Who are the top service providers for startups you absolutely need? Startup businesses require many different services as they go from ideation to launch, scaling, and through an exit. Some things may be done through team members who are on staff. Many others are best done by utilizing existing expert services.
As you start out on this venture, grow it, and then prepare to move on, there are many vendors and suppliers you will need, as well as a variety of services that may be more efficiently and effectively handled by outside experts.
Let’s take a look at some of these needs, and who some of the top service providers are in this space for startups.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Banking For Startups
Banking is one of the first needs startup businesses have. You need to be able to make payments and track your expenses for tax purposes. You need to be able to receive money from customers and have somewhere for investors to fund you.
Most banks will let any newly formed company open a business account as long as they have a tax ID number. Though not all are really designed with startups in mind, or to meet their needs for flexibility. Especially in the early days when the volume of transactions and balances can change so dramatically.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is probably the best-known bank for startups. Brex specializes in corporate cards, though also offers special online tools for startups. Like tracking your burn rate and runway. While not a bank itself, Mercury offers banking services and boasts 100,000 startup customers.
As you get started, grow your business, seek the best ways to enable and track spending across your teams, and find flexibility in cash flow, and working capital, there can be value found in a variety of credit options, outside of equity raising and large scale venture debt facilities.
Depending on your stage of business, and track record of sales, this may include various business credit cards, lines of credit, specific asset financing, working capital loans, merchant cash advances, and factoring.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
Paypal is big in this space. Capital One can also help those just starting out with basic business cards, and online banking. The SBA provides a menu of loan programs through approved direct lenders. You’re also going to need to look into channels for fundraising.
Keep in mind that in fundraising, storytelling is everything. In this regard, for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
It is important to quickly formalize your business entity. You will need this to open your business bank account, get paid, avoid extra taxes, to minimize liability, and establish credibility.
True startups will typically incorporate as a C Corp., which is the entity preferred by larger startup investors. Some small businesses may begin with other entities meant for small businesses and may be able to convert them later.
It is possible to incorporate your business online with your state in a few minutes and very inexpensively in most cases. This is not for everyone. Having a good startup lawyer can obviously help ensure you get it right, think through future liabilities and opportunities and get the right language in the details.
LegalZoom is probably the most common hybrid solution for those that want some support, but not the high cost of a big law firm. Whichever route you take, you usually get what you pay for. It’s one of the top service providers for startups you need to engage.
Pitch decks are perhaps the most crucial tool and asset that startup entrepreneurs will have created.
They are not only essential for fundraising, but will help you think through and plan your business venture, inform your team, recruit the best talent and advisors, and keep everyone focused on what’s most important.
You can create your own pitch deck. If you do this at the pre-seed stage, or at any time, then be sure you take advantage of a great, proven pitch deck template to streamline the process and get it right.
Of course, the better the help you can get with this, the better your deck, and the more effective and profitable it will be.
You can choose to pay a lot of money for pitch deck creation services. Sketch Deck might run you up to $4,000. Other San Francisco pitch deck agencies may easily quote you $40k or more.
The hybrid option is to use a proven pitch deck template, then outsource the copywriting and graphic design to expert freelancers. Platforms like Upwork can help you connect with the best on-demand talent for this.
Communication & Team Collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration between your teams and team members are vital for efficiency, speed, growth, profitability, and staying competitive.
There are many tools, apps, and software solutions pitched in this space, including those like slack. However, it does not need to be complicated, expensive, or a distraction, and an extra step in onboarding and communicating.
One of the easiest and most affordable is using Google’s suite of services. Including Gmail, Google Docs, and Drive for hosting your virtual data room, and their Slides for presenting your pitch deck.
If you are going to build a business, you need a CRM. You need to be able to create lead lists, assemble a database of your customers, document interactions, and streamline and systemize follow-up.
There are countless CRM software options out there. Most essentially do the same things. The key to success here is picking something which is easy to use, so your staff actually uses it. As well as software that is fast to get started with, and can scale with you. You do not want to have to switch CRMs later. This can be very time-consuming, costly, and a real point of frustration. If you need to switch, the sooner, the better.
Integration is key here. Pick a CRM that will easily integrate with your email, phone, documents, website and apps, and other software.
