Recipe for Success: 5 Productivity Tools for Startups
Running a startup is a lot of work. It takes commitment, detailed planning and a great deal of time and effort. Since there’s so much to it, it’s important to use the right tools to accomplish each task correctly and on time.
Any startup with a bright future should have a unique vision. However, there are various responsibilities that every business has regardless of what it focuses on. Whether those tasks are financial recordkeeping, sales, marketing, employee management or hiring, there are different solutions every startup can take advantage of to stay on track. In this blog post, we’ll explore some solutions commonly used by young businesses.
Financial management software
The vast majority of startups take some time to achieve profitability. That means it’s crucial to stick to a tight budget early on and monitor the financial health of the business at all times. Financial management software can help but it’s a broad term that encompasses different solutions. Here are a few examples that fall into this category.
- Accounting and bookkeeping software – Keeps track of every business transaction.
- Invoicing software – Generates invoices and receives payment from customers.
- Billing software – Accounts for all your bills and automatically pays them on time.
The solutions listed above are the major examples of financial management software most businesses need to use. Other startups might have to implement e-commerce software, a point-of-sale system, quoting software and more depending on what they do.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software
Since finances are so important for startups, it’s also crucial that no opportunity for a sale falls through the cracks. The history of every current and potential customer needs to be accounted for so the sales team can make informed decisions.
A customer relationship management solution, or CRM, as it’s commonly called, is used to accomplish this. The contact information and status of every customer or lead is kept up to date so a sales specialist can make the right connections with each one. And the history of every interaction with the customer is stored so they can be contacted at the right times.
Most CRM’s also come with reporting features. You can take a look at trends and identify macro opportunities that aren’t apparent on the customer-level. Exploring the right reports will help you understand your sales efforts and ensure you’re progressing forward.
Marketing automation software
Before a potential customer can converse with your sales team, they need to know your business exists and understand how they can benefit from it. However, marketing efforts take a lot of time to execute and it can be hard to understand if they’re successful.
Marketing automation software is used by many startups to capture and nurture leads. An interested person or company can volunteer their contact information in exchange for helpful content, like a long-form guide or access to a webinar. A series of emails offering additional content is then sent to them, helping them learn about the benefits of your company. When the time is right, the right leads can be passed onto your sales team.
Marketing automation software should play nicely with your CRM. Once a lead reaches a current stage, they should flow from the marketing software to the CRM so there is a seamless handoff to sales.
Most large, established companies have a solid human resources team who ensure employees adhere to the different policies. But in a startup, that responsibility often falls on the founder or each employee’s immediate manager.
Human resources software goes a long in way in helping employees be comfortable and stay productive. Like financial software, there are different solutions that help the business achieve various human resource tasks. Here are some examples:
- Payroll software – While it’s primarily used for compensating employees, payroll software also allows each team member to see their accrued days off, tax details and other important individual information.
- Onboarding software – Ensure your new hires understand your company policies and complete important paperwork so they can hit the ground the running.
- Benefits management software – If your startup offers unique benefits to attract top talent, benefits management software helps each employee take full advantage of the perks.
- Performance management software – Monitor the productivity of each employee and make sure everyone is staying on task at all times.
Again, these are only a few examples of the specific types of HR software. If your company faces a specific challenge when it comes to managing your employees, there is likely a solution that can help you solve it.
Application tracking system (ATS)
Hiring the right people at the right times is one of the biggest challenges for any company. It’s an even greater challenge for startups that are growing at a rapid rate. Compared to an established company, startups often have more open positions relative to their staff size that need to be filled on a tighter schedule.
An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is the key to a seamless end-to-end hiring process. It connects with the company’s careers website so interested job seekers can learn about the employee experience, then see if there is a role for them. They can then apply through an online application and all their information will be converted into a consistently-formatted candidate profile that the hiring team can review within the ATS.
Hiring software also helps with the interview and candidate evaluation stage. The solution sends email notifications to hiring team members so they don’t have to remember to log in on their own. They simply receive a standard calendar invite for interviews and an email asking them to provide feedback after they meet with the candidate.
These are only a few of the many benefits that an ATS brings to a growing company. It takes the arduous process of hiring and streamlines each step.