One of the exciting things about putting a new project and business together is all of the opportunities to try and experiment with new technologies, software tools and apps that are available to the fast-paced startup.
This can also be a veritable administrative headache if done poorly and if you and your team aren’t ultimately decisive with your tooling decisions but it’s a necessary part of getting a business off the ground.
And if you start to keep track of them (which you should) you’ll be surprised at how many you accrue very quickly.
For instance, in the last few months we’ve rapidly experimented with a number of SaaS tools to help put our company together and some of these have become fundamental while others are still very much in the “testing” phase.
Here’s a list of the services that we’ve actively deployed in the last few months – some of these we’ve kept and others have just been experiments (i.e. using the free service or Trial Version).
To be honest, I’m probably missing a few and I’m trying my best to keep up with all of the tools that we sign-up for and experiment with:
- Google App for Business
- 1Password for Teams
- Google Webmasters
- Google Analytics
- Dropbox for Teams
And, as I said before, this list is probably incomplete and I’m probably missing a few. What I’ll try to do is come back and add to this list as I remember them.
Naturally, keeping tabs on these tools is important for a number of reasons, the most important of which is cost and fiscal responsibility. Without controls and without awareness you can easily find yourself drowning in monthly SaaS expenses.
This especially important in the early stages when you’re doing all that you possibly can to keep your costs and your monthly burn rate low. Any tool that isn’t mission-critical shouldn’t be kept and if you can do things for free then you should opt to do that instead of paying for a similar service.
A good example of this was a decision that we made last night with the Unbounce service which looks to be a pretty neat service. In fact, I’ve heard from a lot of folks who have used it really effectively (which is why we gave it a try in the first place).
So, I spent an hour or so putting together a simple landing page with their proprietary editor and builder:
I was generally happy with my results:
And the analytics on the backend are pretty nice-looking and, of course, the real power comes when you can start A/B testing different landing pages (called “variants”) to get maximum conversion and results:
Sweet, I thought. Except that to get a custom / branded URL you need to fork over a few dollars. Actually, a lot more than I was comfortable with:
To be honest, I was definitely not feeling the $49/mo, especially at this early stage. I pinged my team via Slack and the sentiment was shared:
The truth is that I have enough skill to put together a landing page like the one that I built and even create some simple variants and A/B testing by myself. And, it won’t take much more time either (it might actually be faster if I do it manually).
At some point I can see Unbounce being a valuable service that I’d gladly pay for, but, at this point in time it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t mind spending the few hours on experimenting with the service as I learned a thing (or two) but I’m going to save my pennies for now.
Are you using any services right now that I should be checking out? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!