Running A Business

Tools and Tips for Startups for 2021

Jan 31, 2021 • 7 min read
Clever small business owner thinking about her business
Table of Contents

      A new decade has turned, and now is the time to launch your startup. Here is some advice to keep in mind, as well as some tools to help take your company to the next level.

      6 Tips for Startups

      1. Keep Recession on Your Mind

      Economists have been predicting a recession for some time now, but the economy kept growing in 2018 and 2019. In fact, we’re in the middle of the longest economic expansion in American history. However, the nature of markets is like gravity—what goes up must come down. While many economists don’t expect a recession to strike this year, it will happen sometime. This eventuality means that now is the time to recession-proof your startup and think about how you could get through if your customers face a sudden cash crunch.

      2. Prepare a Rainy Day Fund

      One of the best ways to recession-proof your small business is to start a rainy day fund. This way, if you face a sudden drop in cash inflow due to a lack of new business, you have some funding to keep your operation going until economic conditions improve. The goal is for you not to have to borrow money just to keep the lights on. Start saving some money right now, and you’ll be sweating much less when the economic crunch eventually comes.

      3. Gig Economy is More Regulated

      On January 1, 2020, California’s AB 5, the strictest law in the nation regarding the classification of workers, went into effect. It impacts millions of employers, freelancers, and others involved in the “gig economy,” and other states are considering rules to define employees versus independent contractors. Even if you don’t live in California, you should pay special attention to how you classify those who work for you—expect the gig economy to receive far more oversight this decade.  

      4. The B2B Trend

      While the flashiest startups of the last decade were consumer-focused (think Facebook, Uber, or Snapchat), expect the business tech sector to boom like never before in the coming years. In the past, business tech has seemed like a stale, Windows XP world, but that is no longer the case, especially as more and more businesses are internet-forward. Depending on your startup’s mission, think about how you can connect and service other businesses.  

      5. Think About Accountability

      By the end of the 2010s, the halo around Silicon Valley was fully tarnished. Anyone working in tech this decade needs to think about accountability to its users. You have to know how you are protecting your user data and how you are interacting with your customers. Don’t expect to be able to hide the details in the fine print in your terms of service—be honest and open. Think about how your business model puts the people using your product first.

      6. 5G Has Arrived (Sorta)

      Next-generation 5G wireless connectivity has been eagerly awaited for several years now. Last year, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile officially launched 5G in the United States, although speeds aren’t exponentially fast quite yet. This service is still one of the biggest technological improvements of the decade, though, and wireless download speeds 100 times faster than 4G LTE are expected to hit sometime in the next few years. These high speeds will make doing business remotely easier than ever before.

      Pensive woman sitting with notepad in cafe interior dreaming

      9 Tools for Startups

      1. Namecheckr

      Figuring out a snappy, easy-to-remember name is critical for any startup—Namecheckr makes determining a business name easy because you can see a list of web domains available for any potential company name.

      2. Amazon Web Services

      Amazon Web Services, or AWS, has emerged as a leader for web hosting. It’s a top pick amongst startup founders looking for a place to launch a website because it offers over 80 features for its users, including content delivery.

      3. MailChimp

      Your email address might date back to the 1990s, but email is still one of the best ways to reach customers and clients. You should be doing email marketing, and MailChimp is one of the most affordable and easiest ways to get started.

      4. Wave

      Wave is a free accounting service that is perfect for any startup and will help you stay on the right side of the IRS. Beyond the gratis price tag, Wave tracks cash inflows and expenses, so you can keep a sense of where your money is going every month.

      5. AYTM

      There are many reasons why you would take a survey to help your business get feedback from customers, potential customers, or just the public at large. AYTM is one of the best survey software products on the market because it helps you track open-answer questions, and the company does excellent targeting.

      6. Hootsuite

      Hootsuite has been around for years, but it is still one of the best ways to manage social media accounts for businesses. You can manage your social marketing across 35 platforms on one easy-to-parse desktop. It helps you understand how you can hone your timing and wording so you can nail your social media presence.

      7. BetaList

      Any startup in 2021 needs to be acquainted with BetaList, a community for startups that are literally just starting up. BetaList is fantastic for getting some feedback on your platform before launching officially. The next generation of startups is on BetaList—you want to be among them.

      8. AngelList

      AngelList is the hiring board for the tech industry—you can use this platform to connect with both potential hires and potential investors. It is an ideal place to let Silicon Valley know you mean business and let possible venture capitalists see what you’re about.

      9. Hemingway Editor

      All startups now require some element of writing, whether you’re trying to nail a blog post or an email blast. Hemingway helps you understand how your written content will be perceived, going beyond the features of a simple grammar checker.

      About the author
      Barry Eitel

      Barry Eitel has written about business and technology for eight years, including working as a staff writer for Intuit's Small Business Center and as the Business Editor for the Piedmont Post, a weekly newspaper covering the city of Piedmont, California.

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