10 Useful Guides to the Best Tech Tools for Startups in 2017

Last Updated: November 8, 2017

These best selling guides to 10 great tech tools for startups are indispensable if you want to spend more time developing your business, and less time bogged down in mundane tasks.

tools for startups
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Building a startup is a daunting task, so it’s important to stay organised and make sure you’re keeping track of every aspect of your business. Luckily, there are plenty of tech tools out there designed to help entrepreneurs which can take a lot of the pressure off; content management tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox and WordPress; sharing and marketing platforms; and specific products such as Salesforce. Of course, it takes time to to learn how to use these, and the following guides will serve as indispensable primers to these tech tools for startups. All will help the beginner get off the ground, and assist in keeping the more seasoned user on track.

 

 

10 Guides to the Best Tech Tools for Startups

1. ‘Google Drive: A Beginner’s Guide’

Image Source: Amazon

Google Drive is a great tool for unpredictable startup life. It enables you to access your files on the web, on your hard drive, and while travelling. This makes it one of the indispensable tech tools for startups It also allows your teams to collaborate from different corners of the globe in a more efficient way than email.

This platform offers so much more than online and offline storage, access and sharing.Google Drive is also fantastic for research, enabling the user to access Google search as a sidebar.

There are drawing tools, enabling you to enhance your documents with sketches and illustrations, and to create electronic signatures. And if you need to illustrate your documentation with legal and high quality stock imagery, this process is fully integrated into Google Drive. You can search Google’s own stock collection, the LIFE magazine library and elsewhere on the web.

Google Drive’s OCR (Optical Character Recognition) facility allows you to scan a picture using your smartphone and convert any text on the image into searchable characters: extremely handy if you are looking for specific information on bills or receipts. And if you like to listen to music as you work, then the integrated Music Player is great for accessing songs stored on Google Drive.

Steven Dota’sGoogle Drive: A Beginner’s Guide takes novices through the basics with a plethora of tips on working on- and off-line with Google Drive to benefit your business. It’s a comprehensive guide that will get you off the ground with one of the great tech tools for startups.

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2. ‘Dropbox Essentials’

 

 

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Dropbox is perhaps the best-known file sharing tool in the world, and for good reason. It provides a secure home for your business’s most important information. It allows you to share, sync and backup your files, making teamwork easier. The combination of security and fluid shareability makes it one of the great IT tools for startups. The software is used by over 4 million businesses already, allowing the transfer of huge chunks of data.

Launched in 2007, Dropbox has evolved, in the company’s own words, into “a modern workspace designed to reduce busywork – so you can focus on the things that matter”. In 2017, the company smashed the 500m users milestone, with at least 1.2bn files uploaded daily, and no fewer than 100,000 shared folders and links created every hour. At least 3.3bn sharing connections have been created on Dropbox, and more than 20 languages are supported, enhancing the platform’s attractiveness to business and startups. Dropbox has at least 8m business customers (paying and non-paying) and no fewer than 200,000 paying customers. (Data Source: DMR Business Statistics)

Little wonder that even in 2015, Dropbox was one of the world’s most valuable startups:

Infographic: The World's Most Valuable Startups | Statista

Data Source: Statista

Bill Gallagher’s Dropbox Essentials is indispensable if you’re still using USB keys and flash drives, or even CDs to deliver and store your data or backup important business data. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of cloud storage, this is your way in. Once you cross this threshold, you will never look back!

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3. ‘Salesforce CRM – The Definitive Admin Handbook’

 

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The ‘Salesforce economy’ will enable 1.9m new jobs and $389bn in new revenue by 2020.

Customer-Relations Management is a crucial area for any new business, so it’s important to have the right tools aiding you.

Salesforce develops brilliant CRM solutions, providing business software on a subscription basis.

Salesforce’s speciality packages include sales, service, marketing, community, analytics, apps and the Internet of Things.

Salesforce.com launched in 1999 as one of the world’s first companies to deliver software via online subscription. It has grown to be one of the most respected and highly valued US-based cloud computing companies.

