SAAS Solutions to Run a Lean Startup
You are an entrepreneur looking to scale your startup, however, you run on a tight budget. Not every company has the luxury of Venture Capital (VC) money or Angel investors. Many startups bootstrap and scale their firm on a budget. However, you cannot compromise on any aspect of your business be it sales, customer support, marketing or finance.
We at Cloud Choice help clients solve business problems through customized solutions to suit our diverse clients. We are based in Canada and we work to keep our expenses low and flexible. Here are some of the solutions we use in various aspects of our business.
Freshdesk recently launched their CRM solution. We love to use the solutions we sell, and we picked up Freshsales immediately as our CRM and so we recommend the platform to our clients. Additionally, it is a fairly new solution, however, it has all the functionality we need to be efficient in our sales operations. Our leads are automatically created inside our CRM. Moreover, we have workflows that include sending welcome emails. We have a pipeline to track our sales progress and report on activity and revenue. It offers even more than what we need at $98. Check it out for yourself by signing up for a free trial here!
2. Google Apps
We are a google shop; our emails and documents are managed by Google. We pay $5 per user, allowing us to pay as we grow. Likewise, when we hire part-time or Co-op Students it allows us to give them an account and be flexible. Zoho, however, allows you to host your email and share documents at 0$ for up to 25 users. We decided to go with Google as we are a Google partner in Canada. Zoho is a very good alternative and its FREE.
Google hangout is a great platform for video conference, however, the technical issue with Mac machines forced us to look at alternatives and we decided to use the FREE version of Zoom which allows us to run a 40-minute meeting for free. This meets our requirements, however, if you are looking for alternatives there we offer Zoho Meeting, Skype, Uber Conference etc..
1. Hippo Video
We were looking at ways to demonstrate our expertise to the community and we discovered Hippo Video. Hippo Video allows us to create a quick video with screen capture and our webcam if needed. Sharing videos on YouTube can be done in seconds. Furthermore, we were unable to pay third-party companies to edit and create awesome videos. We believed in our expertise and decided that it is best to create our own promotion and supports videos using Hippo Video. Thus, it has become a great marketing tool for us, as we get clients asking for help after viewing our demos on YouTube. All this for an investment of $49 a year. Sign up for a free trial here!
At CloudChoice we are not selling a product. We cater to a different target market hence ‘Paid advertising’ was clearly not an option. We decided to pivot to content marketing early on. We post information relevant to our target market, and we share tips and tricks. If you are looking for Freshdesk consultant on Google today, you will find us on the first page. In addition, we have similar targets for our custom app development service.
Notably, a friend of mine posted about Fiverr, a platform to find freelancers. Here is another perspective assuring that “Fiverr isn’t a lottery, and your ability to make money on this platform rests largely on strategy… not luck”. Similarly, we did our introduction video on the platform for less than $200. Some quotes I had for a similar videos were in the range of $10,000 and I never moved forward as I did not have the $$ to burn.
I personally have been helping hundreds of clients implement Freshdesk over the past 5+ years. I wanted to make sure that I implemented Freshdesk at CloudChoice to allow our clients to talk to us in their preferred format. Our Email, Chat, Phone, Forms, everything goes into our Freshdesk solution which allows me to manage and keep my finger on the pulse of everything that is happening in our organization. Cost – $49 a month. Sign up for a free trial here!
We were on Freshbooks for a year before we moved to Quickbooks. With Freshbooks, we were able to invoice up to 3 clients and manage all our expenses in their FREE version. However, as our client base grew and we were looking at better ways to manage our expenses; we looked at Quickbooks as we can sync our business account and credit card to allow us to track our expenses. Likewise, we are able to invoice clients and receive payments online if required. We pay $11 a month for the service and it saves us hours of manual expenses entry.
If you know any other solution that can help us run lean please let us know. Likewise, we are always looking to add to the solutions listed above. We are not compensated for promoting any other solution except the Freshworks suite of products.
Give yourself some time to refine and scale your business using these SAAS solutions. Building your own solution might not always be the answer; instead of re-inventing the wheel use what is already available and customize it to make it work for you.
We are in the business of helping clients solve business problems through customized SAAS solutions. Above all, we wish all entrepreneurs out there great success. Enjoy the Startup period, be nimble and learn as much as you can before you become a structured enterprise company.