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The Startup Playbook: 10 Essential Tools

Kristen Craft | April 4, 2019
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Launching a startup is anything but easy. It might be exciting, but it’s also a seemingly endless number of late nights, failures, and frustration. There’s a reason why only 56% of startup businesses make it to their fifth year.

The problem is that while 82% of business owners believe they have the right qualifications and experience to run a company, that might not be enough. Usually, you cannot start a company on your own. You’ll eventually need a team of people to help you along the way. You’ll need a way to teach them how to operate in the same way that you do. And you’ll need the right startup tools to help you grow and scale. This post is a roundup of the tools used by thousands of high-performance teams.

The Value of Good Tools

Most software and tools have been specifically created to help companies succeed—startups and traditional businesses alike. They offer a vast amount of support in a variety of areas from HR to marketing, sales, and more. And since 62% of businesses in the U.S. have five or fewer employees, that help is invaluable.

With essential software, any problem your startup faces can be met with a solution. The key is having the right tools in place at the beginning as well as knowing what you’re doing. To help your startup get off the ground and stay off the ground (as it was meant to), we’ve compiled a list of the top startup tools for 2019 and beyond.


Slack is a comprehensive communication platform for small businesses. As an online collaboration app, it has few worthy competitors and has become the go-to solution for team communication. Use it to talk with your employees, whether they’re remote or in the office with you, in real-time.


Slack is basically an instant messaging app that keeps you organized by channel and project. This means that you can keep your conversations focused on a single topic at a time instead of always getting lost in the weeds. The app also makes it possible to send direct messages or make video and voice calls to anyone connected to the app, and keeps a single searchable archive of all business communications, so you no longer have to worry about lost emails.

  • Price: FREE unlimited trial with scaled pricing starting at $8/month per user for additional features
  • Best Use: Team communication

G Suite

More likely than not, you’ve been using G Suite personally for years now. Who doesn’t have a Gmail account at this point? But if you’re not using G Suite for your business—including Gmail, Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Drive—you’re missing out.

G Suite is a cloud-based productivity suite that allows you to work collaboratively with everyone in your company. In Google docs, you can collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and slides in real time. Gmail offers secure business email groups with vanity domains. Google Drive is an online document and image storage in the cloud.

  • Price: $6/month per user for 30GB of cloud storage
  • Best Use: Cloud productivity suite (email, storage, etc.)


Most growing teams need a way to document and share important information. This could be info about what you’re working on in a given week, which features you plan to release, or how to handle a frequent task like submitting an expense report or processing refunds. We’re pretty partial to Tettra, of course. Tettra helps you organize and share your team’s collective knowledge. It’s a cloud-based wiki that simplifies how you document things that require a longer write-up.


The software integrates with Slack to make knowledge easily accessible at all times. And because Tettra integrates with other tools that teams rely on (like GitHub, Google Docs, and Zapier, among others,) you eliminate information silos throughout your organization. Tettra can help you with new employee onboarding, collaboration, and keeping your entire company on the same page when it comes to information and principles. Stop repeating yourself as you hire and grow. Instead, use a knowledge management system like Tettra to operate efficiently and effectively.

  • Price: FREE to start with additional features starting at $39/month.
  • Best Use: Knowledge management tool and database


If you prefer video calls to instant messaging and emails, Zoom is the tool for you. The software simplifies how you can communicate with remote employees or customers without the need for a phone call. One of Zoom’s best features is the ability to create meetings with many attendees, all of whom can join via phone or from the Internet.

You can also record Zoom calls if you want to review the conversation later or share it with others. The app is an easy and reliable cloud platform that offers video and audio conferencing, chat, webinars, and more. You don’t need a desktop to call in either; it works across mobile devices, phones, and root systems.

  • Price: Basic tier is FREE with team pricing starting at $14.99 – $19.99/month
  • Best Use: Video and audio team conferencing


When it comes to marketing, email is still the leader. Email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, and 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business. As for B2C companies, consumers who purchase products through email spend 138% more. And Mailchimp is one of the best email marketing services available.

