The Essential Tools for Managing your Startup
By Erica hsueh
August 10, 2018
Throughout the world, entrepreneurs aspire to have their startups become one of the most successful and renowned companies. Despite the optimism among entrepreneurs, nine out of ten companies will fail, according to Fortune. This statistic can be hard to take in and it may even discourage some of you to think about having your own startup, but its sole purpose is not to discourage you, but rather invigorate you to work even harder. As you prioritize your time to scale up your company, here are some tools that I personally recommend that you can use to manage your own startup.
- File Management: Google Drive
For my team’s startup, Google Drive is one of the most essential tools that makes organization super simple. The cloud-based tool allows my team members including myself to have access to any files wherever we are.
Google Drive has all sorts of useful widgets, and this includes Google Docs, Google Form, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc. Starting off, Google Docs is a wonderful platform where members are able to work on the same document and edits or additions included are automatically saved. My team uses Google Docs to store every single information and work we have for our company. For instance, we use Google Docs to record the response people had when we interviewed them for our primary market research. This allows us to access the information whenever we discuss it with our mentors as well as other peers.
For startups, Google Form is a useful way of receiving responses. After understanding that there is a need in the market, it’s important for your startup to receive feedbacks from customers to see if your solution truly solves a need. This is a perfect time to use Google Form to have a survey questions for people to fill out. These are valuable responses to evaluate and based on it, you can also pivot the focus of your startup. Not only can you use Google Form to understand if your solution solves a need, you can also ask about customers’ opinion on your minimum viable product or MVP, as well as asking about certain layouts on a web platform or an app. There are so many ways utilize the Google Form to receive customer feedback. Google Sheets is a unique way for startups to keep track of list of people who are interested in their products/ services. In addition, all the inputs from the Google Form is automatically transferred into Google Sheets, allowing startups to see the response all at once. Lastly, Google Slides is a crucial tool for presentations and pitches.
- Communication Management: Slack
“The mission is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant, more productive.”
I couldn’t agree more with Slack’s mission statement. It is one of the best and most popular team collaboration platform that exists currently. Not only does it keep all sorts of communication among teams in one platform, it is extremely helpful to manage your team when your team members live in different parts of the world.
While there are many other team collaboration platforms, what makes Slack set apart from other platforms is that it allows users to integrate external applications to its own platform. Not only does it integrate alternative applications, it also offers different ways of communication. It provides user a way to direct message certain team members, and there are also private groups, where a start-up can keep up to date and receive any notifications.
- Online Conference Management: Doodle & Zoom
While having a conference is crucial for members to be updated and receive the latest notice, often team members will have a busy schedule, and trying to communicate and finding a common time to meet is difficult. Such problem can be solved with Doodle. Doodle makes coordinating a conference extremely easy by allowing team members input their availability in a calendar, and the platform compares availability to set up the best time for everyone. This is extremely helpful among international team members with different time zone.
For online conference, I personally recommend using Zoom. Zoom is a secure and reliable platform for team members to discuss about their start-up. It is the perfect place for video conference with its virtual meeting. While there are many virtual video conference, Zoom is able to hold 100 interactive participants as well as 10,000 view-only attendees. Zoom offers a clear and good quality video with clear audio that improves interactions between team members, and no matter how remote they are, they are still able to communicate through their computer or their mobile devices. The simplicity of how to use Zoom makes it really easy for any startup to manage themselves. There are many similar platforms that I also recommend such as Google Hangout and Skype. However, these platforms may have unclear audio and may cost money.
- Task Management: Trello and Asana
Trello is one of the best tools my team has ever used. Without Trello, we would not be able to hold each other accountable for any tasks. As soon as we have an assignment assigned, we would immediately create a task underneath the categories. In each tasks, we are able to put a due date, decide the urgency of each tasks, and also share documents and files digitally. It is super simple to use, but the amount of organization accomplished from using Trello is significant compared to any other project management platforms.
Asana is a web platform that allows you to organize tasks and assignments between team members. There are options, similar to Trello, that allow you to create project boards and assignment lists. You can even share your team members onto the company’s projects and delegate tasks. Other team members can track each others’ progress, make comments on projects, and set deadlines. Asana is the perfect platform for project management within a team and it’s completely free for the first 10 team members! Trello, an application very similar to Asana, similarly utilizes the board and list features to assign tasks and set project deadlines.
Hopefully, you will also use these tools to improve the management among your startup. Obviously, these are not the only tools you can use, and you may even find another type of tool that is better for your startup. Nevertheless, best of luck to your entrepreneurial journey.