All about collaboration and the future of work

Best startup software tools: A guide for UK Startup Founders

Best startup software tools: A guide for UK Startup Founders

Building a startup is one of the most fun and rewarding things you can do in business. With so many tools and SaaS platforms available, it can be daunting to know where to start and understand the best startup software tools which are right for you to support your growth.

In this guide we take a comprehensive look at some of the best startup software tools, free plans and cool software to help you launch, run, manage, market, collaborate, scale and measure the success of your startup.

We have pulled on the experience of 100s of startups in this guide and asked for their feedback on software tools they have used when building their startups.

Google Calendar Analytics for Tech Companies

Google Calendar Analytics for Tech Companies

When we consider the big picture of 'the purpose of a work calendar' we realize that calendar functionality hasn't developed since the world moved from physical paper calendars to a digital world with Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar at the forefront.

This transition enabled 'shared and transparent' meeting management across organisations globally, making us more connected. However the question remains, why has there been no new innovations in the last 20 years ago? We cannot pinpoint any ground breaking additions to the calendars themselves.

Where we have experienced developments are from companies like Calendly and Hubspot whereby scheduling assistants can be integrated into email, websites, chat bots and other communication tools.

8 ways collaboration among employees can reduce startup failure risk

8 ways collaboration among employees can reduce startup failure risk

Startup failure. It cannot be eradicated. It is part of the startup ecosystem. Getting out-competed, no market need, team disharmony and running out of cash are just some of the common startup failure reasons within a long list. 

When you begin to look closer at the common startup failure reasons, a few things become clear:

  1. Startups will always fail. There are uncontrollable factors. Covid highlights this fact, for some companies Covid has sparked amazing innovation and technology breakthroughs, where for others a global impact event has meant startups have had to pivot fast and many have found their market and revenue completely grind to a halt.
  2. The real root cause of startup failure is rarely a single common reason. Multiple factors usually combine to cause a startup to fail.
  3. It has almost become fashionable within startup circles that failure is seen as a badge of honor - “Failure is just part of the journey to success”. Where I agree in part, and in some instances we can learn more from failure than success, success is only ever created by understanding the real root cause failure. The common startup failure reasons addresses somewhat the strategic reasons for startup failure, but they do not address the tactical or operational reasons for failure, which typically are the real root cause.

How To Build Startup Culture and Collaboration among employees

How To Build Startup Culture and Collaboration among employees

Whether implicit or explicit, every startup has a culture and your startup culture is more important than you might first imagine. We meet founders and entrepreneurs every day who only become more determined about their startup culture after they have achieved some success in the market.

However, that determination and focus on your startup culture should be an integral part of your startup journey from day 1, why? Your startup culture can help define many critical success factors as you grow such as talent acquisition, talent retention, employee engagement and competitive advantage.

Don’t worry if you are struggling to think about what your startup culture actually is, unlike your product, platform, sales or profits - your startup culture isn’t something that can be easily quantified or defined and it’s hard to write down every aspect and perspective of your startup culture. But, nothing is lost, and we have written this article specifically to give you startup culture ideas, and how to create an innovative and collaborative team culture of communication. 

So let's kick off by taking a look at the basics of how to build a startup culture, some elements to focus on and some startup culture misconceptions to avoid:

Start-ups - Are your strategic objectives setting you up for failure?

Start-ups - Are your strategic objectives setting you up for failure?

When start-ups conduct their first OKR process, in almost all cases it is completely over-engineered, from the amount of objectives to the interoperability between each objective and key result.

So you’re an early stage start-up or preparing to scale. Awesome.

Your team is growing fast. Amazing.

You feel it is time to take a more structured approach with your company objectives. Great.

You have heard about OKRs. Excellent.

You think your first set of objectives should be all about profit, customer acquisition and funding. Ah. Okay. Hmm.

You think your teams are collaborating well…

You think your teams are highly engaged…

You think no-one is at risk of burnout…

You might need to think again…

Tracking and Improving Collaboration with Flowtrace

Tracking and Improving Collaboration with Flowtrace

Without collaboration, there would be no innovation.

And while most employees and leaders recognise the value of working together towards a shared vision, finding the time and best processes can prove extremely difficult.

It's not enough to put all of your star players in one room and hope they will work it out. In most cases, individual skills matter less than the overall attitude and environment the people are in.

Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions.” - Julia Rozovsky, Analyst, Google People Operations

Read on to learn the benefits of collaboration, how we track it in Flowtrace, and how you can be more collaborative as an individual contributor or a leader at your organisation!

Tracking and Improving Focus Time with Flowtrace

Tracking and Improving Focus Time with Flowtrace

Innovation requires our full attention, but in a world riddled with distractions, it's getting increasingly harder to find time to focus.

Researchers believe humans can enter deep work for a maximum of four hours per day, while two to three hours of deep work per day is the sweet spot for being able to deliver meaningful projects.

However, the reality of a usual workday can make it difficult to achieve due to:

  • Tedious and repetitive admin
  • Ad-hoc communications from the team
  • Constant updates from digital platforms

Read on to discover why it's important for teams to have as much focus time as possible, how we track it in Flowtrace, and how you can get even more focused as an individual contributor or a leader at your organisation!

10 Ways of Improving Cross-Team Collaboration and Alignment

10 Ways of Improving Cross-Team Collaboration and Alignment

Cross-team collaboration (also known as inter-team collaboration) is a key component to growing and scaling businesses successfully.

Yet, so few organisations strive for improving it and even less achieve it. What the data tells us is alarming:

  • Organisations with ~50 employees stand to leave over $125,000 on the table per year when they don’t collaborate. (Upchain + Deloitte)
  • While 89% of people believe that effective communication is extremely important, 8 out of 10 people rate their own business’ communication as either average or poor. (Communication Statistics 2020 by
  • The biggest struggle while working remotely is collaboration and communication (20%), followed by loneliness (20%), and not being able to unplug (18%). (State of Remote Work 2020 by Buffer)

And even if your employees do end up talking with members from other teams, it doesn't mean that they're communicating about the challenges that matter.

Sadly, as pleasant as casual chats are, a discussion about favourite pastimes doesn't quite compare to discussing the real problems you're having and how you should come together to solve them.

It takes a lot of work to achieve fruitful cross-functional collaboration.

But if you don't put in the effort, you risk creating misalignment in goals, information silos, and a lack of clarity that will frustrate even the most loyal and skilful employees.

Read on to better understand how you can make a meaningful improvement in how your teams collaborate with each other, not just individual contributors.

When you're ready, action those same steps to skyrocket productivity across your whole organisation - following through with just one can make a significant impact!

5 Employee Engagement Strategies to Help Retention in Tech

5 Employee Engagement Strategies to Help Retention in Tech

The tech industry can be a demanding place.

While we're drawn in by the ability to work virtually from anywhere with not much else than a laptop and good internet speed, the drawback is the constant need to stay engaged and switched on as an employee.

It's a fast-moving industry where new software, trends, and methods crop up regularly, far removing it from the regular 9-5 office job.

Employee turnover rates are high, too.

Back in 2018, LinkedIn surveyed over a half-a-billion professionals who ranked Technology (software) as the industry with the highest turnover rates (13.2%), closely followed by Retail and Consumer Products (13%) and Media Entertainment (11.4%).

While the rate is mostly linked to increase in demand and opportunities in the space, UX/UI Designers, Data Analysts, and Engineers are even more likely to jump ship to pursue fairer compensation.

But not all companies, especially startups, can afford to pay industry-leading salaries and provide dreamlike perks and benefits.

So what can you do? Improve your employee engagement.

Companies that invest heavily in engaging their employees and improving their overall experience see lower turnover rates, reduction in costs linked to re-hiring, and less wasted efforts overall.

And while the Human Resources (HR) team can help, the leadership team is the one that needs to contribute the most.

In our guide, we cover the essentials and the five strategies for increasing employee engagement, so that you can retain your staff for longer and help them feel more fulfilled in their roles.

Let's dig in!

How to Measure Productivity For Your Team in 2021

How to Measure Productivity For Your Team in 2021

In an ideal world, we want our teams to be more productive, but how would we know they were if we didn't measure it? Merely seeing an increase in the output of work doesn't mean more valuable work is actually being done.

Truth is, discovering how to measure productivity of your teams can be a mammoth task, especially in an increasingly remote workspace. Given the abundance of tools knowledge workers use every day, it can be hard to find where to begin!

In our short guide, we go through the five different methods of measuring productivity for teams, so that you can evaluate if there are any issues with processes and empower them to do their best work in the future.