Essential Resources For Startups
Nobody knows what the ultimate economic impact caused by COVID-19 will be locally or globally. However, with financial crises happening every ten years on average, your startup needs resources to use to give it the best chance of success, whatever obstacles are put in its way.
Economic downturns can provide opportunities for entrepreneurs keen to get a new business operational. For instance, a lot of consumer purchasing slows down, and companies lower the prices of products and services to stimulate buying activity during recessions.
Observant entrepreneurs will take advantage of their buying power and invest in whatever they need for their new business. Plus if you need a loan during an economic crisis, it’s not as hard to get as you may think. Investors often look for alternative assets for their money outside of public markets during economic downturns.
So, keep your business wits about you and proactively turn the disadvantages of economic uncertainty into opportunities for your startup with the following resources.
Incubators, Accelerators, Communities
Support from startup communities like Startup Grind and Young Entrepreneur Council is immensely valuable for the resources they provide new companies including marketing, networking and forums for discussion with like-minded peers and experts.
Incubators and accelerators kick start the commercial viability of a new business, with introductions, networking, investment and mentoring.
User Testing Tools
As soon as your product or service is commercial, i.e. you’re selling it, then you’ll want customer feedback on just about everything from your website, app, or product, to your customer service and support. User testing tools which fall into three main categories product development, marketing, and UX and design and include:
- Surveys and feedback
- Usability testing
How you use the tools is essential, i.e. do you use a subset of your customers or do you use professional testers to do a thorough test and review of everything. User testing tools will vary in cost and features, so you’ll need to research and then choose what will work for your company now and review your requirements as the business matures.
Too many startup owners think they can go it alone. But the truth is, every business needs help from time to time so if you’re not keen on joining a community like the two we mentioned earlier, then a thought leader or mentor is the way to go.
A thought leader is a firm or individual recognized as a subject matter expert or authority in a specialized field whose expertise is often called upon for feedback and comment in white papers.
A simple way to get started is by attending online or in person, conferences, public events, and webinars that have expert speakers. Never say never to yourself eventually becoming a thought leader too!
Accounting Software, CRMs
In this digital day and age, it has never been easier for startup owners to keep up-to-date and accurate accounts. By using accounting software, you can record and process accounting transactions within functional modules like payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and trial balance.
You can also build strategic budgets and forecasts and track your financial performance to make smart data-driven decisions. There is a wide variety of accounting software out there, though. So, shop around and compare software packages to find the right one for your business. Some of the best and most popular accounting software products include QuickBooks, XERO, and Freshbooks.
A CRM is fundamental insofar as it’s software that can manage your interactions and relationships with your intended audience and customer base.
All contact and marketing effort is recorded in your CRM, so you are collating personalized customer data and marketing intelligence for digital marketing and offline marketing and advertising initiatives. This leads us to analysis which can only happen when you’re collecting the data.
You must understand the statistics behind your website visitors so that you can target customers better and make improvements where necessary. But understanding web analytics can be quite confusing for many people. Thankfully, there are many excellent analytics tools that you can employ.
The go-to one is Google Analytics. It’s free and powerful, and usually more than enough for a startup. Other recommended analytics tools include:
- OptinMonster, which is ideal for generating attractive pop-ups and increasing your website’s traffic.
- HotJar, which is the de-facto tool for generating heat maps, so you can see where visitors click and how far down your site’s pages they scroll.
- Mixpanel, which is an excellent tool for tracking actions people take on your website or app.
A startup needs specific resources to support and grow their business. There are hundreds of tools that offer value to companies in one way or another.
While we have not mentioned resources for company websites, this article covers that area. There is never a perfect time to set up a business, however with the right infrastructure and systems, and support its chances of success are greatly improved whatever the market conditions.