Posted on 29 March, 2018  |  4 min

Getting your startup off the blocks is exhilarating… but, let’s be honest, it can be a touch terrifying at times, too. You’ve put everything on the line, and when it’s ‘just you’ at the helm, it can be overwhelming trying to keep track of all the moving parts.

We say ‘just you’; there are some amazing business apps out there to help out along the way. Things like POS apps, which allow you to take payments online or in your store, giving much greater functionality than if it was just you on your own.

These apps then start collecting data, which feeds back into your business and gives you important insights into your performance while allowing you to benchmark against competitors. This info also allows you to make more informed decisions, take some of the guesswork out of running a business and simply get on with doing what you do best.

“Great,” you might think. “But with so many apps out there, how do I know where to start?” In this blog, we look at four of the key business areas where apps can really help you out, and introduce you to some of the apps our startup experts recommend for early-stage businesses.

Areas where apps can really help your startup succeed

Money: It’s a cliché, but cash (or cash flow) really is king, which is why you need to keep an eye on the money. Sadly, most businesses (as many as 82%) fail in the first two years because of cash flow issues¹. So, what aspects of money should you be watching? Know your outgoings, keep on top of your incomings, plan where your funding is going and coming from, and keep a close eye on those debtors. Your business apps should be collecting all this data and more.

The best accounting apps give you a real-time view of your current and future cash position, while tools like Debtor Daddy help you get your invoices paid—the cash flow killer among so many startups, so a great place to start.

Sales: Using business apps to improve your sales isn’t just about selling more stuff, but also being smarter in how and what you sell. Data from your POS or eCommerce apps can tell you what your best-selling products are, which have the highest profits margins and, by combining both insights, which products should be getting your biggest push.

More than three-quarters of small business failures come from not pricing properly¹ when, in reality, there are essential tools available, like Vend and Shopify, to stop your startup from becoming another statistic.

Most importantly for early-stage businesses, sales data is a crucial insight into whether there’s a market for your product(s)—either validating that there is or letting you know you might be on the wrong track. If you track what’s selling and what might need tweaking through your sales apps, you’re in a better position from the very start.

Marketing: The best marketing apps for startups offer value for money, letting you get your name out there without breaking the bank. For that, it’s hard to look past basic social media tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook—three great options for a budding business. All three are free to set up and start using as a business. If you choose to increase your reach over these platforms, you can then get into paid promotions and ads targeted at your ideal customers.

Not sure who your customers are yet? The data collected by these apps, and other free ones like Google Analytics, break down the stats for you. You can soon learn where your customers are in the world, what devices they use, how they find you on the web and more. From here, it should be increasingly easier to target your marketing efforts and get better return on your marketing investment.

Productivity: Busy people are not always busy doing the right things. As a startup, your time will be incredibly precious, particularly if you’re a startup that’s servicing multiple accounts or clients. You might soon start employing people to take over some of the day-to-day tasks that clog up your calendar. Whether you’re a one-(wo)man army or an employer, there’s no doubt: you could be more productive as a business.

Productivity apps are a great boost, giving you some simple tools to put more time back in your day. Apps like Office 365 let you work collaboratively and securely from anywhere in the world, Deputy keeps track of employee time and scheduling, while Wrike lets you manage your projects better and streamline workflow. Use the information from these apps to see where you or your team spend the most time, and where further efficiencies can be made.

As they say, time is money—and as a startup owner, it’s thrilling to see hours freed up in your day to focus on more important things.

Multiple apps. One dashboard. The best insights.

9 Spokes helps you translate the data your apps provide—for free. Instead of wading through each individual app to pick out the key insights, if your apps are connected to the 9 Spokes dashboard, we do it for you.

Our clever algorithm only pulls out the most important metrics from each app into our dashboard widgets, so you can quickly get a sense of what’s going on in your business—from your desktop or on the go.

Take the strain out of growing your startup and let us help. By using the 9 Spokes dashboard and connecting the recommended apps, you can spend less time worrying about what’s going on and more time enjoying the thriving business you’re creating.

Read our guide, the smart way to power your startup