Services Checklist For A Startup (at least the ones we use)

May 23, 2012

As co-founders of MyServista, we have used a number of external services to help bootstrap our business with minimal capital. We recently launched an improved version of our site and these tools have been very useful. We thought that it would be helpful to share these with others who are looking to get their companies started on the cheap.

This is simply a list of services we use. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive list of services or of the “best” providers in the market nor are we promoting these providers in any way. Likely we’ve left out some amazing companies. Where possible, we tried to use services offered by companies in Chicago.
  • Virtual Servers & CDN: Amazon EC2, Amazon CloudFront
  • Customer Surveys: SurveyMonkey
  • Massmail: MailChimp
  • Transactional mail: Amazon SES
  • Feedback App: UserVoice
  • Site Analytics: Google Analytics & KISSMetrics
  • Credit Card Payments: BrainTree
  • Source Code Control: GitHub
  • Bug Tracking: Bugzilla
  • DNS: CloudFlare
  • Logo Design: CrowdSpring
  • Stock Photos: ShutterStock
  • Accounting: QuickBooks
  • Document Collaboration: Google Docs
  • Business Cards & Direct Mail: VistaPrint
  • Office Space: 1871

We’ve heard great things about MixPanel for site analytics and did consider FeeFighters (Samurai) and PayPal for payment processing. We ended up designing our own logo as we didn’t like what we got back from CrowdSpring. We have a lot of stock photos on our site and found a well priced package for $250/month for 25 images a day on ShutterStock.

 

We love companies that have offerings targeting startups. They usually have a free basic plan (freemium) until you hit a threshold and we found that these plans usually met our initial needs. MailChimp (which has a great API btw), UserVoice, Google Analytics, Bugzilla and CloudFlare can all be potentially used for free. For CloudFlare we did notice that performance improved dramatically once we started paying $20/month.

 

We’ve left a few services such as legal services and banking off the list. We’ve been told that typically a lawyer will take 5-10 hours to customize a partnership agreement, 5-7 hours for an employee stock agreement, 3-4 hours for a product/service agreement and about 1 hour for a non-disclosure agreement. Rates can be $250-500 an hour.

 

We hope that you find this beneficial. And show us some love! Vote here for MyServista as "Best Bootstrapped Startup" for the Moxie Awards.