How software can help your startup

Matt Doyle is a Virgin StartUp ambassador and the founder of Launchcloud, who make capturing and analysing data easier for your startup through their innovative technology. Software isn't just something they create - it's also vital for them behind the scenes, helping with communication, automation and more. And there are programs out there that could help your startup too! Here Matt talks about how software could help your startup.

After the distractions of the holiday season, and the New Year celebrations, I’ve been thinking a lot about what has really helped us develop as a startup. I wanted to share with you one aspect that really has proved vital - that aspect is software. When you’re starting out and growing, as a startup you need all the help you can get; that’s why choosing the best software to use is so important.

I’m going to talk about some of the software solutions that I think can be useful to a start-up; in three separate areas, collaboration, communication and automation. I know there are plenty of other aspects to a business, but to me these three are at the centre of everything we do.

Using software to collaborate

Over the years technology has made collaboration in business far easier. Imagine the days when everything was paper-based and think how much more time and effort you would have to put in if that was the case. I, for one, am so thankful it’s not. With the development of technology we got email and the Internet, which meant collaborations were far quicker and more convenient.

Nowadays, software makes collaboration instant which, let’s face it, is just what we need is a world that never seems to stop moving at a fast pace. I don’t think I could live without Google Drive and Dropbox. I work with people in so many different locations and different time zones that being able to just share content, projects and documents is vital to running a successful business. It’s like being in the same room as someone even when you’re in a different city or country.

Making communication easier

I’m not telling you anything new when I say that you can’t run a successful start-up without great communication that works. I’ve started using Slack for business messages, because it just works. It’s a really fast and simple way of communicating within your business and teams. You can set up different channels for different projects, discussions and teams; you can make the channels open or private and you can send direct messages when you need to. As a product it basically has everything you need to make the best use of your time by optimising your communication. I must admit, I also love Evernote, which gives the business something different. All your communications, like notes, papers and stuff you’ve gathered online, are organised and in one place. It’s all synchronized between computer and mobile too.

That’s communication in the business dealt with,  but you want to communicate with customers as well. If this doesn’t work then your business isn’t going to work; it’s as simple as that. The thing with customer communications is they can get messy if you let them. That’s why I like Intercom. It’s so simple and it means that you don’t have to spend a load of time worrying about managing different methods of communication. You can trigger all your emails and messages to customers using this one product.

Automating your business

I’m going to blow my own trumpet a bit at this point, because I know how valuable Launchcloud can be as an automation product. I originally created Launchcloud to enable businesses to collect and analyse the data they needed in a mobile environment, in real-time, in a way they had never been able to do before. The solution has grown into a product that is automated with your other systems so that you have all the vital information and data you need in one place, right at your fingertips. You can see how valuable this level of automation is to a start-up. It saves on the investment of time and resources, and improves efficiency.

In fact, all the software solutions I have mentioned help to improve the efficiency of your business. If you’re not already using them, then you should really give them a try. because they all have a free offering which is great for a start-up.  I’d be interested to hear about how helpful you find them.

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