4 things that make Podio a great startup business tool.

Podio is a great tool for a startup business, that’s what I have seen in my year of implementing Podio for companies. Why?


Can I scale from 1 person all the way up to 500+?

That’s what a new startup should be asking themselves when they start using tools to run their business. So often I see startups with a Frankenstein of free tools when they could just be using Podio. Frankensteins don’t move fast and that can kill a startup. Not to mention that it can get really expensive once you reach your “freemium limits” when you use a whole bunch of different tools.

Podio allows a startup the opportunity to scale on one platform. I’ve implemented other systems in the past and a company could only grow so far before having to switch to a new business management & workflow system. It’s a really important consideration for a business as switching systems midstream is like having brain surgery while running. It can really cripple a company for 2 or 3 months as they make that switch.

Easy to get started for the startup business

Podio is easy to get started with and as needs expand you can add on. For instance, a few months ago I built out Podio for a solo Lawyer who used to use Daylite. He didn’t need all of the features of Daylite so we rebuilt what he was using in Daylite into Podio and shifted him over. Now he just uses the following apps People, Companies, Communications, Meetings and Projects in one workspace. Super Simple. And as his needs change and he grows Podio can grow with him.

On the other end of the scale, I just recently built phase 1 of Podio for a company with 25 employees and they have 10 workspaces and 111 apps, and that’s just phase 1!

Podio itself was a startup in 2011

Podio themselves won best business startup in November of 2011 and was acquired by Citrix in 2012 for approximately $ 53 million according to The Next Web. They are passionate about changing the future of work. I encourage you to read this great post by Jon Froda, one of the founders of Podio, as he reflects on work-styles from SxSW. Jon is very heavily involved in the startup world.

One of Podio’s key market focuses is startup business and I think I know why. It’s the same philosophy that Apple took with people – get them while they are young – and look at Apple today. It may have taken a while, but Apple made a big gamble on a distant future back in 1984 as they focused on the education market. Smart like a fox. I believe Podio is doing the same thing but with companies instead of people. And why not? Sure they could go after the enterprise social network market, but really, similarly to Apple’s “computer for the rest of us“, Podio is the enterprise social network for the rest of us.

Transitioning an existing company to a new system is not always the easiest thing. You’ve got so much resistance to get through. Unless you really get that company at a pain point where their existing systems don’t work for them anymore, you are pushing a ball up a hill. A startup, on the other hand, is fresh and open. It’s a match made in tech heaven.

Flexibility and Agility

A major tenet of the lean startup is the ability to have continuous innovation. One thing to really understand with a startup is that there is a certain amount of flexibility needed. Business processes change rapidly in a startup business. What works at 6 months may not work 9 months in. The beauty of Podio is that you can rapidly change your work processes without calling in a programmer. Having said that, I am an obvious advocate for having a Podio Preferred Partner like myself or one of the other partners help you to architect the system in the first place. Because flexibility can be a double edged sword.

Yesterday I worked with an SEO company who had boldly charged forward with Podio without a good understanding of data sets and structures. She came to me because now her system was crippled and she was stumped as to how to get the information she wanted out. Thankfully Podio is agile enough that we can manuever that data around into where it needs to be. Still she wouldn’t have to go through all of this if she had had someone help her architect the system in the first place.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past 12 months a company has come to me in tears because they have unleashed their staff on Podio without any forethought whatsoever. It can be anarchy if there is no understanding of the businesses greater goals and the KPIs that they want to get out of it.

So if you aren’t going to use a partner to help you architect it, don’t blame it on Podio. Podio is just like Lego blocks. You can build pretty much anything with them. You can build it at the level of a 3 year old or you can build it at the level of an Lego Engineer. So sit down and really think about what you want to get out of it. Discuss it with your teams. Learn all you can about it or set up a free 45 minute consultation with us to at least get a high level game plan.

Looking forward

I am really excited to see where Citrix will take Podio. I’ve already started to see the capital injections making a difference in terms of features that Podio now has such as video and audio chat. I’ve started to see more advertising for it and I can feel the tide swell. I’ve mentioned before that I was getting ready to catch the wave. Here it comes.

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