Usually in the early days of a startup, money is usually scarce and necessary purchases such as software and other tools cannot always be financed.
CRM, billing tools, accounting programs , time recording apps… and many other digital tools that have become standard in everyday business today. After all, they save time, relieve tedious work and bring more efficiency into the processes.
In this article we outline the most used free tools and services for startups that you can enjoy free of charge to make your startup successful.
These are tools that are used mainly by most entrepreneurs and startups who need to organize work groups and team projects. They help assign each other’s tasks, set deadlines, etc. Essential, above all, for those who work with collaborators remotely. Here Basecamp and Trello win by a landslide ; The two are very similar, but Trello has taken the lead because it is completely free (Basecamp is only for teachers) and because it combines very well with Google Docs.
Another recommended alternative is Asana , although in its free version, it is limited to a maximum of 15 people per starting team.
For more on project management software, refer to our article here.
A task manager is something like a very sophisticated notebook used to create to-do lists and annotations of all kinds and share them with others. Evernote stands out above all , with a huge difference, followed by RemembertheMilk .
Google Keep is also a recommended solution for small teams. Evernote is the most complete for collecting, processing and sharing tasks. RemembertheMilk is a perfect complement to Evernote to manage task lists and assign times (alarms, automatic lists, due dates, etc.), although you can do without it. Both are multi-device and have a great connection with third-party tools and apps.
If you prefer to have your tasks visualized differently, you can also use Droptask . Here individual tasks are shown as colored bubbles.
Venngage is an online free graphic design software for business. Startups and entrepreneurs use Venngage for its creative pitch deck templates, business plans, infographics, roadmaps and its many charts, graphs and diagrams. Some of the templates and features require a Premium or Business plan though.
Canva is an online graphics program that can be used to create professional-looking graphics without prior knowledge. There are numerous templates for business cards, presentations, infographics or social media . The use of Canva is free, some templates or stock images cost a flat fee of one US dollar though.
For more on free graphics software, refer to our article here.
Buffer (free version) : Buffer allows you to easily share and plan postings on your social media channels.
Fanpage Karma : Fanpage Karma helps you analyze social media activities on Twitter and Facebook.
HootSuite (free version) : With HootSuite you can manage your accounts in social networks and schedule messages.
TweetDeck : TweetDeck allows you to manage your Twitter account from your desktop.
Tweepi : With Tweepi you can manage your Twitter account and follow users from your target group.
Google Drive and Dropbox will help you save all your data safely, securely and freely in the cloud. In this way, you can access them from any device anywhere. Google Drive for instance offers up to 15 GB free.
Storing data in the cloud is practical, but often not particularly secure. With the Boxcryptor tool, your own data can be encrypted before uploading and thus protected against unauthorized access. The basic version is free of charge.
For more on cloud storage, refer to our article here.
Most recommended are Magento and Prestashop which are both free. Prestashop, for small and medium retailers and Magento, for larger ones. Both are open source free solutions that you can install and configure. Some technical knowledge is required though.
Another free solution, WooCommerce , allows you to set up a business from a WordPress website. It is great that it works on WordPress, which is such a widespread framework that many marketing and business people know how to use.In this way, the input curve is much simpler.
For email marketing campaigns, one free and very good solution is MailChimp which allows up to 12,000 emails to be sent to 2,000 subscribers. The free version includes in the emails a logo of Mailchimp and a link to the site, but it is not something that would not bother much, unless the number of Subscribers or emails sent per month is high, in which case you would want to opt for the paid version.
Here is a list of some of the email marketing tools for small business :
AWeber : Aweber is probably the largest and most well-known email marketing provider and is used frequently.
CleverReach (free of charge for up to 250 recipients and 1,000 emails per month) : With CleverReach you can also create and send newsletters and place pictures and content blocks individually using drag & drop.
Customer.io : The Customer.io tool supports you in newsletter marketing and allows customers to be divided into certain segments.
MailBuilds : With MailBuilds you can create email templates.
Newsletter2Go (1,000 emails per month free of charge) : With the e-mail marketing software and newsletter software from Newsletter2Go you can create, send and evaluate newsletters.
Rapidmail (free trial period) : With rapidmail, templates can be customized using drag and drop and newsletters can be created and sent in just a few steps
If you do not want to invest money in having your own website, WordPress and Wix are the simplest alternatives. Both have a good reputation especially the former. WordPress is the best for creating blogs and websites. Of course, keep in mind that, although it is free, as you add plugins and extra features, especially powerful ones, they cost money.
For more on the best website building software, refer to our article here.
What is usually paid times is for the template that you are going to use on your website or blog. But the platform itself is free. For simple single-page websites or landing pages to attract customers, Instapage is also highly recommended.
With the modular system Jimdo , websites can be designed without any programming and design knowledge. There are numerous templates and various options to customize the page. An online shop can also be set up.
To learn more about the best web hosting services, refer our article here.
This will help you know what others say about you and where. The most recommended is Google Alerts , an alert system that alerts you when someone posts something about your name or brand. It doesn’t take too many tools to know what is being said about you on Google. The algorithm is highly qualified to find the terms you are looking for. Just type in your name or your brand and that’s it.
