In the last issue of our Startup series, we discussed the issue of idea generation, naming, domain names, hosting and the ever-important market research. In our second part, we will focus on less “preparatory” steps and more on actual doing of stuff. Intrigued? Read on for the next 5 steps on your personal startup path and some tools that can help you along the way.
1. Forms & Surveys
How to get that valuable feedback from your clients and/or customers? Surveys of course! Nothing simpler than making a smart survey and posting it on your website, Facebook page or even sending it via a newsletter to your subscribers. So do it. Here’s how:
SurveyMonkey is the world’s largest survey company, helping customers collect over 2+ million online survey responses every day. Create a survey of your choice with a few simple clicks, then share it with your target audience.
Typeform is a cloud-based application that is reinventing the way users create and respond to surveys and other types of forms, by making the process more user-friendly and engaging for both creators and end users. Being the first device-agnostic form solution, Typeform provides creators with peace of mind that their forms will have the same great look and feel on any smartphone, tablet or web browser.
2. Mockups & Wireframing
Whether you’re building a website, webapp or mobile app or just project overviews, do it simply and visually stimulating. Adding “clickable” links and buttons can go a long way in pre-testing your ideas. The following tools can assist you in this process:
Lucidchart is a flow chart maker & online diagram software. It’s an online application built on open web standards, so you never have to worry about compatibility. Now you can quickly create technical charts like network diagrams and UML diagrams, then share with your team. Use Lucidchart to make wireframes, mind maps, flowcharts, org charts, and other diagrams in the cloud. Also, web developers can use Lucidchart’s wireframe tool for static wireframes to rapid prototypes.
Concept.ly is a collaboration and prototyping platform that let’s you create fully interactive prototypes that look and work exactly like your app. Let users point anywhere on the screen, mark areas and provide comments, this makes it lot easier to get feedback. Make mockups and present your prototypes directly on the web and mobile devices. Concept.ly let’s you share, annotate and get feedback faster.
On of the big ones(not that the other ones are unimportant of course). Design is in everything. Not just visually, as in, how we see anything, but also how it works and how we interact with it. Design can make or break any grand idea because let’s admit it – we all love things that work AND look good. Using design, you can make use of the effect which certain colors and shapes have on people. The layout of all elements and even the typography have this effect too, so make good use of it. Try these for quick inspiration:
Crayon is the most comprehensive collection of marketing designs on the web. It’s the new way for you to get great ideas about what to build. Crayon is a search engine on top of the biggest collection of real marketing designs on the web.
Sketch is a professional vector graphics app with a beautiful interface and powerful tools. They set out to build a better app for graphic designers. Not to copy, but rather to improve. Sketch has won the Apple Design Award at the Mac Developer Showcase 2012 and has been featured in many publications, mentioning it’s great features.
Already reached the development stage? Everything planned out? Company name? Domain name? Design? Well, get to work! Or – in the case that your not the “developer type”, hire someone who is and hope they will fulfill your vision. Just make sure you’re using the right tools:
Codefresh offers a complete development environment in the cloud, that accelerates the time required to build great cloud apps. It’s accessible from any device and browser, and allows teams to collaborate on their code, deploy and monitor apps – all from a single, intuitive and fresh interface.
DevDocs aims to make reading and searching reference documentation fast, easy and enjoyable. It’s a free and open source, the app’s main goals are to: keep boot and load times as short as possible; improve the quality, speed, and order of search results; maximize the use of caching and other performance optimizations; maintain a clean, readable user interface.
This one goes hand in hand with the previous step – while you’re developing and of course after you’re done, you have to deploy your code. Sure, you can do it manually using any FTP software, but why not make it easier and deploy straight out of your development environment. How? With these:
The GitHub platform is widely known by the coder community, provides powerful collaboration and is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over seven million people use GitHub to build amazing things together. With the collaborative features of GitHub.com, their desktop apps, and GitHub Enterprise, it has never been easier for individuals and teams to write better code, faster.
Deploy your websites or apps directly from your repository to servers or the cloud.
Deploy code from GitHub, Codebase & BitBucket in minutes with Deploy! Just let Deploy know where your repository is and how they can access it. Deploy will test all the connections and if everything is in order, you can make your first deployment.
And that is all for today’s startup advice. Share your own views and tips in the comments below and stay tuned for the next part of our Startup series, in which we will shed some light on social tools, early users and beta-testing, presentations and more. And do not forget, we at Billdu are all about invoicing. Make sure you check out our article about the looks of a professional invoice template.