Free Resources for Your Startup
The following post is from Sean O’Neill MBA’18, founder of Hangout, a fall 2016 hatchery business.
Most startups don’t have an office. Some don’t even have a garage. Luckily for all of us, there are many free resources available online to help your team coordinate, plan, organize, and take action no matter where you are located. Here are a few of them.
As free project management tools go, Trello is pretty hard to beat. Trello allows you to create “lists” of individual “cards” (or tasks) for your entire team. You can assign specific team members to specific tasks, assign due dates, attach files, and move cards from one list to another as items are completed (ex: your designer creates a logo, which is then transferred to the tech team’s list to add to your landing page), among many other functions. Best of all, Trello is very simple to use. All the functions are easily visible, and your team only has to use those functions that are helpful to you. Whether you want a simple organizer or a more in depth project management tool, Trello is a great tool for any startup.
Once you have your project management all set up with Trello, why not get your social media management similarly organized with Hootsuite? Hootsuite allows you to integrate all your startup’s social media accounts into a single dashboard, from which you can monitor all of their interactions, including posts, messages, mentions, etc. Scheduling future posts is a breeze, and you can attach image files or other media into your posts all through Hootsuite’s scheduling tool. Finally, Hootsuite offers a good deal of analytics, allowing you to track how your social media activities all in one consolidated location.
While management tools are great, sometimes your team needs to communicate in real time. That’s where Slack comes in. Slack offers a robust messenger service that can be used across all your devices, with easy to set up notifications to let you know when there are new messages requiring your attention. Need to send someone a document? You can just drag and drop it into Slack to share it with your team. Need to speak to just one or two team members instead of a whole group? You can create a private channel for that team, or otherwise segment out your team’s communications into different “channels” for different teams (i.e. a “marketing” channel, R&D channel, sales channel, etc).
Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO (www.moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo):
Most startups don’t have a huge budget for marketing. So if you’re looking to maximize your startup’s organic traffic, you need good SEO. If you don’t know SEO, and want to avoid the murky world of SEO “consultants”, there is no better introductory guide than Moz’s Beginner’s Guide. Broken down into easily understood segments (i.e. “How Search Engines Operate”, “Keyword Research”, “Measuring and Tracking Success”), Moz’s guide provides step by step instructions on best practices for optimizing your website for organic traffic.
What’s the best part of all these products? They’re all free, and you can just use the ones that make sense for your team. Have a lot of people working independently that need to be able to communicate? Try Slack. Have a lot of tasks to coordinate and complete? Give Trello a shot. Just looking to get a sense of how to generate some organic traffic for your startup’s new site? Give the Moz guide a read. Who knows, you might just find yourself using them in your daily life too!