Other good alternatives can be Mention which is very useful for managing reputation on social networks: what is said about you and which comments of yours have the most impact, who are the most influential users, etc. Mention has a plan with its corresponding rates depending on the size and type of equipment. Other more specific tools such as Twitter Search , a real-time search engine so you don’t miss a thing about what is said about you on this network. In this same network you also have solutions such as those of Tweet Alarm.
Best in Test: Best in Test is suitable as an online reputation management tool for SMEs, for companies with multiple locations as well as for associations and franchises.
Here are some of the best time management tools:
TimeCamp: a smart windows time tracker (available also for other platforms) that offers a free plan for unlimited users and with unlimited projects and tasks.
Traqq : Traqq is an easy to use time tracking software that can also record activity levels and can take screenshots.
TimeTrack: TimeTrack is a time tracking software with a variety of features: attendance tracking, project time tracking, leave management and invoicing. You can record your working hours, track your project progress, create project reports and invoices for your clients.
Harvest : Harvest allows you to record and invoice working hours.
Hubstaff : With Hubstaff you can record working hours and use the software for project management at the same time.
RescueTime : RescueTime shows how much time you spend with which tools or websites.
Timesheet : The Android Timesheet app enables you to record working hours with a simple push of a button.
TimeTac : TimeTac supports you online with time recording, project time recording and vacation management.
toggl : With toggle you can record working hours for free.
The Google Keyword Planner supports you in keyword research and shows the search volume of the selected keyword as well as the CPC and the competition for Adwords ads. You can also use the tool to generate new keyword ideas.
Keyword-Tools.org : On this website you will find free tools for keyword monitoring, keyword research and a Google Ranking Live Check.
KW Finder : With the help of KW Finder you can find keywords for your website and view the search volume, the CPC and PCC as well as the competition of those.
Google Hangout , Skype and MashmeTV are the best options. Skype and Google Hangout are very complete, free and, unless you want something super-specific, you don’t have to pay for this type of service to communicate between devices with voice or video. Skype also has very cheap mobile rates. Teamviewer can also be used along with other similar alternatives as detailed in this article.
Desk.com : Desk.com supports you with customer support and helps you make faster decisions.
Freshdesk : Freshdesk is online help desk software for customer support in various ways such as email, phone, chat, web and more.
Intercom : Intercom offers customer support solutions for sales, marketing and support teams on one platform.
LiveAgent : With LiveAgent you can also support customers via live chat and help desk software.
Zendesk : Zendesk is a web-based software that helps companies provide comprehensive support to internal and external customers via email, phone, chat, web, social media and other channels.
Slack is a program that simplifies team communication. It offers private and public chats in which links or files can also be sent. Slack can be linked to other services such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Here are some content marketing tools :
blogmission : Blogmission is a marketplace for content marketing, blog marketing and blog marketing.
Contentbird : Contentbird supports you in content creation as well as in the areas of link building, SEO, content marketing and online PR.
SeedingUp : SeedingUp is an international online marketing service provider and offers efficient solutions for content marketing, content seeding and marketing in five languages
They are tools that help you know how your website or online business is faring, in terms of SEO, competitors, keywords, rankings and other series of parameters. In the market you will find free versions, such as Mozbar and Quicksprout ..
Mozbar is a plugin that is installed on your browser and with a single click you can see the Domain authority of your website as well as other parameters. Among the free ones, Woorank helps you detect the mistakes you make in your positioning. It has a paid version, but it is not worth it.
Google Analytics and Bitly are the most widely used. The first will let you know the volume of traffic your website receives. Bitly is a URL shortener (essential for sharing links on Twitter, for example) that also offers you information about what happens to the links you share.
Other tools for analytics and app measurement like Appfigures which offers information on the number of downloads, sales, ranking of your app, ratings, etc. Analytics, like Appanie, which tells who does what within your app. Same as Amplitude . They are something like Google Analytics for applications. Another alternative is Mixpanel , which is used for web and app analytics. This gives you extra information that Google Analytics does not offer you on the web .
It could be worth also to check SEO paid tools such as Semrush and Ahrefs which have very limited free versions.
Another way to carry out market research is to detect trends on the Internet, with free tools such as Google Trends , which reflects what keywords people search for daily. Or by conducting your own email surveys with solutions like SurveyMonkey.
Surveys and assessments
In text processing, there is not much discussion: OpenOffice and Google Docs are the most used apps which help create impressive documents. Both have a word processor, a spreadsheet and a PowerPoint-compatible presentation app.
Entrepreneurs opt more for Google Docs, combined with Google Sheets (Excel) and Google Slides (PowerPoint). OpenOffice is for editing only and does not allow multiple people to work at the same time.
With Google Docs, on the other hand, and from the same Gmail account, you can create, edit and share any document. Several people can even work at the same time online and from any device (PC, tablet or mobile) .
For the startup that does not work with clients or have to control stock, etc It could use an a billing tool like Direct Invoice. For managing the point of sale and generating digital receipts, keeping inventory and designing sales reports, a good free solution is Squareup .
These have very useful tools in their free version, in fact the main limitation of Zoho CRM without payment is that it only allows access to three different users within the company, which is usually sufficient for an SMB. In the case of Openbravo, being free software, the problem can come, as with any open source (open source) solution, in which it is necessary to have some technical knowledge in order to use them.
So even if Openbravo is free, if you don’t have technical knowledge, you should assess whether it pays to hire someone to install and configure Openbravo to adjust it to the specific needs of your company.
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