that helps you choose the color and font for your logo. You will need just a few minutes to create your custom logo;
- Draw.io is a platform that’s developed to help create flowcharts, UML, ER, and network diagrams;
- Freepik is a handy site that allows you to download any free images, vectors, icons, with the ability to edit them in photoshop;
- Pixlr is a free online photoshop alternative. You will be able to edit images immediately in your browser;
- Material Palette has hundreds of different colors. Choose the ones that appeal to you and download your palette.
- Paletton is a tool that serves as a means to create a harmonious color combination;
- Unsplash (or Pexels) has high-quality free images. A great choice for your startup, available both online and offline;
- Lightshot is a simple screenshot app. It allows you to quickly screenshot the desired area on your desktop. You can add captions, frames, arrows, and upload your screenshots to the cloud. There’s, of course, an option to add your screenshot to the clipboard or save a file. Lightshot is handy and very easy to learn;
- OneNote is a completely free alternative to EverNote (the most popular service for storing and organizing information from the Internet (articles, notes, pictures, e-tickets). With OneNote, you can create plenty of pages, add text, images, links, audio, files, and so on. There’s a browser plugin that lets you add an entire article, a link to it, some text, or a screenshot in a couple of clicks. The software tool works on both desktops and phones.
To rationally divide tasks among your team, we suggest the following programs:
- Wrike is online project management software that allows you to manage tasks and track their completion;
- SamePage is a file-sharing and real-time communication tool that will help your teamwork even more efficiently;
- Producteev is a task manager, integrated with email and a messenger. Using these tools you can add new tasks, set deadlines, reminders, and send messages.
- ReadyCloud Suite — a cross-channel ecommerce CRM software solution that includes shipping, returns, growth marketing and team management.
Every startup is unique and requires additional analytics tools, as well as unique customization and integration.
Digital marketing for a startup is not so much a theory as it is a practical process, based on using services/tools above, as well as similar ones as part of the sales funnel. In this case, the point of a business is to maximize profit while minimizing costs. These can be products or services, and it’s important to understand what, why, and how you use them.
Even if you plan to outsource promotion, as a business owner, you should understand what you’re paying for and how services work in the sales funnel.
We hope that at least some of the tools from our list will help your startup grow and become successful.