When I started building companies in the '90s, the only tools designed to help startups grow were "productivity apps" like Microsoft Office and Quickbooks. They were helpful, but they only solved very basic problems like math, bookkeeping and letter writing.
They didn’t address high-level stuff like ideation, analytics, hiring, CRM (customer relationship management), time tracking, project management, customer feedback and—gulp!—employee motivation and feedback. If you wanted software to do those things, you needed to hire three or four people and customize software packages, which typically started in the six-figure-and-up range.
Today? Today you can have all eight of those functions for—wait for it—under $1,000 a month. Most importantly, they can each be set up and learned in under a day, and managed by existing team members—without dedicated staff—in a couple of hours a month.
Here are my four favorite startup tools:
1. TheResumator: This SaaS offering takes resumes out of Gmail and Excel spreadsheets, cleans them up and organizes them. You simply send potential candidates to a URL to upload their resumes and then the workflow takes over, with your team members categorizing, rating and scheduling interviews.
My favorite feature? You can require candidates to answer a couple of questions before they are allowed to upload their resume. This reduces the number of “drive-by applications” and tells you if people can think on their feet.
2. Harvest: Time tracking is a very touchy subject in the employment space, and you have to be very, very careful implementing it if you’re not in advertising, legal or consulting (where it’s standard). Time tracking asks team members to report on which projects and tasks they are working on down to the quarter hour.
Read the rest of this post on American Express OPEN Forum, where it was originally published, and post your comments there, too.