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15+ Best Productivity Tools for Startups

15+ Best Productivity Tools for Startups

Starting a new business is no small feat. As an entrepreneur, your to-do list seems endless. You're managing teams, tracking finances, developing products, and trying to grow your customer base. With so many responsibilities competing for your attention, staying productive can feel impossible.

The good news? You don't have to do it all yourself. You can systemise, automate, and outsource tasks with the right productivity tools. This frees you up to focus on the high-level strategic work that will move your business forward.

This article will explore some of the best productivity tools and systems for entrepreneurs and startups. From project management to bookkeeping, we've got recommendations to help you work smarter, stay organised, and get more done. Let's dive in!

Project Management Tools to Keep You on Track

Asana Project Management Tool

Juggling multiple projects while handling day-to-day operations is a constant balancing act for startups. The right project planning software organises all your initiatives in one central place. This allows you to prioritise tasks, meet deadlines, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Asana

Asana is one of the most popular project management tools on the market for good reason. This intuitive software lets your team break large projects into actionable tasks and subtasks. You can then assign these to team members, set due dates, track progress, and comment on each task.

With Asana's calendars, timelines, dashboards, and reporting features, you'll stay on top of deadlines and milestones. Their new Goals feature even allows you to map tasks back to overarching objectives to ensure your work ties back to core company goals.

Pricing: Free for up to 15 team members. Paid plans start at $13.49 per user/month billed annually.

Trello

Trello is an excellent choice if you're looking for something ultra simple and flexible. Often described as an online whiteboard, Trello organises your projects into “boards”, which you can break down into lists and cards for tasks and ideas. It's like sticky notes on your computer!

You can customise workflows however you like add labels, attachments, comments, and more. The straightforward interface makes Trello popular for agile teams. It's easy to move cards around as projects evolve.

Pricing: Free forever option. Paid plans start at $12.50 per user/month, billed annually.

Monday.com

Monday.com provides more robust project management features with its visually appealing work OS. In addition to its standard task management functionality, Monday.com offers templated workflows to manage recurring projects, CRMs to track sales, software development tools, and much more.

If you're looking for an all-in-one solution to manage every aspect of operations, this could be the right pick as you scale. Customisable dashboards and reporting give you visibility across departments in one central command centre.

Pricing: Free for unlimited users with limited features. Paid plans start at $8 per seat/month billed annually.

Collaboration Tools to Align Distributed Teams

Slack Productivity Tool

In a traditional office setting, collaborating with colleagues is as simple as swinging by their desks or calling an impromptu meeting. However, new collaboration tools are required in today's remote and distributed work landscape. With the right platforms, you can digitally recreate those spontaneous conversations and whiteboard sessions that lead to your best ideas and innovations.

Slack

You've likely heard about Slack. This team chat app has become famous thanks to its simplicity, breadth of integrations, and ability to streamline communication. Rather than long email threads, your team can have focused conversations in Slack channels dedicated to specific topics, projects, or teams.

With features like video calls, screen sharing, direct messaging, and file sharing, Slack lets distributed teams efficiently work together and access project documents in one place. Custom workflows with bots and integrations supercharge your team's productivity.

Pricing: Free for unlimited users with basic features. Paid plans start at $8 per active user/month billed annually.

Miro

Sometimes, your team needs to sketch ideas out together in real-time. Enter Miro – an online collaborative whiteboard platform made for distributed teams.

Miro provides infinite canvases for visual collaboration. Team members can come together in online sessions to brainstorm concepts, wireframe products, map user journeys, and more. With templates, sticky notes, shapes, task management, and video chat built right in, Miro recreates that crucial in-person ideation process digitally.

Pricing: Free tier for up to 3 boards. Paid plans start at $8 per member/month billed annually.

Notion

Notion is an all-in-one workspace for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. Their flexible system allows you to create customised systems for your startup using building blocks like text, tables, calendars, and more.

Because it's so adaptable, Notion can be configured for any collaboration need. Use it to create shared To-do lists, product roadmaps, FAQ wikis, or CRMs. The permissions system lets you maintain security while granting team members access to specific pages and databases.

Pricing: Free for personal use. Team plans start at $8 per member/month billed annually.

Brainstorming and Ideation Tools

Online Collaboration Tool Mural

Coming up with innovative new products and solutions demands creativity. While you can't force genius ideas, you can create environments that spark imaginative thinking and design. These creative collaboration tools inspire “outside-the-box” problem-solving.

