Michelle Atagana, Managing Editor of Ventureburn, recently compiled a list of “eight essential tools that every start-up arsenal should have.” Each tool addresses a critical aspect of launching and growing a business, from business planning to marketing. Here’s what Atagana says should be on your must-have list:
- LaunchRock. This tool will help you build a pre-launch website that you can customize for your company’s needs. It also includes features for branding and design, mobile development and crowdfunding strategy.
- MailChimp. For companies bogged down in the time-consuming process of e-mail marketing, MailChimp offers a “forever free” package with about 40 features to explore, including personalized forms, designer templates, social sharing and different types of analytic tools suited to your startup’s needs. Using the free plan, you can send up to 12,000 e-mails per month to 2,000 subscribers. “That’s pretty cool when you’re just starting out,” Atagana writes.
- Easel.ly. This infographic maker can help give your blog posts some life and color, with a variety of graphic themes to choose from. “Just follow the easy steps the service provides,” says Atagana, “and you’ll soon be making great, informative graphics.”
- Grader.com. This site should be a boon to most start-ups, as they often have a tenuous grasp on marketing and how to measure their efforts. The tools featured on grader.com include Marketing.Grader, which evaluates the efficiency of your entire marketing channel; Twitter.Grader, a tool to measure your reach, power and authority on Twitter; and Search.Grader, which helps you understand the keywords your site is ranked on, and how good your SEO is.
- Enloop. Atagana calls this one of the most important tools on the list — a business plan service. “The process of writing a business plan can be tedious and complicated,” she writes. Enloop helps entrepreneurs with a step-by-step guide to solidifying and executing their plan. “In essence, the service writes the plan for you,” says Atagana. “All you need to do is feed it the right information.”
- Echosign. This tool is specifically for companies whose members work in different parts of the world. It allows you to send, electronically sign, track and file documents securely.
- Expensify. “Start-ups can’t really afford accountants,” writes Atagana. That’s where Expensify comes in; it tracks your company expenditures, handles your bank statements, and, according to Atagana, “it makes expense reports that don’t suck.”
- Wunderlist. Over three million people are using this task manager. “If you are having trouble setting and following through on tasks for your new company, then you need Wunderlist,” Atagana advises.
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