5 Tools Every Start-up Should Be Using

When most people start a business, they think their time will be taken up with doing the thing they love that inspired them to work for themselves in the first place. Nice thought, sadly incorrect; because alongside doing the great stuff, is all the other business-y stuff that also needs to be done.

But where to find the time?!

I’m a great believer in automating as much as possible, as cheaply as possible, for as long as possible and the following list contains the tools I use in my business on a regular basis.

If you use a tool that isn’t listed – and couldn’t work without it – I’d love to hear from you!


1.       Mailchimp. Mailchimp ‘provides marketing automation for e-commerce businesses. It enables you to send beautiful emails, connect your e-commerce store, advertise, and build your brand’. I use Mailchimp for my weekly newsletters, landing pages for my lead magnets (free email series, copies of ebooks etc) and also for sending out bulk sales emails.

2.       Hootsuite. If you use social media (and you should!), you need a tool like Hootsuite which ‘enhances your social media management, helping you to manage multiple networks and profiles and measure your campaign results’. I simply don’t have time to go online every day and load up my social media accounts, so using Hootsuite saves me time – as well as helping me to see which posts work, and which ones don’t; the data from which I can use to inform my overall marketing message.

3.       Surveymonkey. If you want to learn more about your customers by using online surveys or connecting with a network of people who can answer surveys, you need a tool like Surveymonkey. It ‘helps to to drive your business forward by using their free online survey tool to capture the voices and opinions of the people who matter most to you’. I use Surveymonkey to canvas my newsletter database for their opinions and needs, as well as to get ensure that I get the right signups for my charity, The Juno Project, when looking for mentors. It’s absolutely invaluable.

4.       Sumo. I am notoriously untechy (although I surprise even myself sometimes with my ability to do random techy things) so Sumo is my go-to when it comes to monitoring my website traffic, helping me with sign-ups to my database. Sumo ‘is a suite of free tools that can be used to grow your website's traffic’. In conjunction with Mailchimp, I can ensure that anyone who signs up is then added to my database so that I can send them information about my courses, as well as my newsletter.

5.       Xero. Gone are the days when all businesses had to keep books and papers in printed form – the world of tech has totally transformed that, rather onerous, task and now there are all kinds of accounting software tools to choose from. I’ve used most of the top named packages, and find Xero to be the one that most suits my needs; plus, it’s pretty popular with accountants too, who can sign in to your account, download your information and draw up your accounts in a blink! It even syncs to your bank account, drawing in all the information it needs to give an accurate and up to the moment overview of your business (now that really is cool…).

Those are my top tools – here’s a few more that didn’t quite make the grade for me, but you may well find them useful: Evernote, Trello, Google Analytics, and Receiptbank.

Don’t forget to let me know on twitter and Facebook which tools you use!

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