Mural

Mural aims to digitise creative thinking and design. Their digital workspace facilitates design sprints, brainstorms, journey mapping, user story mapping, and more. Templates help kickstart sessions, while features like sticky notes, diagrams, icons, and images capture ideas as they flow.

Multiple team members can jump in and contribute simultaneously with real-time co-creation. Your most incredible brainstorms happen together in Mural's guided virtual sessions.

Pricing: Free plan offers limited functionality. Paid plans start at $12 per member/month billed annually.

Milanote

Milanote calls itself the “notes app for creative work”. Their adaptable interface works for many stages of creative projects, from initial brainstorming to visually organising ideas.

You can create mood boards with images, add colour-coded notes, attach files, and create visual sitemaps. This digital organisation shapes creative thoughts and facilitates collaboration across marketing, design, and product teams.

Pricing: Free plan offers limited functionality. Paid plans start at $12 per member/month billed annually.

Figma

Figma is a must-have design and prototyping tool for startups creating new digital products and experiences. In Figma's online workspace, designers can simultaneously work together on interface designs, websites, app screens, icons, and more.

Brainstorm concepts, gather feedback, and test prototypes with interactive mockups. Figma's version histories and built-in feedback tools dramatically improve design collaboration compared to traditional file-swapping processes.

Pricing: Free Starter tier. Paid team plans start at $12 per editor/month, billed annually.

Team Scheduling and Meeting Tools

Best Productivity Tools Calendly

Between your team and external partners, scheduling calls and meetings can eat up valuable time. Thankfully, purpose-built scheduling tools take this administrative work off your plate so you can focus on more essential startup priorities.

Related:  5 Best Websites for Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Calendly

Calendly has become the go-to scheduling tool for a reason. This handy service eliminates tedious back-and-forth emails to find meeting times. Instead, you connect your calendar and create availability slots others can book. Customisation ensures the process captures any necessary meeting prep or follow-ups, too.

Whether booking client calls, onboarding new hires, or conducting user interviews, Calendly saves your team scheduling headaches. The reminders and integrations with tools like Zoom, Salesforce, and Slack are just icing on the cake.

Pricing: Free for one user with basic features. Paid plans start at $8 per user/month billed annually.

Doodle

If you need meeting participants to vote on their availability, check out Doodle. This popular scheduling poll tool lets you suggest multiple date/time options and collect responses quickly.

Great for scheduling company-wide meetings, brainstorms, events and more, Doodle makes it simple to see which times work for the most attendees. The free version handles basic polls, while paid plans boast additional features like calendar syncing.

Pricing: The free version has basic functionality. Paid plans start at $12 per user/month billed annually.

Focusmate

Sometimes, you need accountability and structure to stay on track with deep-focus work. That's the idea behind Focusmate – an online coworking platform that pairs you with an accountability partner for laser-focused 50-minute work sessions.

Connecting with another motivated Focusmate user over video gives you the benefits of coworking even when you work from home. Say goodbye to distractions and be amazed at how productive focused sprints can be!

Pricing: Free and paid plans starting at $5/month for five sessions.

Task and Time Management Tools

Todoist Mobile Apps Review

Between your ongoing projects and daily business operations, your to-do list runs over. These task and time management tools help you regain control of your chaotic schedule.

Todoist

Todoist is heralded as one of the best task managers for good reason. This intuitive app lets you capture tasks, set recurring due dates, add reminders, organise with labels and filters, and integrate with your favourite apps.

Your endless tasks finally feel manageable when organised and prioritised properly in Todoist. Features like productivity analytics help you spot areas for improvement, too. Upgrading to premium unlocks more features to customise workflows.

Pricing: Limited free version. Premium plans start at $36 per user/year billed annually.

RescueTime

Do you know where your day goes? RescueTime reveals the truth. Their automated time tracking highlights your daily habits – both productive and distracting.

See your most productive times of day, your most visited websites/apps, and your daily accomplishments. RescueTime's analysis provides the awareness to build better work routines and block distracting sites. Soon, you'll recapture hours lost to procrastination and distraction.

Pricing: Lite version is free. Premium plans start at $6 per user/month billed annually.

Focus@Will

Silence doesn't always beget the most productive focus work. Focus@Will plays you personalised music designed specifically for concentration, using algorithms to keep you tuned.

