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Best Productivity Tools for Early-Stage Startups

Posted on Monday, June 18th 2012. Written by Michal Ugor
I am entrepreneur who occasionaly blogs on this website. I run BoomLink a London based creative technology company. You can follow my updates at @fortunepick
We've put together a list of all the tools you'll likely need  in the early stage of your startup, up to the point you'll take off and need to focus on different stuff. This isn't the most comprehensive list of web based tools available, we instead focused on listing the 3-5 of the best tools for each category. ( What's the point of flooding you with 50 email marketing tools if you'll only use the one that performs the best, right? ) 

Books to read

2. Rework by 37 Signals
3. Information Rules by C. Shapiro and H. R. Varian
4. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingsotne
5. 
Nail It Then Scale It by P. Ahlstrom and N. Furr


Sites to use

Offline tools

1. Whiteboard
2. Pen and paper
3. Headphones
4. Post-it
5. Smartphone


Finding a domain name

1. Lean Domain Search ( find a name based on the keyword )
2. Wordoid (helps to create a name that sounds good)
3. Bust a Name (slightly different approach to naming your domain)
4. Name Station (hold a name contest)


Wireframing



Surveys

1. Surveymonkey (Free)
2. Pick-fu A/B test approach to market research (50 responses for $10)
3.
Google Surveys
4.
Qualaroo Insights Collect feedback on your website


Launching soon page

1. Launchrock Viral lauching soon page (Free)
2. Unbounce By far the best software for building landing pages (Free for 1 page)
3. Launch Effect Wordpress theme for viral launches
4. Prefinery Full beta management system
5. Bootstrap CSS framework for those who like more control over the looks


Sites to promote for beta users


more sites here


User Testing

1. Usabilla Gain design feedback
2. UserTesting
3. Fivesecondtest
4.
Startuplift


Pitch Deck

1.
Slideshare
2.
Sliderocket 
Slideshare with a nicer look
3.
Prezi For more creative visualization


Affordable product demo videos

1. PowToon Free animated videos
2. Goanimate Create animated videos for free
2. Animoto Free for up to 30 seconds (or $2.50 p/m)
3. Wyzowl Product demo videos from $475


Analytics

1.
Google Analytics Duh..
2.
Kissmetrics Actionable metrics
3.
Clicky Real time analytics


Funding

1. Angel List (Investor search)
2. Gust (Investor search)
3. Kickstarter (Crowdfunding)
4. Rockethub (Crowdfunding)

more crowdfunding sites here


Outsourcing

1. Odesk General freelance work
2. Elance General freelance work
3. 99designs Design
4. Crowdspring Design
5.
Folyo Better Professional Design


Project management

1. Asana ( Free )
2. Trello ( Free )
3. Flow
4. Remember the milk
5. Producteev


Personal Productivity

1.
pomodoro.me / focusboosterapp - Time tracking (Pomodoro Technique)
2. Wunderlist To-do-lists
3. Stayfocused Manage distractions
4. Evernote Get organized
5. Mindmeister Mindmapping


Socialmedia

1. Buffer Schedule your posts
2. Hootsuite Social media dashboard
3. Tweeriod Determine the best tweeting times
4. If This Then That Auto-manage twitter
5.
Pagemodo Facebook page design ($6 p/m)


Create infographics


Email marketing

1. Amazon SES 100x cheaper then all other options, if your are not technical use Sendy app
2. Madmimi - Great software, best pricing
3. Activecampaign Email and social media
4. Sendgrid
5. Mailchimp ( Free for up-to 2000 contacts )


A/B Testing

1.
Visual Website Optimizer probably the best A/B testing tool
2.
Optimizely
3.
Google website optimizer (Free)


Livechat

1. Olark Probably the best livechat, nice design
2. Snapengage


Cloud storage

1. Google Drive ( 5GB free )
2. Dropbox ( 2GB free )
3. Box ( 5GB free )


Accounting

1.
Wave Accounting ( Free )
2.
Tradeshift Free and simple invoicing
3.
Xero Accounting ( from $19 p/m )


CRM

1. Pipedrive - Simple, minimalist, easy to use. Best paid option.
2. Base - Free for up to 150 contacts. They're not very transparent about further pricing though. If you know you will need over 150 contacts, make sure you check out premium pricing with them before you spend all the time uploading details of your leads. It's still a great product.
3. SugarCRM - Free opensource version
4. Nimble - Social CRM





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