There are so many tools out there which can help a founder or a startup team. Tools can make your job a whole lot easier and increase your chances of success by widening your customer reach and engagement for example. Some of these tools have both free and premium/paid versions, but for most tasks, you can find something to help you which won’t cost a penny.
There are some obvious digital tools which nearly everyone uses already today:
Hootsuite, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Buffr, etc.
Beyond those, here are some others which I’ve come across and found useful myself:
If you don’t already know what Kickstarter is – it’s on online crowd funding platform aimed at bringing creative projects to life. You’ll find all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas on there, and indeed plenty of good business ideas have had success through Kickstarter. It can be a cheap (free) way to test the market appetite for your idea, and then get the first funding to actually make something.
The Worth of Web calculator: http://www.worthofweb.com/calculator
This is an interesting web tool which claims to be able to estimate the value of high traffic websites. Its good fun, but I’d take the accuracy with a pinch of salt!
Dribbble describes itself as ‘Show and tell for designers’ and it’s a great place to meet and share with other digital designers. It’s also great for inspiration too!
App Annie is one of the leading app store analytics companies and provides insights into all things mobile. I haven’t yet used any of the paid products, but find some of the free reports and app charts useful.
Tuts+ Design is one of many tutorial websites for courses on design, web development, photography, business etc. They have plenty of free courses to dig through.
(Their blurb): “Use Behance to showcase and discover creative work. We’re on a mission to empower the creative world to make ideas happen.”
Behance is a great site for finding design talent, or just looking through other people’s designs to find some inspiration for your own project.
I use NameChk as a quick and easy tool for finding out if certain domain names are available across all the social media platforms I might possible want to use.
Companies House, Company Webcheck tool: http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/
The first port of call for checking the background on any business (competitor, potential partner, client etc.), or to see if the company name you want is available or taken already. If a company is required to file annual accounts, you can find them through this portal and they usually cost £1 per download.
HSL Picker: http://hslpicker.com/
A useful web design tool for picking out colour schemes in the HSL format.
Hootsuite is the tool I use to manage all of my twitter and social media accounts. Great for organising and scheduling a number of tweets or posts, way in advance of the day you want to release them.
“How to use Hootsuite” (Video): https://learn.hootsuite.com/walkthrough/hootlet
A few articles related to tools you may wish to use:
Entrepreneur – “14 Tools Every Entrepreneur Needs for Managing Social Media”:
Web Blog technologies:
Tools I use on a day-to-day:
A few people have asked me what tools I use on a day-to-day basis to manage my work and develop my ideas. Plenty of people these days rely heavily on digital gadgets and tools, employing a range of mobile Apps etc. to assist their work. Me, I’m a little more pen & paper…
- Moleskine Notepads: for all my notes, brilliant ideas and sketches of course!
- Sketching Pens: for sketching!
- iPhone (5c) & iPod Nano (2nd GEN)
- Adobe Illustrator: I do a lot of wire frames and mock ups of website ideas with this. Good for making your own basic logos and artwork too
- Adobe Photoshop: I’m not a photography pro, so don’t do a huge amount with it – just some basic editing
- Adobe Dreamweaver: built my first HTML and CSS static websites using Dreamweaver
- Axure: A great prototyping and wireframing tool
- MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint: (the toolbox for anyone operating in the windows environment)
- Web Browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Opera, Google Chrome, XAMPP (I keep a version of each installed, for testing websites)
- Hotmail, Gmail, and Skype: I have email accounts coming out of my ears!
- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat
- Google Analytics: to track and see if anyone is actually reading what I’m publishing!
- WordPress, Drupal, JustHost, GoDaddy: I use a mix of CMSs (content management systems) whenever I want to quickly put up a basic website on a template. I seem to be using GoDaddy for domains and JustHost for hosting these days, but no pro in this area.
- Google Maps
- HootSuite: to plan and schedule all my tweets and posts