The thought of launching a Startup is incredibly intimidating, with most failing to survive their first few years. It can often result in an emotionally draining, frustrating and demoralizing experience for everyone involved. Of course, with high risk comes high reward, which is why entrepreneurs still ‘take the leap of faith’ despite the odds being stacked against them.
There has never been a better time to launch a Startup, especially if it resides in the Tech industry. The rapid advancement of the Internet continuously creates gaps in the market, and provides the perfect platform for launching a web-based company.
The sheer amount of resources found on the Internet catered towards Startups and small businesses can prove to be a vital lifeline to those on a shoestring budget. This article is a collation of the best resources and tools that can entice you to take ‘the leap of faith’ and help get your Startup off the ground.
- Building the Marketing Plan: A Blueprint for Start-ups – A free and in-depth eBook on building a marketing plan for Startups.
- Y Combinator Startup Library – A huge collection of resources and guides, covering everything you need to know about launching a Startup, written by people who have achieved success multiple times.
- Entrepreneur.com Startup Kits – In depth and thorough kits on how to start a company in a variety of industries, ranging from cleaning services to restaurant ownership.
- Business Link – The UK Government website has a complete roadmap to starting a business, consisting of in-depth and thorough videos.
- Score – An abundance of free advice and resources for starting a business, including mentors, counseling, tools and workshops. Predominantly US focused.
- Kickstarter – Crowd funding platform for creative projects. Although only suitable for certain Startups, it’s an effective way to secure funding in a short period of time.
- Seedrs – A crowd funding platform for Startups, ideal for seamlessly raising capital by offering equity to the crowds.
- LaunchSquad – A PR firm with an emphasis on technology, ideal for taking a business to the next level.
- Founder Institute – A ‘Startup accelerator’ training program and global launch network, with programs available across the world.
- 500 Startups – A Startup accelerator program consisting of hundreds of experienced mentors, offering seed investment and workspace in Silicon Valley.
- Dropbox – A freemium cloud storage service, perfect for collaboration and seamless sharing of files across devices.
- Google Drive – Drive is a cloud storage, file sharing and collaborative editing solution, great for working in teams and storing everything in the cloud.
- Evernote – An intuitive note taking tool that allows you to quickly save ideas and snippets of web pages for offline viewing. All notes are backed up to the cloud and accessible across multiple devices.
- Webex – Online meeting software with advanced collaboration features, perfect for teams who are geographically separated.
- Mockingbird – Quickly create mock-ups and web pages on the fly, with an intuitive drag and drop interface.
- Startup Weekend – A global network of 54-hour events, where likeminded entrepreneurs join forces to develop ideas and launch Startups.
- Tech Cocktail – Regular Tech Startup events for entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts, helping Startups find employees, co-founders and funding.
- Meetup – A network of local groups with many dedicated to Startups and small businesses. A great way to meet likeminded individuals and practice pitches.
- PartnerUp – A small business orientated site with a focus on finding partners and exploring business opportunities.
- Interview Street – Effective programming tests to help you find the perfect programmer for your Startup. Essential for less technically minded CEOs.
- LinkedIn – A social media networking site for professionals, allowing you to stay informed about contacts and industry, and connect with likeminded individuals.
- How to Change the World – The blog of Guy Kawasaki, an award winning author, former Apple employee, evangelist and founding partner of Garage, a venture capital fund for tech Startups.
- Young Entrepreneur – As the name suggests, YE is a hub for aspiring young business people, with an abundance of useful resources and an active forum.
- OnStartups – Created by marketing expert Dharmesh Shah, OnStartups is a blog focussing primarily on software Startups, with insightful guides and resources.
- Inc. – A website for small businesses and entrepreneurs, who regularly post highly resourceful articles and how-to guides.
- Mixergy – Interviews with successful entrepreneurs and founders, who dive right into the story behind their success and fortune.
- Quora – A constantly growing source of information, where any questions can be asked and promptly answered by real people who have first-hand experience. Industry leaders and prominent figures regularly chime in to lend a hand.
- Springwise – ‘Brain food for entrepreneurial minds’, covering inspiring Startup news and stories on exciting ideas and concepts.
- Vator.tv – A community driven website with an emphasis on funding and emerging technologies.
- Alltop Startups – Co-founded by Guy Kawasaki, Alltop is a news aggregator covering the most popular breaking news in the Startup sector.
- Reddit – A community driven social news website, with surprisingly useful subreddits such as /r/Startups,/r/smallbusiness and /r/entrepreneur. Not just pictures of cats.
- Freshbooks – A cloud accounting solution that makes invoicing and time tracking extremely easy to manage.
- Bidsketch – Web app for easily creating professional looking proposals in minutes.
- KnowEm – KnowEm is a paid service that takes your brand details and subsequently registers up to 300 social network profiles.
- Design Contest – Create design contests for logos, web designs and more, and receive 100s of entries from talented designers. Great for buying a quality logo on a shoestring budget.
- WordPress– The most widely recognised free Content Management System. Highly versatile with an abundance of themes and plugins to alter aesthetics and functionality.
- Prezi – A tool for creating stunning presentations, which are sure to stand out from the usual PowerPoint pitches.
- Launch Rock – A free web based application to quickly set up a ‘launching soon’ page, with heavy emphasis on social sharing.
- Google Analytics – One of the most widely recognized web analytics and reporting solutions, and completely free to use.
- Hoot Suite – A social media management dashboard to efficiently track mentions and measure campaign results.
- Video Scribe – A tool for quickly creating animated and engaging videos for marketing, instructional purposes, company overviews and product demonstrations.
- NameChk – Type in your Startup name ideas and quickly check which domains and social media profiles are available.
- SEOmoz – A premium suite of SEO tools ranging from SEO management, social media monitoring, actionable recommendations, competitor analysis and more.
- Amazon Web Services – Collection of remote computing services that utilise a cloud computing platform, used by popular Startups such as Pinterest, airbnb and SmugMug.
- Unbounce – Create landing pages that turbo charge conversion rates, with no technical knowledge required.
- Ask Your Target Market – Carry out highly targeted surveys to find out vital information about your primary audience.
- Survey Monkey – An efficient surveying solution allowing you to target specific audiences based on gender, interests, demographic and more.
- MailChimp – One of the best email marketing solutions available, with easy to use tools to create signup forms and newsletter designs.
- Qualaroo – Helps gain useful insights from customers and visitors by asking short questions, in the form of an unobtrusive popup.
- Google Trends – A tool to see interest around search terms, and what people are currently searching for. Great for inspiration and finding out how big the market is.
- The $100 Startup – A manual on how to change your direction in life and pursue a career being your own boss, with insights from 50 highly successful entrepreneurs.
- The Lean Startup – Highly popular book on changing the way companies are built and products are launched.
We hope this collection of fantastic resources proves invaluable while launching your Startup, and if you feel any have been left out do get involved in the comments.