Most new startups and small businesses may find Salesforce too complex, with too many options. Though they may want all its functionality and options once they do get very large.
For starting out, Close.io is a very simple, easy-to-use, and implementable choice. You’ll want to consider it when evaluating top service providers for startups.
Email Marketing Services
Email is still one of the most important channels for startups. Having an effective email marketing service is vital.
Again, the key features to look at and base your decision on here include, ease of integration with other software and tools, cost-effectiveness, the right-sized solution with the ability to scale with you, and ease of use.
Most email services do the same things. There may be one or two which offer an extra feature, but most are not very different, except in visual style, and how you use them.
ConstantContact, Get Response, and Hubspot are some of the most common. Yet, Mailchimp is still one of the easiest to use, boasts some of the most integrations, and will do most of the tasks that the majority of startups and small businesses need.
Fundraising is one of the most important parts of a startup that founders will need help with.
There are many ways to do it. A great pitch deck will be instrumental to this, even if you just plan to wing it and run out there pitching everyone you can.
There are now many crowdfunding platforms that may be an option, depending on your type of venture, the type of capital you need, and the investors you want to reach. There are donation-based, equity-crowdfunding, and debt-based platforms to pick from. As well as more niche options.
Founders who are serious about raising capital for their startups, and want to run an efficient process will also leverage the best fundraising consultants and advisors. They can help you prepare, get vital and powerful introductions, negotiate the best terms, and help you get across the finish line, to money in the bank. Check out AlejandroCremades.com for your fundraising needs.
Startup accelerators can help with seed capital, introductions to investors, and really get your startup focused and moving fast. They can also add a lot of credibility, which is why you need to add them to your list of the top service providers for startups.
Just remember, they can also be difficult to get into. It is great validation if you can. Though be careful of burning precious time.
The best startup accelerator by far appears to be Y Combinator. Which is notoriously harder to get into than Harvard.
Other top accelerators to check out include Google, Techstars, 500 Startups, Plug And Play, and Founders Factory.
Great startup ventures culminate in mergers and acquisitions deals.
Some may end up going public. Though M&A can offer many more options to founders. Often with more generous valuations.
The time to get help with your M&A is not when you absolutely must sell your company. It is well before this moment. You can add a lot more value, position for the best exit, and achieve the best outcome with an M&A strategy you are working on in advance.
Then along with your M&A advisory, you can attract the best acquirers, negotiate the optimal terms, and set yourself up for success through the process and afterward.
Check out Panthera Advisors for leveraging 40 years of experience in M&A to enable your company to achieve the best possible outcome. You can’t go wrong when you have top service providers for startups like them in your corner.
Using third-party service providers can help you economize on your business operations. This can be crucial when you’re trying to save every dollar. For more cost-cutting tops for startups, check out this video I have created.
Documents & Forms
Startup entrepreneurs will soon find that they need a whole library of new forms and documents.
This can range from HR forms to legal documents like NDAs, to operating agreements, and more.
Some of these may be best created by your legal team. At some stage, your business will need to lean on your legal counsel to protect you across many of these documents and forms.
However, there are also many free or low-cost ways to grab effective templates. You may find some fillable DIY legal forms on websites like LegalZoom, Law Depot, and others. Though, they are not always as simple to use as they are made out to be.
The SBA has some templates that may be worth checking out. Though finding forms and documents specifically designed for startups can be especially beneficial.
Check out alejandrocremades.com/business-templates for a variety of these forms, from hiring to business plans, and more.
Popular law firms for startups include:
- Wilson Sonsini
- Gunderson Dettmer Stough
- Herrington & Sutcliffe
- Perkins Coie
- Kirkland & Ellis
Other Service Providers Your Startup Will Need
Other services you may need to find solutions for include:
- Graphic design
- Real estate
- Marketing plans
As a startup, there will be many services you need. Scouting around for the top service providers for startups should be high on your list of priorities. As you move from exploring and validating your idea to formalizing a business, launching, scaling, funding, and exiting, you will have many needs.
Some of these needs will be temporary or occasional. Others you will need to plug in for the rest of the life of your company.
Just as picking the best quality talent will help your startup succeed and win your space, the better service providers you invest in using will also upgrade your company, and elevate its potential.
Having the wisdom to know where to save, and where to invest in the best is what will make or break your venture.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.