If you run a startup or other business in the midst of growth, you picked a hell of a time to embark on your entrepreneurial journey. We’ve reached a point in the global marketplace where the tools and products out there designed to help you manage your company are virtually limitless.
The question then becomes: Where to begin?
The landscape of business resources is vast and weeding through the internet is time consuming… so we did it for you! As of April 2016, here’s a comprehensive list of resources you should know about, from marketing to sales to teamwork to legal help and beyond:
Who couldn’t use some help getting things done? For growing companies that may lack full-time administrative staff, these tools aren’t just productivity hacks—they may end up becoming necessities for your business.
What it is/does: An app that simplifies scheduling across teams, clients, and prospects.
How to use it: Use it for free.
What it is/does: An artificial intelligence that handles back and forth scheduling conversations for you.
How to use it: Sign up for beta access.
GETTING OFF THE GROUND
What it is/does: The U.S. Small Business Administration, dedicated to providing support for small, growing businesses.
How to use it: Check out the SBA’s suite of tools.
What it is/does: If This Then That—integration between an extensive and growing number of apps, helping you save time and automate work processes.
How to use it: Sign up for free.
What it is/does: Smarter email management designed to clear inbox clutter, and the best available replacement for the recently discontinued app Mailbox.
How to use it: Download it for iPhone.
What it is/does: An extension for Google Chrome that allows you to enlarge, browse, and manipulate thumbnail images in their full size without opening a new tab.
How to use it: Download it for free on the Chrome Web Store.
What it is/does: An app that helps you break bad habits and avoid distractions by limiting access to websites on all your devices.
How to use it: Start a free trial or sign up for a monthly, yearly, or lifelong plan here.
What it is/does: A community that offers recommendations for the best places to work remotely in over 300 cities.
How to use it: Clock in.
What it is/does: A travel management solution that enables you to access and share your itinerary on the go.
How to use it: Sign up for a free plan or try TripIt Pro (with more features such as alternative flight options and refund notifications) here.
From building a social media community to corresponding with influencers in your industry and the media, there’s always another marketing opportunity ahead. These tools help you automate your marketing workflow and enhance the quality of your message.
What it is/does: Automatically queue and re-share social media posts on a customized schedule across a variety of platforms.
How to use it: Get started for free.
What it is/does: See and manage all your Twitter and Instagram followers and unfollowers in one place.
How to use it: Log in with Twitter or Instagram.
What it is/does: Monitor what people are saying about your brand or keywords throughout the web and social media.
How to use it: Prepackaged plans range between $29–$99, but you can start a free trial.
What it is/does: One of the most popular email marketing platforms, as well as one of the best.
How to use it: Sign up for free.
Foundation for Emails by ZURB (Formerly Ink)
What it is/does: A library of easy-to-use and easy-to-edit responsive email templates.
How to use it: Download all the templates.
What it is/does: Help A Reporter Out—get daily emails compiling journalists’ requests for story and interview subjects.
How to use it: Sign up as a source.
What it is/does: A list of places to submit your business, with a streamlined submission process.
How to use it: Check it out and see additional plans and pricing information here.
What it is/does: Shows you your contacts’ LinkedIn profile information within your email exchanges.
How to use it: Add it to Gmail.
What it is/does: Software and a platform that lets you find and share content with a focus on growth.
How to use it: Request a live demo.
Rebel Discovery by RebelMouse
What it is/does: A CMS plugin that shows you opportunities for expanding your reach and targeting your audience.
How to use it: Request a demo.
What it is/does: LinkedIn’s blogging platform—a great way to stay in touch with thought leadership and improve your networking and search performance.
How to use it: Get started writing from your LinkedIn profile.
What it is/does: A leading publishing platform for individuals, businesses, and news outlets.
How to use it: Sign up for free.
DATA AND ANALYTICS
What it is/does: An unbeatable tool for tracking website traffic data.
How to use it: Sign up.
What it is/does: One of the most robust advertisement planning and audience targeting tools available, Facebook Ads pulls demographic and psychographic data from more than 1 billion users.
How to use it: Sign in with your Facebook profile and start building an ad to get a glimpse of your potential reach and audience details—or simply run a campaign through Facebook.
What it is/does: Full-featured, cloud-based affiliate tracking software.
How to use it: Try it for two weeks ($69/month thereafter).
Whether you have a designer on staff, work with contractors, or do it yourself, you’ll want to take advantage of the plethora of free assets, utilities, and libraries out there complied for and by design professionals.
