Whether you’re thinking about launching a business in 2021 or working on growing one, you probably recognize and understand the importance and value of tools.
The fact is, you can’t do it all on your own – no matter how savvy you are. To build or grow a startup in 2021, you need to invest in tools that can help you optimize, automate, and improve every working part of your business – from sales and marketing to employees and customers.
But here’s the problem: There are a TON of tools out there (and more introduced every day). In marketing alone, you have over 8,000 tools to pick from. How do you know which ones to choose? How do you know which are a waste of time and which can actually help you grow your business and reach your goals?
It’s not easy, but we put a list together to make it a little more manageable. In this post, we’re listing the 50 best startup tools and resources you should consider using in 2021. You might not need all of them at the same time, but we’re guessing at least a handful of these would be beneficial for you to investigate, no matter what stage of development or growth you’re in.
We’ve organized the tools into ten main categories: marketing, sales, data, customer support, project management, productivity, back-office, social, employees, and learning.
Take a look at our list of the 50 best startup tools and resources that will help you grow your startup in 2021.
Marketing Tools for Startups
Use these marketing tools for startups to optimize your online presence and do more with less.
Sumo is a free tool for capturing email addresses and collecting lead information. Take your pick from over a dozen different welcome mats, triggered popups, smart bars, and more. Sumo offers a paid version too, but the freemium is adequate for most startups.
Kissmetrics gives you a comprehensive view of the buyer’s journey and customer behavior. Use the data to create personalized website experiences and reach your leads with more effective content.
Digital ads are a waste of time and money. Content marketing is the best tool startups have for reaching targeted audiences and building brand awareness. AnswerThePublic can help you churn out hundreds of content ideas.
Optimizely is one of the best tools for startups because it helps you create an awesome digital experience (DX) across each platform. This is especially critical with Google’s Core Web Vitals update set to prioritize websites based on DX.
Find the best-performing social media content across all platforms with BuzzSumo.
Startup Tools for Sales
Lead nurturing, understanding the journey, developing presentations, connecting with leads, and more – these sales tools for startups meet every need.
Make automation work for you with customized drip campaigns for SMS and email.
Close is a contact relationship management system built specifically for sales times. Automate where appropriate and boost team communication.
This is an intuitive sales platform for streamlining email campaigns and learning more about your subscribers. Use it to eliminate busy work and get more done.
Use Modus to onboard and train sales reps with relevant content, presentations, product information, and buyer data. Sales reps can optimize their effort in every interaction.
This lets you streamline communication across multiple channels like Facebook Messenger, website chats, and email. Startups can even apply for credits.
Data and Analytics Tools for Startups
Use these data and analytics tools for startups to learn about your audience and engagement.
11. Google Analytics
This is a classic yet powerful tool for analyzing your website traffic and integrating with other tools.
Maptive is an intuitive tool for building custom maps for both internal and external communications. Use Maptive to track audience behavior by location and much more.
This offers both freemium and paid SEO tools for startups to learn about their online reputation and improve their search rankings.
Use Tableau to create data visualizations for sharing with your team or in content.
Google Data Studio is a lesser-known Google product for creating interactive visualizations with minimal data analysis experience.
Customer Support Tools for Startups
Use these startup tools to connect with your customers in 2021.
An all-in-one engagement tool to collaborate from a shared inbox, automate customer interactions where possible, generate reports, and more.
17. Help Scout
Use Help Scout to level up team collaboration with a shared inbox, knowledge base, and more.
This offers custom team collaboration and customer service tools to boost engagement and loyalty.
Intercom blends the best of both worlds: automated chatbot support and human customer service reps. Create custom bots, predict problems, help customers self-serve, and more.
This is another integrated live chat feature for optimizing customer conversations across multiple platforms.
*Note: These five tools are remarkably similar, but all are great options if you’re looking to build or scale customer support. Each offers something a little different. Spend time exploring all five and pick the one that you think will align best with your business and goals.
Startup Tools for Project Management
Keep your team on track and focused while reducing busy work with these project management tools for startups.
We use DivvyHQ to manage our client’s content, calendars, and tasks.
And while we think that tool is the best, here are some other popular productivity tools.
Basecamp is a great tool for startups working remotely or with hybrid teams. Streamline tasks, set up to-do lists, and keep everyone on track.
Use Asana to streamline projects and tasks with lists, boards, delegating, and more. Asana also lets you use automation to reduce repetitive tasks.
Trello is one of the most popular team collaboration tools for startups looking to manage tasks, deadlines, and more in one dashboard.
This is a classic project management tool for managing tasks, integrating with other apps, scanning documents, clipping web info, and much more.
Voxer bills itself as a walkie-talkie app for remote teams to collaborate with real-time voice messaging.
Productivity Tools for Startups
Maximize your time and boost productivity across your startup with these tools.
RescueTime offers courses and tools to help you see exactly where your time goes and find solutions for tightening up.
Use AnyDo’s interactive calendars and to-do lists to make sure everything gets done when it should and take control of your time.
Use the Toggl drag-and-drop calendar to keep everyone focused and productive.
29. Google Drive
You can’t go wrong with this classic team collaboration tool.
Pocket keeps you focused while collecting content and reading online.
Startup Tools for Back-Office Management
Make sure your business operations are on-point with these tools for startups.
Manage employee onboarding, payroll, and other HR tasks from one convenient dashboard.
All-in-one HR software with automation for managing your team and more.
A complete platform for benefits, payroll, time tracking, onboarding, and more.
An accounting tool for startups to stay focused on goals.
Accept payments from anywhere and manage your team.
Social Tools for Startups
These top social tools will help you grow your startup’s social media presence in 2021.
An all-in-one tool for scheduling social media posts, prioritizing engagement, and more.
Centralize your social media scheduling, engagement, and posts from one convenient dashboard.
Use Canva templates to design custom and professional graphics for social media and your website.
39. Sprout Social
The ultimate CRM for social media. Keep track of your connections, find influencers, track analytics, and more with Sprout Social.
Build a targeted Twitter audience based on your industry and relevant topics.
Startup Tools for Employees
Use these startup tools to keep your team unified and engaged in 2021.
This is the classic team collaboration tool for keeping everyone engaged and productive.
This offers a streamlined dashboard for tracking employee sentiment in real time, understanding your team, and improving workplace culture.
This helps you showcase employee appreciation with corporate discounts, awards, social recognition, and more.
44. When I Work
When I Work helps you track employee time, manage schedules, and boost team communication.
Streamline your recruiting process, improve employee advocacy, and optimize onboarding with JazzHR’s customizable solutions.
Learning Tools for Startups
Leverage your skills and build new skill sets with these startup tools for learning and education.
Help your team grow their skill set, earn degrees, and advance their career with targeted courses from top universities around the world.
Decide whether you can DIY something and learn what to look for during hiring with Udemy courses.
This is a global nonprofit offering career advancement courses and more, making it one of the best tools for startups.
Experts at your fingertips for any topic. Clarity offers personalized mentoring, coaching, and advice specifically for startups.
Start your research on YouTube for tutorials and educational content.
What are Your Must-Have Startup Tools?
We picked some basic tools for startups across 10 categories to make sure you cover all your bases. Evaluate your startup’s needs before jumping into any paid tools.
Identify inefficiencies or areas you feel your startup has fallen behind. Next, look for tools to solve those specific problems. After some time, evaluate the results from each tool to make sure it’s living up to the promise.
That’s the only way to ensure you won’t end up draining your budget on a bunch of tools you’ll never use.
Did we miss anything? What are your favorite tools?