According to the global market intelligence provider International Data Corporation (IDC) in a 2016 White Paper on Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners and customers to local economies, the ‘Salesforce economy’ will enable 1.9m new jobs and $389bn in new revenue by the end of 2020.

The effectiveness of Salesforce’s CRM solutions is evident in the company’s steadily revenue growth worldwide between 2011 and 2015.

Statistic: Global revenue from customer relationship management (CRM) software by vendor from 2011 to 2015 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista

Data Source: Statista

Of course, you will want to get the most out of these amazing solutions, and with the third edition of Paul Goodey’s best-selling guide, Salesforce CRM – The Definitive Admin Handbook, you won’t put a foot wrong.

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4. PowerPoint: ‘Beyond Bullet Points’

 

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Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the all-time great presentation aids, and the strength of Cliff Atkinson’s brilliant Beyond Bullet Points is that it properly focuses on PowerPoint as an aid; a complement to the real meat of your pitch, which is your presentation style and ability to hold the attention of an audience.

According to 2014 research by Ian Parker in The New Yorker magazine, there are more than 30m PowerPoint presentations created every day in business and education, and people spend approximately 15m person hours per day viewing presentations (either in actual presentations or individually, on- or off-line).

By 2016, as we can see below in an infographic by Poll Everywhere, the usage level of PowerPoint has increased considerably within just two years.

Infographic Source: PollEverywhere.com

In Beyond Bullet Points, communications expert Atkinson shows you how to harness the power of effective storytelling, with subtle slides that do not distract.

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5. ‘The Unofficial Book on Hootsuite’

 

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Social media is an integral part of creating buzz about your brand, but with the busy-ness of startup life it can be hard to manage multiple accounts and platforms.

Hootsuite provides a solution by streamlining all your accounts to a user dashboard (and supporting integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and more), while also improving security and giving you insightful analytic information.

Created by Ryan Holmes in 2008, the Vancouver-based HootSuite has grown over the past decade to become one of the great one-stop social media tools for startups. The platform has more than 15m users worldwide, including more than 800 of the world’s Fortune 1000 companies. Here is a handy video tutorial for beginners

Video Source: Hootsuite on YouTube

If this attracts your interest as the owner of a startup or SME, it would be advisable to pick up Mike Allton’s brilliant The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management.

It’s a low-cost primer, clearly setting out all of the main points you need to know for coordinating a multiple-platform social media campaign.

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6. ‘How to Use MailChimp for Beginners’

 

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Email marketing is one of the great areas of debate within the modern business arena. While certain campaigns are frequently lauded for their effectiveness—such as the first ever mass email campaign in 1978 by Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corporation that created $13m worth of sales—measuring the effectiveness of all campaigns is hampered by the difficulty in defining target markets.

And while email marketing enables efficiency to be more easily measured and improved, and to assess and act on real-time feedback from users, a mass email campaign, according to some doubters, does not carry the same potential for personal connection as more traditional methods, such as TV advertisements.

Over the course of the 2010s, this debate has been played out in data sets of business usage. This graph from Statista on marketing budgets for email marketing in the UK shows a decline in the number of firms spending more than 50 percent, but an increase in firms spending 0-20 percent on email marketing. However, there has been only a comparatively marginal tailoff in the number of firms spending 21-40 percent of their marketing budgets on email.

Statistic: What percentage of your marketing budget is spent on e-mail? | Statista

Data Source: Statista

For anyone new to email marketing, Adam Netherlund’s book, the aptly titled How to Use MailChimp for Beginners, is a fantastic primer in the subject. It’s a great introduction to the fundamentals of email marketing, as well as a no-nonsense guide around the different MailChimp templates available for newsletters, automated messages and targeted campaigns.

Integration with many different e-commerce platforms means that MailChimp can send your customers emails tailored to their preferences and purchasing patterns. If you are intrigued, Netherlund’s book is a great starting point.

