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12 Essential Software Solutions For Startups

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The startup world is competitive. 90% of all startups fail, and one of the primary causes is a lack of organization and proper infrastructure. There is no shortage of software solutions that are designed to help startups succeed, and it can be difficult to know where to invest. We’ve worked with plenty of startups and leveraged almost every tool under the sun, and have chosen our favorite 12 essential software for startups to help you succeed in the following areas:

  • Team Workflow and Communication
  • Personal and Team Organization and Scheduling
  • Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
  • Budgeting and Forecasting
  • Email Management
  • Client Relationship Management
  • HR Productivity Tools

When you have a problem - make sure you choose the right startup tool for the job.

1. Slack

Why spend 30 minutes in a meeting when a quick instant message exchange will do? Slack is the go-to inter-organization real-time messaging tool used by thousands of startups just like yours. Its user-friendly interface eliminates emails from a lot of your internal workflow and is a streamlined way to communicate with team members wherever they are. 

So why Slack over other messaging apps? For one - it’s exclusively for work, so you won’t get distracted by personal messages from your Aunt. You can create different channels by topic or department and invite specific employees and guests from outside your organization to participate. Users can also access Slack through their mobile app, and avoid distraction by changing their notification settings for individual channels.

Slack also makes it easy to share files and integrates with services like Google Drive to ensure users have proper permissions to view files. You can also integrate seamlessly with other popular software solutions like Zoom, Outlook, OneDrive, Salesforce, HubSpot, Dropbox, and more!

Slack makes it easy to collaborate with anyone, anytime, anywhere. 

2. Trello

For a team project management tool that eliminates the need for countless emails, spreadsheets, and excessive notifications, look no further than Trello. They took the concept of a project board covered with task-lined sticky notes and digitized it, creating a communal workflow tracking tool for team leads and employees at all levels to view and change the status of various tasks.

Every user has access to their own individual board and can be shared on any number of project or team board with different levels of permissions. Tasks can be assigned to various team members, and due dates applied so it is added to their individual calendar. As tasks are completed, members can mark items as complete or move them over to other columns representing phases of a project. Users can also upload files that need to be reviewed and notify others, as well as make edits or leave comments. 

Startups move fast, and Trello provides an easy way for everyone in the organization to have a bird’s eye view of project and customer funnel status, as well as due dates for timely deliverables.

Here’s an example of an Agile Development Workflow project board:

Looking for some inspiration on how to use Trello for #StartupLife? Be sure to read their blog: 5 Key Trello Boards For That #StartupLife.

3. Bill.com

Bill.com streamlines accounts payable and accounts receivable management and leverages AI and machine learning to reduce data entry and human error. Key benefits for startup accounting departments include:

  • Auto-enters invoice data and auto-syncs with your accounting software.
  • Reduce data entry and captures important data from your invoices
  • Full invoice audit trail with review notes, approvals, payments, and remittance details
  • Assign bill and payment approval workflows
  • Automatically monitors invoices, bills, and payments for duplication
  • Syncs with your accounting system to save entering payment data twice and bring greater consistency to your records

Its UI is designed so small businesses can do more in less time and easily scales with your business as it grows.

4. Finmark

Budgeting and financial modeling are critical for any burgeoning business that wants to be successful and attract investors. Finmark reconciles your actuals without any manual entry with integrations including Quickbooks & Xero, payment processors like Stripe & Zuora, Payroll like Gusto & ADP, and even with your bank account.

Benefits for startups include:

  • Cash Runway: Finmark determines if you are on the path to becoming cash flow positive or running out of money.
  • Hiring Plan: Finmark provides recommendations on when and for what roles to hire based on your financial projections.
  • Fundraising Needs: Know how much you need to fundraise and whether you’re on track to reach your goals.
  • Metrics & Reporting: An intuitive dashboard and custom reporting allows you to easily create, update, and share all of your important financial metrics.

5. Parachute360

Parachute360 aims to give your organization a safety net against losing important documents from being lost due to turnover or employee absence. Along with that important key function, they are also a documentation organization service allowing you to easily and securely organize your critical business information and share it with your team.

You’ll find all key business information in one place, secured with bank-level encryption and fully searchable. Parachute also acts as a password storage solution to help keep business passwords secure and share them with colleagues.

6. Superpowered

Are you finding tracking notifications and meeting links from multiple calendars and sources a drag? Superpowered aims to make the process simple with an easy calendar view and zoom access links for macOS. With one click get an easy view of your calendar straight from the macOS desktop, and be notified as soon as your meeting starts with an easy access link.

7. Boomerang

Boomerang is thoughtful email productivity software that allows you to maintain stronger customer relationships, manage email addresses and ensure your communications are prompt and efficient.

Boomerang integrates natively with your Gmail, Outlook, Android device or iOS device and provides the following features:

  • Email Scheduling: Write now, auto-send later
  • Email Categorization: Makes it easier to keep track of emails through smart tagging
  • Email Pause: Need some distraction-free time? Pause your inbox so you won’t receive emails till you’re ready
  • Email Open check: Wondering if your email was opened, and when? Boomerang can tell you
  • Email Meeting Booking: Integrates with your calendar to easily suggest times and book meetings in email
  • Email Writing and Tone: Provides suggestions on how to make your email more professional and strike the right tone

8. Front

Managing customer communications is a team effort, and Front is a great tool to collaborate on satisfying your clients. It allows you to integrate all touch points including email, site chat, and create phone logs, to provide a single point of truth for every customer who gets in touch with you.

Front allows you to:

  • Route messages easily to relevant parties
  • Build and use email templates for ease of communication
  • View the full communication flow for any client for full context
  • Collaborate with others who can leave comments or edit drafts
  • Automate replies and integrate with other CRM and software

Front drives business impact by scaling the natural conversations that create customers for life. 

9. OmniFocus

OmniFocus is powerful task management software for busy founders. It makes it simple to capture tasks from any Apple device and becomes a seamless part of your workflow. Help turn your jumble of thoughts into a streamlined workflow. 

Features for busy founders include:

  • OmniFocus allows you to capture and organize all of your activities in an easy-to-maintain system
  • Projects, tagging, and due dates allow you to quickly layout your week for maximum productivity
  • The forecast shows you what’s coming up, so you can stop worrying and focus on what’s important now
  • Keep in touch with your ever-changing projects to make sure they still match your goals

10. Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a great tool for both HR departments: it combines time tracking, payroll, and invoicing in one handy tool. It also allows you to monitor employee productivity through several innovative features.

Staff can easily populate online timesheets and HR departments can easily review and approve them, as well as employee time-off requests. You can also use the tool for employee logistics by utilizing employee GPS tracking and track work and browser usage on their computers.

11. Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)

Looking to record software tutorial videos for your customers or employees? Don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for an Adobe license? Try OBS. 

This free tool is open source and provides real-time source and device capture, scene composition, encoding, recording, and broadcasting.

12. LeggUP

LeggUP is a professional coaching and mental wellbeing platform delivered to enterprises as an employee benefit. Combining world-class coaches, proprietary science-backed assessments, and self-paced development, we help HR leaders unlock their organization's potential with our easy, affordable, and scalable software program.

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