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by • September 24, 2014 • Tools & frameworksComments (9)29610

Tool and resource list for new founders

A braindump of the tools I frequently turn to for my projects. Some of these are super obvious, but I wanted to make a comprehensive list, so I put them in anyway. Others are more unusual.

Analytics

  • Google Analytics – free and good enough for all your analytics needs
  • Google Keyword Planner – see how many people are searching relevant terms
  • Facebook Ads – use the targeting options to compare the approximate size and location of various interests and demographics

Talking to customers

  • Intercom – tasteful chat and help widgets for your site, plus good automated email triggers
  • Drip – email courses and signup widgets for your site
  • Mailchimp – newsletters and decent signup widgets
  • Buffer – easier way to run your twitter and facebook accounts

Team collaboration

  • Slack – chat and messaging to reduce internal email load, with one room per major project
  • Github – repository for your source code plus task lists and collaboration with your developers
  • Dropbox – all company files should be here, not on email attachments or personal folders
  • Streak – simple CRM plugin for gmail to manage and share your sales leads
  • Trello – digital kanban board for project management
  • Basecamp – I use it for project management with external teams who don’t know our Trello workflow
  • Stormboard – digital sticky notes for remote brainstorming and workshops
  • Meldium – team password sharing and management

Domains

Payments

  • Square (US) or iZettle (elsewhere) – accept credit card payments with your phone, e.g. for market stalls and contractors
  • Stripe - best payment processing online
  • GoCardless (UK) – accept direct debit payments
  • Gumroad - easily sell digital files like PDFs, videos, and links

Physical products and print-on-demand

  • Createspace - upload a PDF, sell a printed book via Amazon
  • Newspaper Club - ever wanted your own newspaper?
  • The Game Crafter - prototype and sell your board and card games
  • Shapeways - high quality 3d printing in a wide range of materials including gold and silver (for jewelry) and ceramics (for household goods); great for prototyping and market-testing physical products
  • Alibaba - cut out the middle man and buy anything you want directly from the manufacturer; if you’ve ever wanted a 40’ shipping container full of go karts, this is the place for you

Building websites

  • Squarespace – visual site builder with good themes and integrations with stores, payments, newsletters, etc
  • Strikingly – easy site builder for nice single-page sites like manifestos, personal/company pages, or landing pages
  • Shopify – for ecommerce and online stores
  • Themeforest – if you need something custom, start by buying a $30 theme and editing it

Art

People

  • Fiverr – pay $5 (or a bit more) for tasks ranging from logo design to copywriting
  • 99designs – crowdsource design tasks (especially logos) for a few hundred dollars
  • elance – various freelancers (assume you’ll hire several for trial projects before finding good ones)
  • Clarity.fm – pay-by-the-minute advice from various startup specialists
  • Dribbble – browse designer portfolios, many of whom also freelance

Phones

  • TextIt – create SMS applications without programming (e.g. for the developing world)
  • Twilio – makes phone calls and SMS as easy to program as websites

Legals

  • Docracy – open source legal documents
  • Companies Made Simple (UK) – set up and manage a UK corporation for £19
  • Duedil (UK) – nice interface over companies house interface to research industry and competitors

Learning

News

Investors

  • f6s – listing of all accelerator programs (and lots of other info) and a social network for startups and angels
  • AngelList – social network and funding platform for startups and angels
  • Capitallist – like Angellist, but focused on London and the UK
  • The Funded – reviews and testimonials of investors from the founders’ perspective; do your investor due diligence here

Crowd funding

  • Crowdcube (UK) – equity crowd funding
  • Seedrs (UK) – equity crowd funding
  • Kickstarter – crowd-fund via pre-selling your products
  • Indiegogo – crowd-fund via donations with a focus on arts and creative projects, including some which aren’t allowed on KickStarter

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9 Responses to Tool and resource list for new founders

  1. Nick Dellis says:

    Awesome list. I’m a bit biased, but I think Weebly totally makes the list of great website builders. (full disclosure: I run business development at Weebly). :).

    • robfitz says:

      Haha, yes, Weebly is great and I’ve happily used it before. I didn’t want to go down the rabbit’s hole of “every good startup resource”, so just went with the ones I regularly use myself these days.

  2. Mary says:

    Rob, This is the most valuable advice I’ve received so far for entrepreneurs. Some of these are exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thx!
    I love your posts, but it took me a while to find your name on your website. ;) And I didn’t find it anywhere in your email. Make it easy and fast for us to see who you are! You do such a great job.
    cheers
    Mary

  3. David says:

    Thanks a lot Rob.
    This is very useful for web entrepreneurs and others too ;)
    Where would you put GetSmily’s Emolytics (full disclosure: I am the co-founder)?
    We provide a simple yet engaging solution to gather user experience feedback based on emotions…
    Thanks for your feedback

    David Hachez

  4. Asim says:

    Thanks for this Rob – its very useful especially for the tech/startup novices. I really enjoyed your SMBA course last weekend and would recommend to anyone looking to take the plunge. You will learn the speed version of everything you need to know from someone with first hand experience.

    (full disclosure: I have nothing to plug, sell or advertise………….yet!)

  5. Awesome list Rob! Found multiple gems I hadn’t heard of yet – great.

    Came across a cool chrome extension by the way on Product Hunt. It’s called “Point” and I’ve been using it a lot to ‘point’ to and comment on relevant sites with other Lexoo team members. The main benefit is that you can have a conversation about the content ‘on the page’, as opposed to having to keep going back and forth in your e-mail. Worth checking out.

  6. Hugh Hopkins says:

    There are way more analytics tools for startups that have free or startup tiers. Such as:

    - mixpanel.com – great for event based analytics
    - https://www.gosquared.com/ – best for accurate real-time analytics (disclosure I work at GoSquared)
    - Visual Website Optimiser – for a/b testing
    - https://keen.io/ – API based
    - http://piwik.org/ – open source (you have to run on your own hardware)

    Just a few more to look at ;)