Different playlists give your brain the sonic stimulation it needs, whether you're writing, problem-solving, or trying to power through a significant to-do list. Give Focus@Will a try for your most intense focus sessions.

Pricing: Free trial. Subscriptions start at $6.33 per month, billed annually.

Outsourcing Tools to Offload Tasks

Best Graphic Designer On Fiverr

Visionary startup leaders don't try to do everything themselves. Offloading administrative, creative, and technical tasks to skilled freelancers and agencies preserves your mental bandwidth for high-level strategic thinking and complex problem-solving.

Fiverr

Fiverr gives startups access to freelancers across over 200 skill categories, specialising in creative work, writing, translation, data entry, research, and more. No matter how small or large the task, you can find affordable help to check it off your plate.

Need a logo? Are social posts scheduled? Market research presentation put together? Fiverr's network of freelancers has you covered. Browse profiles, chat with potential hires, and pay securely through Fiverr with packages starting at just $5.

Pricing: Fiverr charges a 20% service fee from buyers on top of freelancer rates.

Upwork

Upwork is one of the largest marketplaces connecting businesses to freelancers. Their model works well for startups seeking ongoing help with more significant or recurring projects.

You can hire experts in software development, digital marketing, graphic design, data entry, customer service, and more. Upwork includes time tracking, file sharing, video calls, and invoicing to streamline freelancing relationships. Browse profiles or post job listings to find the right fit.

Pricing: Clients pay per project or by hourly/weekly/monthly rates set by each freelancer. Upwork charges a service fee starting at 5%.

Scalefast

As your startup grows, order fulfilment and shipping physical products can become a bottleneck. Outsource the workload to Scalefast, an end-to-end e-commerce fulfilment service.

They handle warehousing, inventory management, order processing, branded packaging, shipping, returns, and more so you can focus on your startup's mission. Integrations with e-commerce platforms like Shopify make the entire operation seamless.

Pricing: Scalefast charges based on services used with no monthly fees. The minimum order fee is $100.

Optimise Your Startup's Processes

The right tools and systems allow you to offload the drudgery of daily operations so you can focus on high-level strategy and innovation. Be bold and experiment with different solutions once you discover the perfect productivity stack.

While no app or system can grow a business alone, optimised processes strengthen every aspect of operations. With more time and mental space freed up, you can take your startup to the next level.

Now, over to you! Which productivity tools have become game-changers for your startup? Share any other recommendations in the comments below.

FAQs About Our Best Productivity Tools

Still, researching the best productivity tools and systems for your growing business? Here are answers to some common questions:

How can productivity tools help my startup?

Work more efficiently by eliminating manual processes
Reduce wasted time spent emailing or in meetings
Automate repetitive administrative or operational tasks
Improve team collaboration despite remote workers or distributed teams
Maintain focus on core missions vs daily minutiae
Access affordable talent via freelancing marketplaces
Receive insights into habits that impact productivity

What features should I look for?

Task management with reminders and due dates
Centralised collaboration spaces
Ability to assign work and track progress
Calendars, timelines, and dashboards
Instant communication like chat or video calls
Document sharing and cloud storage
Customisable workflows and integrations
Time tracking and productivity analytics
Automation to reduce manual processes

What kinds of tools do startups use?

Project management: Asana, Trello, Monday.com
Team chat: Slack, Microsoft Teams
Video calls: Zoom, Google Meet
Design collaboration: Figma, Miro
Scheduling: Calendly, Doodle
Task management: Todoist, ClickUp
Time tracking: Toggl, RescueTime
Freelancer platforms: Upwork, Fiverr

How much do productivity tools cost?

Many popular productivity tools offer free versions with limited features. Paid versions provide more functionality and customisation for startup teams. Pricing follows a per-user/per-month model, usually from $5-$20 per user/month.

How do I choose the right tools?

Assessing your startup's most significant workflow/process pain points
Determining features that would save time or streamline operations
Trying free versions of tools to test user experience and features
Reviewing core function integrations across tools
Comparing tool pricing to your startup's budget
Scaling tools up or down as your startup's needs change

How do I implement new productivity tools?

Start small, adding one tool at a time
Provide thorough training resources and documentation
Highlight the benefits of the tool for users' day-to-day work
Solicit team feedback on the tool during the trial period
Address challenges early before tools create frustration
Communicate changes to processes and workflows
Lead by example using the tools daily as a startup founder

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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