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7. ‘Social Media Research & Analysis’

 

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Social listening is not a tool, but a discipline and a mindset. It can be difficult to gauge how well your brand is performing online, not only creating a niche for monitoring tools like Brand24, but also an entire school of thought: that’s social listening and social media monitoring.

According to We Are Social, there are currently 2.8bn social media users worldwide. That’s equivalent to 37 percent penetration, with approximately 1m new mobile social users added every day. Here are the latest facts and figures from the joint We Are Social / Hootsuite Digital In 2017 Global Overview.

Image Source: We Are Social / Hootsuite / SlideShare

It’s unsurprising that social media is such a crucial part of digital communication, because it’s a low-cost means of reaching out to target markets, and it delivers measurable results.

Of the many guides and papers written, Amy Jauman’s book, Social Media Research & Analysis, is an excellent starter on how to use social media platforms to identify what influences consumer behaviour; track analytics; interpret findings and make adjustments to optimise your performance; as well as using keywords to find your core audience and identifying the measurable social media results.

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8. ‘From Spark to Finish: Running Your Kickstarter Campaign’

 

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Kickstarter has received almost $3.38bn in pledges to fund the launch of 378,662 projects.

The toughest aspect of getting a business off the ground is finding enough money to fund it, so it pays to look for alternatives.

Kickstarter is the biggest crowdfunding platform in the world for creative projects, so if your business is involved in design, photography, music, games or art it could be a great way to find donors to finance your startup.

In a world where traditional investment funding can be tricky to secure, Kickstarter campaigns have become a viable option for many small businesses and startups.

Kickstarter was launched in April 2009. According to the Kickstarter website in 2017, the company has received almost $3.38bn in pledges from 13.8m backers, to fund the launch of some 378,662 projects in a diversity of creative spheres, including film, music, stage, comics, journalism, gaming, IT and food.

If you’re new to crowdfunding, then you should read MCA Hogarth’s From Spark to Finish: Running Your Kickstarter Campaign.

In her first year using Kickstarter, Hogarth ran four campaigns; all successfully, and all over-funded, some by an order of greater than 400%. All-right, then; enough said, we think!

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9. ‘Instagram for Business’

 

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Instagram has a global community of 800m users, and there are 2m monthly advertisers on the platform.

There are tons of things you can do to grow your business on the big three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, you must keep abreast with the latest innovations on other platforms to get the most out of social media.

Instagram in particular has emerged as a particularly potent way of relating your message through visual storytelling.

Launched in 2010 and developed by Facebook, Instagram now boasts a global community of 800m users.

Instagram’s phenomenal business potential is evident in a September 2017 tally of 2m monthly advertisers, and a breathtaking growth rate.

Six months earlier, there were half this amount of monthly advertisers.

Increasingly, Instagram is the place where people watch photographs and collect and distribute still images. There was an 80 percent increase in the amount of time spent watching video on Instagram compared with 12 months earlier.

Businesses are making the most of new formats such as Instagram Stories to connect with their markets.

This great little guidebook, Instagram for Business , will show you how to turn the first page on this latest chapter for your business.

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10. ‘WordPress for Beginners’

 

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WordPress is powering almost 75m websites; more than a quarter of all sites on the internet.

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management platform, so consider it seriously if you need a business website.

The platform provides thousands of themes and plugins for easy customisation to your needs.

WordPress makes web-design accessible to all, so it’s one of the essential tech tools for startups.

On May 27, 2003, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little released the first version of WordPress.

By its 10th anniversary, the open source blogging tool was powering 66m websites, including some of the internet’s most high profile entities, ranging from TechCrunch to CNN.

The most recent data for 2017 shows that WordPress is powering almost 75m websites. That’s more than a quarter of all websites in the world.

More than 409m people are viewing more that 23.6bn pages per month, and users are generating more than 69.5 pages of content and 46.8m new comments every month.

For newcomers who need a guide to the nuts and bolts, check out Andy Williams’s WordPress for Beginners. It’s a fantastic introduction to the system.

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