What it is/does: Canva is a web-based drag and drop design platform that makes it easy to create clean graphics and designs using built in templates for the most common use cases.
How to use it: Get started here for free. Optional: upgrade to business for ~$9/month with better sharing capabilities and branding customization.
What it is/does: The world’s largest online software development and hosting service.
How to use it: Sign up for free to host open-source code (private repositories range from $7/month to $2500/year)
What it is/does: The world’s largest database of user interface designs.
How to use it: Start browsing.
WebsiteSetup.org CMS comparison chart
What it is/does: Find out which CMS—Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal—is best for your website.
How to use it: Check out the chart and read more here.
What it is/does: A popular marketplace for logo, web, and graphic design, with lots of competitively-priced options for contests.
What it is/does: A place for designers to show off their work, get feedback, and find clients.
How to use it: Browse the galleries or check out Freebbble to see the latest free designs.
What it is/does: A place to browse and purchase hundreds of thousands of services in categories such as digital marketing, writing and translation, music and audio, programming, advertising, and more.
How to use it: Search for what you’re looking for here.
Death to the Stock Photo
What it is/does: Free, high-resolution photos you can use for any purpose, delivered to your inbox each month.
How to use it: Sign up.
What it is/does: Over 65 million royalty-free photos you can buy, license, or use for free.
What it is/does: More free, high-resolution photos emailed to you every 10 days.
How to use it: Subscribe or browse.
What it is/does: Lets you create animated videos to take your presentation or pitch to the next level.
How to use it: Create your first video with a free two-week subscription ($7–$199/month thereafter).
What it is/does: Lets you highlight, clip, and share the best parts of your YouTube videos to increase customer and audience engagement.
How to use it: Copy and paste your video URL.
What it is/does: A video library of stock footage, motion backgrounds, and templates.
How to use it: Buy a monthly or yearly a subscription ($79/month, $99/year, or $198/year for access to premium content and features).
ICONOGRAPHY AND TYPOGRAPHY
Lost Type Co-op
What it is/does: A collaborative foundry offering free-to-use fonts.
How to use it: Simply browse and download.
WhatTheFont by MyFonts
What it is/does: A tool for identifying typefaces.
How to use it: Upload an image of the mystery font.
What it is/does: An enormous database of free vector icons available in multiple formats.
How to use it: Search or browse.
What it is/does: From the makers of Font Awesome, a tool for building and managing branded icons and CSS sets.
How to use it: Sign up for free (paid plans between $49/month and $99/month).
As more and more teams at growing companies work remotely, digital collaborative tools have become a necessity. Here are a few your team will love.
PLANNING AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
What it is/does: Web-based sticky notes for collaboration, brainstorming, project management, and administration.
How to use it: Sign up for free (paid plans at $9/month per user).
What it is/does: Digital inspiration and mood boards designed for conceptualization and imagination exercises.
How to use it: Start an account for free (paid plans at $9/month per user).
What it is/does: A collaborative online mind-mapping tool for creative meetings and planning sessions.
How to use it: Create up to three mind maps for free (paid plans range between $6/month and $15/month).
CONVERSATION AND COLLABORATION
What it is/does: The contemporary standard for online team collaboration and communication.
How to use it: Create a new team and invite collaborators here (free for small teams, $6.67/month to $12.50/month for larger teams and more features).
What it is/does: A project management platform inspired by social networks and designed to boost motivation.
How to use it: Sign up for one of several tiered plans (ranging from $5 per user per month to $47 per user per month).
What it is/does: A project tracking solution that gives team members tasks and graphs progress over time, with Dropbox, Github, Slack, and Google Drive integrations.
How to use it: Get started for free, for up to 15 people (larger teams are billed $8.33 per member per month).
What it is/does: Flexible, shareable, easy-to-use cloud storage.
How to use it: Get started with 2GB of storage space for free (paid plans at $9.99/month for individuals and $15 per user per month for businesses).
What it is/does: Lightweight but powerful video hosting with marketing and editing tools.
How to use it: Host up to three videos for free (paid plans range from $25/month to $100/month based on video capacity) on Wistia’s website
What it is/does: Lets you access all your files in the cloud from one single app.
How to use it: Download it for free.
SEO and Web Optimization
Search engine marketing and optimization shouldn’t be an afterthought. When you’re planning your business’s site, building landing pages, researching the competition, and analyzing your conversion rates, here’s an array of tools that will get the job done.
What it is/does: A top-rated suite of search engine marketing, anal