Thinking about launching a startup next year? You are not alone. There’s never been a better time to start a business, but while there is a great deal of opportunity, there is also a great deal of information out there and it can be hard for startups to know what they need. Although every business is different, nearly every business experiences the same problems when they are first starting up. It often feels, especially to founding teams, that their problems are unique. In doing a little digging, startup founders will find that not only do other founders have the same problems, but people have also created many solutions for those problems.
Creating a culture that fosters open communication is tough, especially when things are just getting going and everyone is spread thin. Talking to one another is one of the most important parts of a successful startup and ensuring that everyone is on the same page is vital to moving things forward at what will often feel like a break-neck speed. There are several communication platforms that will allow you to stay in touch with your co-founders and employees with ease, and the choice can be overwhelming. When it comes to getting started, you want to keep things simple. You can always upgrade later if your team grows or you need a more robust communication software program. Give Slack a try. It’s free for up to 10,000 messages and it integrates with a lot of other software programs.
When it comes to project management, you don’t want to skimp on the details. While a communication platform can be obtained easily and cheaply, project management software can run the gamut of pricing. You’ll find everything from zero dollars to thousands of dollars per year and what it comes to project management software, you get what you pay for. Some of the things to consider in choosing a project management software including what you need now in comparison to what you would need a year or two from now. The reason you want to think about it is that projects will often run longer than anticipated and some larger projects may take up to a year, or more, depending on the kind of business you run. For a great project management software package, try Trello for free. If you want something more robust,cconsider Wrike, which features a Gantt chart for assigning timelines and visual aspects to your projects.
While it might not be something you need think about on day one, there will come a time in your startup’s early life when you’ll need to think about human resources and keeping track of things like employee contracts, vacation time, sick time, benefits, leave, payments, and more. Whether you choose to designate a human resource professional in your organization or not, you’ll still need to make sure that you have your ducks in a row when you onboard your first client. Human resources software is almost always expensive, there are a few exceptions, but similar to project management software, you pay for premium features. When choosing your human resources software, look for ease of use, accessibility (as in, you can reach it in the cloud) and whether or not it can track employee timesheets, if necessary. Check out BambooHR for a great middle-of-the-road option that can grow with your business.
One of the things that can cost a new startup a lot of money right off the get-go is space. Space comes a premium. Every year, the cost of rent goes up and a great deal of money is spent on simply housing your startup. Sowhat do you do if you don’t have a lot of money to throw at $100/square foot for an office space? A lot of startups work remotely from one another, which is a great option, especially with the robust communication and project management tools we have at our disposal these days. But if you run a local operation or have hired people in your immediate area and can’t afford to pay for prime real estate, consider using a co-working space. Co-working is a great option for any business owner, but especially for a startup looking to save money but have a professional place to go.Check out DropDesk to help you find the co-working space that suits your needs. It’s even handy when you are traveling and want to find somewhere to work, other than your hotel room.
There’s no question that you need to get your accounting systems up and running as soon as possible. The truth is that many startups start spending money before they are even a registered business and the sooner you have somewhere to keep track of all of your spending, the better off you and your startup will be. Whether you are a company-of-one or you have 100 employees waiting on day one, you need somewhere to keep track of the money that comes in and goes out of your business. Along with your accounting system, you need an accountant. Don’t skimp on this aspect of your business. Don’t make the mistake of telling yourself you’ll get an accountant later. Get an accountant and some accounting software right away. So which one is best for startups? Really, any accounting software will do the job, but you’ll find that web-based accounting software,such as Wave or QuickBooks is the best.
Whatever it is that you plan to sell or offer as a service, make sure you have these five aspects of your business covered with software that is right for you. Don’t waste time fretting over the details – the software will do that for you. Pick one that seems like it’s a good fit and then find out if it is by using it in your business. If you find you like it, great, but if you feel like there are still gaps in your needs, try something else. It’s the siren song of any startup: try, fail, learn, try again.