19-11-2018 19:05:47

The best 40 tools to grow your small company

Do you get as much done as you’d like to? And does your company move as fast as you’d like? Well, you’re not alone. While productivity is important for everyone, it is even more important for startups and small companies because they have fewer hands to do more work and no resources to hire more or get external assistance. That’s why tools that help you achieve more with less are an entrepreneur’s best friend!
4. nov. 2015 Af Tine Thygesen
The best 40 tools to grow your small company

In the last ten years I’ve been playing with hundreds of systems to find the ultimate setup for running a small business. It’s become a bit of an obsession. In the hope that it can save you time, I’d like to share my preferred set up to date with you. 

Best tools for internal structure

1. Everything shared in folders. While not a tool this is rule #1 in an efficient setup. Absolutely everything has to be saved in shared folders that are organised in a logical structure. Any document saved directly on a computer should costs a round of beers, a naked run around the building or other suitable punishment. People change jobs and computers, but this enables handovers
2. Google Docs. While I love excel I have to admit that that collaborative nature of Google docs make them superior. At Colego we did project planning as shared presentations for transparency and all key documents were shared by a link to the source, rather than sent as pdfs which quickly get outdated. The key to this is logical titles on all documents. I prefer starting with the date as it automatically sorts docs in the folder, like “20151104 40 best startup tools”, rather than “Tine blog post”
3. Dropbox. The only alternative to Google docs. Enables you to use Excel and Word which are superior, but there are often syncing problems and format issues. Rule #1 and good titles also apply here
4. Lucidchart. Mind mapping software used to draw team responsibility charts, flow charts etc as visual layout adds clarity
5. Things. My personal to-do list system which works on my computer, iPad and phone. Inside I have a system that ensures that I focus on the most and important things. I believe that thoughts not written down drain energy, so I put everything here, also stuff for later
6. Evernote. I collate articles, learning, personal notes from meetings and inspiration
7. 1Password. Keeps your passwords secure and makes you less hackable

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Best tools for team & collaboration

8. Trello. Visual planning board which simple nature make people actually want to use it. Here I make weekly plans with the team so everyone can see exactly what everyone has to achieve and when things are done. Like this
9. ProductPlan. Strategic planning tool in calendar format. I organize projects in this visual layout to ensure I am managing for dependencies. as well as schedule PR and campaigns
10. Jira. A more complex alternative to Trello that most developers prefer. The best thing is that it works with ProductPlan so you can measure progress against your product road map
11. Toggle. Tool to track what exactly you spend your time on, as to improve prioritization
12. Podio. (Danish) In FoundersHouse we use the social message board to keep the large community of 200+ people informed about events, lunch and mutual helping each other. It’s also is a good depository for documents everyone should have, like policies

Best tools for Finance and legal

13. Rightsignature. Online signing of document. In Everplaces I had investors in 7 countries so it was crucial with digital signing. You can save the details of people you send to frequently
14. Outlay. (Danish) Save receipts for bookkeeping and have expenses approved by manager
15. Jotnot. App that replaces the scanner. Take photo of a document and make it look proper again before sending it

Best tools for Sales and marketing

16. Hotjar. See exactly what people do on your website and track their path to conversion. A lighter alternative is CrazyEgg
17. Google analytics. You cannot get around the grandfather of analytics. Setup custom dashboards to make it really useful. I tried the superior alternatives like Hubspot and Kissmetric but didn’t really get enough out of the extra spend
18. SEMrush. Analyze your (and your competitors) Google adwords positioning
19. Intercom. For businesses with online users. Track how often and how they use your product
20. Ge.tt. To share files too big to email, put them in Ge.tt and just send the link
21. Mailchimp. For email newsletters this is the best and easiest, although it gets expensive when you have many subscribers. It can do marketing automation when you get that advanced
22. Dashboards. Make progress visible to everyone with dashboards with data from Google analytics and the server. Geckoboard and Plecto are both a bit lacking but the best I have found
23. Adobe video editing for making your own marketing videos
24. Pipedrive. Simple sales CRM perfect for smaller businesses. Keep track of all your leads.
25. Hootsuite. For social media monitoring and scheduling posts
26. bit.ly. To shorten links and track how many clicked on what
27. Keynote. For beautiful presentations you can forget about PowerPoint or Google slides, it has to be Keynote
28. Rapportive. Clever litter widget for Gmail that gives you Linkedin info about the person you are writing with
29. Slideshare. In Triptale we use knowledge sharing in our marketing. Slideshare is an excellent place to host them and to get traffic. You can embed them on own site
30. Iconfinder (Danish) For unique icons for your product
31. 99designs. If you don’t have an in-house designer you can find affordable help here for specific tasks.

Best tools for Development

32. Opbeat. Danish software that monitors backend and automatically pings your developers when something needs action
33. Github. Depository preferred by most developers. Also great in recruitment as you can see the applicants previous work
34. Slack. Inter team-messaging system preferred by developers
35. Invisionapp. App to visualise how functionality and app design will look in reality. Great to showcase apps before they are actually built, like pitching clients or raising money
36. AWS. The biggest advantage of Amazon Web service is that you can quickly scale up and down
37. Hetzner. A cheaper hosting option but without the flexibility of AWS. Hosted in Germany so good for privacy data

Best tools for Travel and meetings

38. Everplaces. (Danish) For big trips I save locations of my meetings in a private collection so I can easily find them. You can cache the map so it works offline. I also use it the unbiased hotel and restaurant recommendations
39. Booking.com. Although I really don’t like Booking as a company it has a good app which keeps my hotel data handy, I use it because of that
40. Timesuit. New Danish software in beta, which help with calendar scheduling. Saves a lot of time if you schedule many meetings, like when you’re recruiting.
41. Whatsahoy (bonus) Virtual assistant to help with frequent travel planning

That’s my best tips, I hope they help you too! I am still working to find the perfect CRM, the perfect integrated perfect marketing overview and a good tool to keep track of HR legal stuff. Aso I’ll let you know when I have more to share

Denne artikel er oprindelig bragt på Tine Thygesens blog

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