“Depending on what you need, there’s software for almost everything. In general, there are larger categories of software like marketing, customer service, accounting software, software for project management and analytics.”
From today’s episode you’ll learn:
Hi guys, welcome to the 11th episode of Business Sidekick!
I’m Justyna, LiveChat content writer and every two weeks I interview my guests to get to know more and more about building an online business, avoiding traps and mistakes and get to know how to succeed.
In today’s episode, you’ll listen to the interview with Suzie Blaszkiewicz, writer, and researcher at GetApp. You’ll learn what are the essential tools every startup should implement, and if you don’t have a startup, it still can be a good software checklist for you.
Get ready for a big dose of knowledge!
Hi Suzie, thanks for coming. Can you say something about you and your area of expertize?
Yeah, hi! My name is Suzie, I work for GetApp, I’m a writer here, so I’m basically researching and writing all day about the topics, SaaS and trends in the industry. I focus mainly on customer service, marketing and CRM markets, so kind of the more, let’s say social aspects of business software.OK, so I’m sure that you won’t find my questions difficult. So here comes the first one: can you tell me something about the types of software or applications that are available on the market?
There’s so many types of software available now. Depending on what you need, there’s software for almost everything. I’d say that in general there are larger categories of software like marketing, there’s customer service, there’s accounting software, there’s software for project management, for analytics for anything really.
So if you’re a startup and you’re working in eCommerce, then one of the most important things you need is CMS or kind of a place to host your store, because in that case your online store is your brand. So that means that your website is your brand. So looking for an eCommerce platform that can host your product in a really nice way will be essential for you.
CMS is a content management system that helps you to manage your website's content. The most popular is Wordpress, it works very well for us here at LiveChat, but there are also others like Drupal and Joomla that you can also check.
How does it work? For example, if you want to add an additional product on your website, you can add its picture and description by yourself, without having to touch the website code. Fun, fun, fun!
OK, so let’s imagine that I have a small business, or a startup as you mentioned, and I’m a solopreneur or I hire only a couple of people. I don’t need anything fancy yet, but there surely are apps that can help me to be more productive and do my job better. What would it be?
Well, for most startups, they’re running on a small budget and sometimes no budget at all, and there’s actually a lot of free tools out there that can help you. Some are the things that the people are using already so a productivity suite for example like the Google suite of apps.
It can be super handy because you can do a lot of different things with it like Google Docs, or Google Sheets. You can write things in there, you can share it really easily, so it’s good for collaboration and it’s free. So if you’re using Gmail already for example, this is a really good way to get your team working together.
Google Apps for work is a great starter for every team, but you might also check other productivity apps like Trello or Basecamp. These apps allow you to set up anything from to-do lists to tasks and notes. As all this can be shared with others users, you can always be on track of what your teammates are doing.
Speaking of communication, Suzie also had something to say about emails.
I think at the beginning email is OK, but as your team starts to expand, it’s gonna be really difficult to get everyone on the same page, so there are things like Slack, it’s super popular right now, where people can really collaborate and have a real-time conversations.
It’s like a messaging app but it also allows to share files and they have different channels as well where you have the conversations with larger group of people, not also from the people from other organization, so there you can get your work done a lot quicker.
If you’re just starting your business, you will need to choose a CMS to manage content on your website.
Then, you should create Gmail accounts for yourself and your employees and then start using Google Apps. It’s a free and awesome tool as it allows you to create, edit, and collaborate with others on documents from PC, phone or tablet.
If comes to productivity, I suggest to check out the Wunderlist as it’s a very easy to use to-do list. I use it myself and I like it a lot. Later, you can think about implementing to-do list and project management app for the whole team. You can check out for example Basecamp or Trello.
Last but not least, it’s also good to think about better communication tool than email, especially when comes to internal communication. There are less complicated ones, like Skype, or more advanced, like Slack. It all depends on your budget and your needs.
But if you want to stick with emails, I suggest using Outlook as it’s an irreplaceable email manager. In the past, I was managing a couple of email accounts and I was sending dozens of emails daily and I can confirm that Outlook is great in terms of keeping the track of all discussions.
OK, let’s imagine that I’m starting a business and I’m asking you if you can give me a couple of examples of software that I could start with.
What kind of business?
Let’s say that I’ll be selling jogging shoes.
I’d definitely suggest an email marketing solution so you can connect with your customers, so something like MailChimp, for example, is a great option, they have a free option as well.
That’s great for promotion, right, like newsletters.
Exactly, you want to contact your clients. I’d say maybe some customer service software, because if you’re selling something, you’re likely going to run into customers questions and being able to track these customer queries is really important.
And how about live chat?
Live chat is a great option!
Oh, I’m happy that you’re saying that!
No, but I mean that there are things like live chat that help you to get with customers immediately, you can solve problems like they have or you can use more standard kind of ticketing system, people just want to email you or even if you want to just have a database where you have a section FAQ. People can go to and do a kind of self-service. I think it’s important to have some touch points where consumers can get the whole view.
So the more is your company growing, the more applications you will need. You will have to consider choosing a right application for email management so you can gather your customer’s emails in one place and you’re able to send them email campaigns.
There are applications like MailChimp, GetResponse or Freshmail that will allow you to do so.
If comes to customer service, of course live chat is a great tool. For example, our application is not only a real-time messenger, but it also has a ticketing system built in and keeps track of the team’s performance and customer happiness.
Later, as your business will be growing, you’ll have to think definitely about a CRM. Customer Relationship Management software is very important as it helps to keep track of all interactions that you have with your customers. For example, you can check Salesforce, Insightly or Zoho, which is free to use up to 10 users. So, it’s up to you.
The world of applications is huge, and it’s really difficult to find something that would fit you the best, but this is where websites like GetApp come in handy. It lists all categories of apps, and you can see user reviews so you’ll be able to decide if an application works for you or not.
I hope that with this episode of Business Sidekick I helped you a bit as we were talking about the most popular applications in their categories, both free and paid.
My final word on this topic is always to remember to use password managers like 1Password or Roboform. I don’t know how about you, but I always forget passwords to all apps that I’m using, so I’m happy to store them in one place
That’s all for today, remember that Business Sidekick is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud, so don’t forget to hit the subscribe button! If there is a topic you’d like to listen about, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening, take care!
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