With the recent generative AI explosion there’s never been a better suite of cost effective tools for startups to get your new business up and running quickly. Here’s a run down of our top 5 selections, each an invaluable startup tool. We’ll cover some examples of what they can do, and how we have used them. Let’s dive in.
Startup tool #1 – Chilling.com
What’s more crucial to a new businesses success than responding to your customers in a professional and timely manner? We believe nothing, and since Chilling.com brings premium customer support within everyones reach with the Pay What you Want model, we’ve inserted ourselves at #1 (and it is our blog, right?)
All too often a single email address is the only point of contact in new businesses, which means there is a real risk of reputation damage from slow replies, or even missed queries or problems.
This can kill a business before it’s even got going.
With Chilling.com you can not only solve that issue but manage customer queries from a central place and from multiple channels. Whether your customers message you on instagram, whatsapp, email or post something on your website form, you can see and respond to it all from one place, with all the history.
There’s too many features to fully list here, such as mobile apps, automation, labelling important customers, macros, agents, satisfaction surveys and more, all built in. It’s free to try out, and when you’re ready you can choose what to pay us, so why not give it a whirl?
Startup tool #2 – ChatGPT
The premier generative AI engine.
Everyone’s talking about it and with good reason – though it’s far from perfect it can provide effective answers to questions, ideas and quality content from just a question (otherwise known as a prompt, which seems to have wriggled its way into common parlance already).
The fly in the ointment is it can also provide answers that are wrong and completely made up, even on the latest version, GPT-4. However, although it can’t be relied upon to be factually correct all the time, there are still a ton of ways it can help…
Here’s just some of the ways that you can effectively utilise ChatGPT (and some of the ways the Chilling team have used it), with examples.
Even though it’s not the best at coming up with unique ideas (it’s not as good as a human at thinking laterally), it can be great to ask for base ideas or to refine existing ideas, which can often spark something in your own creativity.
You can even ask it to impersonate a famous business leader to discuss the merits of an idea with, for example you could create a prompt telling it to answer as Steve Jobs and ask it what it thinks of your product. Let’s show you how easy that is:
We wouldn’t advise using ChatGPT to write all your copy, although if you did it would likely do a reasonably good job (just not a great one). One area where it can really shine however, is using a technique or methodology to write copy for a specific purpose.
A great example of writing for a purpose are product descriptions. If you’ve ever listed products for sale in a shopify shop, or on an online marketplace like etsy or ebay then I’m sure you recognise the pain in having to come up with multiple unique, engaging descriptions.
This is where ChatGPT wins – in this prompt we’ve asked it to write a product description for Chilling.com using the AIDA model (which is a tried and trusted conversion technique), and as you can see, it’s pretty damn good! Just remove the titles for each and you have most of your product description in just a few seconds. We would recommend giving some information about your products features beforehand though as context.
ChatGPT can be a great shortcut for the planning stage of any piece of writing, educational course, or even project. Simply tell ChatGPT your purpose, any framework you’d like to use and ask it to create a plan and summary. This only requires minor tweaking most of the time (if any).
Let’s say we wanted to run a training course for Chilling.com and had a few ideas, but weren’t sure exactly where to start…
This is just a taster of the things you can do with ChatGPT to use it as your ultimate startup tool. The possibilities are multitudinous and we’ve only just scratched the surface here of this very versatile and powerful tool. You can either use for free (in a slightly limited way), or pay $10/month, giving you access to various useful plugins for web and video amongst others. Incredible value for something so powerful.
Startup tool #3 – Midjourney
If ChatGPT is the premier text generative tool, then Midjourney is the image based equivalent.
Having been involved in the web and ecommerce since back in the early days of the internet we’ve been heavy users of buying stock imagery. Finding the right image takes a lot of time and effort and usually requires additional photoshop work (or canva, see below!).
There is now a very viable and more powerful alternative. With Midjourney you can create any image in the style you want, with any elements and colours you want – and now with version 5 people are much less likely to have additional fingers, arms or legs!
Time for a demo…
You may have already read our post on how much should you pay for helpdesk software, all images on that post were generated by Midjourney, but let’s give it another assignment, generating us an image of an imaginary chilling.com customer…
Pretty good, right? It took about 60 seconds.
Using Midjourney does requires a bit of learning, however. It’s not as straightforward as some of the others. All images are generated via discord currently, and prompt generation is a tricky skill to learn. At the point of writing it’s limited to paid sign-ups only (at $8/month) too, but that’s significantly cheaper than most stock imagery websites.
Midjourney did just introduce a ‘describe’ command, which does make prompt generation significantly easier. You can now upload an image, ask it to describe it and it will provide a prompt that it would use to generate the image you uploaded, which is super useful to learn new tricks, or to copy an aesthetic you like for a new image.
Here’s the prompt used to generate this image above: /imagine a photorealistic promotional portrait of a cool, young business owner who is amazed at being able to access a support software system for her business and only pay what she wants + setting in a coffee shop + high quality output –v 5
Startup tool #4 – Canva
Canva has been around for quite a while but it’s now become the go to tool for business imagery. With a ton of freely available templates, images and elements you can easily create materials for your business with just a few clicks.
We’re still discovering new things tools with Canva, as it offers a vast array of templates and options. It even supports importing existing images from social media and is rolling out it’s own AI image generation and manipulation (not as good as Midjourney though…yet!). It makes creating pretty much any resources you want to use offline or online an absolute breeze without the major learning curve of photoshop. It’s simply so damn easy to use!
Some useful tools are not available on it’s free version (such as custom image resizing and background removal), but the pro version is good value at £10.99 a month, especially if you consider you will most likely only need the pro version occasionally and you can swap between the versions quite easily.
Startup tool #5 – Trello
Keeping organised is a major issue when starting a business, you have a ton of things you could be doing, and that will need completing at some point, but you only have so much time available. Trello is free and gives you the means to get everything down into the ultimate to do list, so you can prioritise what’s important and track your progress.
Trello uses Kanban, which is a visual methodology for task tracking. We’re big fans of it here because it gives you an easily digestible visual overview of all your tasks organised into lists of your choosing. It’s also fantastic for when you have bigger teams collaborating, or to track freelancers progress.
Trello has a very generous free version and you’re unlikely to need to upgrade until you have a much larger team. It features easy to use mobile apps to add or update tasks on the go, and integrations with every major platform, making it such a useful daily tool.
The ultimate list of tools for Startups?
Though there is plenty more software that could’ve made this list, these are our essentials and are used daily by the Chilling team. If you’ve already started your business then by now you will have realised that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything you want to completed, so any tools that save you time and don’t break the bank are worth their weight in gold! Let us know in the comments if you use any others that should be here and best of luck with your new business!