Tools for Startups
One of the things we’re doing at Bootup is to gather together best practices that we can share with startups and founders. The goal is to get the most bang for your buck, from spending money to spending your time.
When Danny and I decided on the name for Bootup, we had basic systems up and running in something like 3 hours: domain registered at NameCheap, configured for Google Apps for Domains to get email, calendaring, and docs up, and a basic website / blog at WordPress.com.
Even if you have technical people that can setup and run some of these things, your goal is to build your technology / grow your company. For instance, talking to AdHack, I quickly put them on to Unfuddle, a hosted SVN and ticket tracking system. Below are two tools that I love, and that are on the list of sites we encourage startups here to use.
I’ve been organizing a couple of events recently – VinoCamp is coming up August 16th, and BarCamp Vancouver is going to be either September 13th or 27th (you can help decide which date here). For both, I’m using Eventbrite to do registration and sell tickets. I’m evening considering using Eventbrite’s ticket functionality to “sell” sponsorships through their PayPal integration. Gathering registrant information? check. Affiliate links? check. Tracking links? check (Miss604 and TechVibes are neck and neck in sending traffic, BTW). In all, a really great tool for doing free as well as for pay events, although there are a few little changes that I wouldn’t mind seeing.
Which brings me to my next tool: how are you gathering feedback? feature requests? beefs or bugs with your product or service? Seeing a blog post by Vince at Pennyminder reminded me about Get Satisfaction. It provides a way to implement everything from bug reporting to forum discussions about your company or even specific products. While you certainly want to keep in close contact with your early users and respond directly via email, Twitter, blog posts, etc., you can promote Get Satisfaction as a more structured way. For example, a suggestion via email might get the response “Great idea, I’ve added it as a suggestion to our Get Satisfaction page – please tell other people about it if they also think it’s a good idea”. I just added Bootup Labs – you should probably at least claim your company name and monitor it, even if you don’t plan to use it directly.
What other tools can you recommend, and how have you used them? I know there are local Vancouver startups that would fit this bill, like ScribbleWiki.