Mailchimp offers small businesses an easy-to-use email marketing software that provides professional email templates, list management tools, signup forms, and more. The tool is designed to make it easy to build and communicate with your audience through email, including segmenting and targeting your email list.

  • Price: FREE to get started and then scaled pricing that starts at $10/month
  • Best Use: Email marketing


By 2020, Cisco predicts that 82% of global internet consumption will be video content, and there will be almost a million minutes of video per second crossing the internet. To meet that demand, Wistia is a simple software that helps you create, manage, and share videos for your business. It’s a powerful startup tool for burgeoning and experienced video marketers who want a quick and easy way to create and share videos on their website.

Wistia includes a customizable video player that allows you to control your brand experience and play videos without ads or other suggested video content from competitors. In addition, the Soapbox Google Chrome extension simplifies the video creation process, making it easier to record, edit, share, and measure company videos.

  • Price: Get started for FREE and then scale up starting at $99/month
  • Best Use: Video marketing


If you need beautiful, free images and photos for your startup, you need Unsplash. The website claims to have over 110,000 contributing photographers and a library of over 810,000 stock photos that you can use as needed under the Unsplash license.

The royalty-free images provided by Unsplash can be used for social media, website creation, and any other type of marketing materials you could need. Another option is the newcomer, Pikwizard. They’re especially beloved for their images of people, which can be harder to find on other sites. And these active photography communities mean that new photos are added every day. Simply use the intuitive search features to find the right photo for your needs.

  • Price: FREE
  • Best Use: Stock photography database


Make and receive payments over the internet with Stripe. The technology software offers a suite of payment APIs to help you power your ecommerce business. This flexible tool works for subscription services, on-demand marketplaces, e-commerce stores, crowdfunding, and more. You can create the type of payment service that works best for your product and customers.

Stripe offers both payment and billing tools. So, whether you need to bill your customers on a recurring basis, support online and in-person payments, or pay out to third parties, Stripe can make it happen. It’s an all-in-one payment infrastructure solution for your startup.

  • Price: Pay-as-you-go pricing costs 2.9% + $0.30 per successful card charge
  • Best Use: Payment processing


Customer surveys collect valuable information that you can’t get anywhere else. Typeform is an online form building and surveys software that helps you create interactive experiences with your customers/audience. As a web-based platform, Typeform can create mobile-ready quizzes, contact forms, and signup forms to capture leads, complete market research, and engage with your audience.

Typeform helps you get the data you want from your customers in a conversational and personal way. The tool makes it easy to interact with your customer at every stage of their journey with simple, embedded forms that you can use anywhere. And it integrates with Mailchimp, Google Sheets, and Slack for full business collaboration.

  • Price: Starts FREE with upgraded features starting at $30/month
  • Best Use: Online forms and surveys for customer interaction


Dropbox is the go-to solution for all your file storage needs. All businesses, including startups, produce a ton of documents and files. In fact, the number of files you’ll produce will be never-ending. It’s essential that you have access to those files whether you’re by your computer or not, and whether or not your computer has the storage space.

Dropbox gives you access to all your files from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access. As a cloud storage and file-syncing service, Dropbox works with any computer or mobile device and integrates with dozens of apps across your business. Plus, it offers unlimited storage space with paid plans starting at 3TB.

  • Price: FREE 2GB of space with business plans starting at $12.50/month per user for 3TB space.
  • Best Use: Cloud file storage

It’s about More than the Tools

We know that starting a new business can be frightening. There are so many elements to consider and so many possibilities for failure. Hopefully, we’ve provided ten business tools that make your job a little easier. But really, it’s not about the tools that you use. Or rather, it’s about so much more than the tools you use.

It’s about having a great idea, it’s the passion you bring, it’s the grit you display. It’s also the people who want to support you and the team you build. It’s how effectively you teach your team what you know and how you do what you do. We hope that with Tettra – and with these other great tools – you’ll go from start-up to scale-up to massive success, impacting the world in a positive way.