Another month gone by—that's like six months in startup years—and we're back with 10 more tools recently tested here in the PCMag Labs that could make a huge difference to your business. This month's tools span everything from customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing to productivity apps, laptops, and smartphones, and even some heavy-duty software a fast-scaling startup will need sooner rather than later: enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
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SOFTWARE AND SERVICESEmmaEmail marketing is a key part of any startup business with a sales component, no matter the product or service. Emma is a simple, easy-to-use email marketing platform with plenty of custom features; it's built for subscriber lists of 2,500 or more. There are more than 100 template and themed sign-up forms available, and it integrates with Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional to send email blasts directly to your CRM contact lists. If you're running a sexy new startup, your emails and online marketing materials should drive that "startup" feeling home for customers with a sleek, modern experience.
Netsuite OneWorldNetsuite OneWorld is a general ledger accounting solution, a CRM, and a human resources (HR) platform all in one, housed under the banner of ERP. If your startup is quickly scaling up, with a growing number of employees, customers, and revenue of which to keep track, then Editors' Choice Netsuite OneWorld can give you one powerful, centralized cloud platform from which to manage it all. After all, when you start dealing with small to midsize enterprise (SME) volumes of data and transactions, you need software that can handle it.Zoho CRM Zoho CRM was already an Editors' Choice CRM tool, but its most recent update addresses the platform's biggest shortcoming by completely overhauling the user interface (UI). The update also comes with a new smart SalesInbox feature that breaks down email and incoming notifications into deals, contacts, sales, and leads. Add that to full-featured mobile apps and Zoho's wide portfolio of business software including Zoho Projects, Zoho Books, and Zoho Recruit, and your startup can invest in one software ecosystem for all its cloud-based services—at a much lower price than locking into a bigger tech like Microsoft's ecosystem.
HARDWAREDell Inspiron 15 3000 SeriesNeed a pile of inexpensive laptops lying around for all the employees, interns, and guests shuffling in and out of your startup? The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series(3558) will only cost you $180 apiece for decent performance, long battery life, and sturdy-enough build to get the job done for any light-computing activity. Don't expect it to handle complex development work. For the price of one Apple MacBook (2015), you can buy half a dozen of these Editors' Choice budget laptops. If one breaks, at least it won't be expensive to replace.
RIF6 Cube A cheap, portable projector is invaluable to startup execs and salespeople who need to make quick, effective presentations from anywhere. The RIF6 Cube is stylishly designed with a malleable tripod and the ability to connect to and mirror mobile devices via HDMI. It's not the most flawlessly crisp projection in the world, but it's also not nearly as expensive as laser projectors with that level of image quality. With a geometric design Steve Jobs would be proud of, it's just the right size, price, and fit for a startup.
ZTE Axon 7 For the startup IT department looking to furnish its workforce with powerful company smartphones not made by Apple, the ZTE Axon 7 does the job. As our reviewer put it, it's a "$400 unlocked Android phone that looks and performs like phones that cost nearly twice as much." With expandable storage, a fingerprint sensor, a Quad HD display, and all the customizability of Android, it's a ready-made business device. Not to mention it's one of the first phones to support Google's Daydream VR platform.
APPSEvernote (for iPhone) The recently updated Evernote app for iPhone is an Editors' Choice for its clean, effortless notetaking ability, powerful search capability, and integration with dozens of other business apps. The free levels of service aren't what they used to be, but for a startup paying for Evernote Premium, it's a seamless way to ensure employees are retaining all the information they need from meetings and projects, and that they have the ability to share it and collaborate across the organization from the comfort of their smartphones.
LogDog (for Android)Hacking is a real and present threat for every business. LogDog (for Android) is a great fail-safe for startups to make sure employees and IT are not only alerted to possible hacking, but that passwords are immediately changed. The app's Inbox Detective feature also helps clear out exposed personal information, and will even check the Dark Web for stolen credit cards information for an added fee. As a security software complement to a smartphone like the ZTE Axon 7, it's more than worth a startup's investment.
Zoho NotebookZoho appears twice in this month's tools roundup, this time with a new free notetaking, syncing, and productivity app. Zoho Notebook (for iPhone) has a simple interface and unlimited storage, and as with everything in the Zoho ecosystem can easily enable data integration with other Zoho software. It's a new app with a long way to go functionality-wise, but startups would be wise to jump onto this one early, while it remains free.
Startup Tool of the MonthMicrosoft Windows 10: Windows 10 has been around for a year already, but its super-sized Anniversary Update makes it a must-have for Windows-based startups that still haven't made the move to the newest operating system (OS). The Anniversary Update adds a faster startup sequence, better tablet capabilities and notifications, along with the glossiest update features including a much-improved Cortana, Windows Hello biometrics, and Windows Ink capabilities. The update addresses nearly every major shortcoming from the original Windows 10 release and adds a metric ton of cutting-edge functionality. Though, if you're still hoping for that free upgrade, we're afraid you missed your chance.