2012, As our first year as a new startup business has been a busy year for us. We’ve been running an MVP consulting business, an offshore development business for outsourcing for startups, and building multiple in-house products, including the GetViable platform to turn ideas into viable startups.
To streamline the business and the processes, we have settled on the following cloud tools to help collaboration and reduce the time overhead on us so we can focus on growing GetViable.
Customer Relationship Management
We looked at Salesforce.com, Zoho CRM and multiple others and finally settled on CapsuleCRM.
Pros for CapsuleCRM
Simple to use, integrates excellently with Google GMail and provides the right information when you need it, such as a live snapshot of your Sales Pipeline and customer engagement history. Also keeps contacts in sync.
Proposals and Quotations
We looked at various desktop solutions for this and they were simply too cumbersome with limited collaboration. We settled on QuoteRoller, a cloud based proposal management system and never looked back.
Pros for QuoteRoller
Easy to set up proposal templates and pricing, online quote viewing by customers with the ability to download a pdf, logging of which areas customers pay most attention to and when they have viewed. Customers can accept the quote directly and off you go.
Project and Vendor Management
This was the biggest challenge. We wanted the simplicity and collaboration of Basecamp with robust project management tools and a high level view of multiple projects with gantt charts. Enter TeamworkPM.
Pros for TeamworkPM
Very functional with as much or as little detail as you need for the nature of the project, great collaboration features with granular viewing security, excellent reporting, gmail, google drive and dropbox integration and backed by a very supportive and proactive team. It meets our needs for customer, supplier and internal project management.
Daily Task Management
After trying and using tools like Trello and Asana for agile product development and team collaboration, we settled on PivotalTracker.
Pros for PivotalTracker
We use PivotalTracker for the day to day running of GetViable as well as managing our startup platform build and other products. By using PivotalTracker on the web and the handy PivotalBooster app for Mac, we’re able to stay across all the various activities to run our startup, from getting video produced to blogs to press articles to finances. Excellent for non-project based task and better than a task list.
We started out using Freshbooks as it has a small learning curve and is brilliant at one thing — invoice management and collecting payments. The secret sauce is the fact that you can see when a customer has viewed and invoice online which allows you to follow up appropriately. We use Xero for our accounting needs and Xero Australia has a great deal with York Butter factory (the co-working space we operate from) that gives 12 months free access to Startups. Saying this, we’re happy to pay this product. Xero is the only way to manage your startup finances online
Pros for Xero
Bank feeds, auto allocation of expenses, quarterly tax statements, collaboration and invoicing. Xero has recently added online invoicing, so we’ve migrated this from Freshbooks to Xero. Bye, bye Freshbooks.
We outsource everything. This includes freelancing and offshoring across the globe. While we do have 16 companies contracted to do web and mobile development work for us, we wold be remiss not to mention Elance and oDesk as the management tools for this.
Pros for Elance and oDesk
Elance has the best offshoring tools available at the moment. They take a small fee, but they de-risk the transaction and management of the project substantially.
oDesk is improving, but we mainly use their tool for managing ad-hoc freelancers.
Desk.com from Salesforce.com is great. It integrates social channels and email, so is a one-stop solution for online support.
We tested and have paid accounts with IINet, NetRegistry and VentraIp locally in Australia and we definitely prefer VentraIP. Their tools, responsiveness, uptime and service levels are outstanding.
Internationally we only use Amazon Web Services. We spent a frustrating and brief 2 weeks with Rackspace for 3 x the price after our first AWS outage and rapidly moved back to AWS.
Scalability, online management tools, scale, distribution and price.
Source code control
GitHub is the solution for this. No contest.
We use Google Apps for Business for spreadsheets, presentations and documents. Nothing beats true real time, location independent collaboration.
We tried Google Drive when it came out this year, but after the vastly superior experience with Dropbox, it was no contest. Google Drive sync is slow and it often wants to re-sync the entire folder. We went back to Dropbox and are happy, paying customers.
Evernote is the winner here. They constantly improve the software and you can get to it from any device. they recently improved the note sharing features and integrated Skitch for image markup, so a great solution at this stage.
Skype has become unusable for screen sharing this year, so we use Google Hangouts for screen sharing when working remotely, as we often do, and Skype or Mac Messenger for voice. The Apple Messenger service on the desktop is frustrating and clunky, but the voice clarity is best when it works.
This combination has served us well this year and should support us into 2013 as we grow.
Have a fantastic 2013!
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