Keeping the costs to a minimum are always a concern for startups and entrepreneurs. The thing is, startups have to be competitive against established players in order to succeed, so use of cutting edge tools and technologies is a must. Certain costs need to be met no matter how cash-strapped you are, such as domain name registration, server costs and so on.
However, where most small businesses can save is in their day-to-day operations.
This is where technology can be used to lower costs and keep the budget within check. Now, there are quite a lot of free tools out there that claim to boost productivity, but not all of them are created equal. That is why we’ve done all the hard work for you and chosen the X best tools for startups and entrepreneurs. These top tools for startups and entrepreneurs are sure to increase productivity levels while decreasing on operational costs as well. Let’s dive in!
We consider Google Docs to be one of the best tools in Google’s suite of office apps. It’s the definitive free way to create document files, and to seamlessly share and collaborate them with your coworkers and clients. Anyone can pitch in their ideas for your work in the shape of unobtrusive comments, so your original work stays intact. With Docs, gone are the days when you’d have to diligently save every minute so your precious work wasn’t lost to a computer crash.
Google Docs automatically saves documents in the cloud, which means you can access them on your laptop, smartphone and tablet, no matter the platform. Oh, and you can even download Docs files in the Microsoft docx format, or export them in PDF. Did we mention that it’s completely free as well?
Free Invoice Templates
Let’s face it: nobody likes to make invoices. However, it’s a necessary activity everyone needs to do in order to get paid. Well not everyone, but you get the idea. For entrepreneurs and startups looking to save money, FreshBooks’ free word invoices offer a hassle-free way of creating high quality customized invoices.
This template has been built with ease of use in mind, so there isn’t even a requirement of signing up to use it. Simply go to the template website and download the invoice template presented to you. Later on you can customize the style of the invoice to give it a personal touch.
Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? After you’ve done entering all the details, you’ll have an invoice that’s ready to be sent to any business. Using this template or one a PDF invoice template, you can save a great amount of time which would otherwise be wasted fumbling about with creating Excel invoices.
Graphic design is an integral part of any modern company, but Adobe’s suite of design apps can be prohibitively expensive for startups. That’s where Canva comes in – an easy to use free suite of design tools. Anyone can use Canva to create great looking social media ads, PPC ads, infographics, presentation slides, posters and a lot more. Canva even gives access to plenty of great stock images for your to use free of cost. To be clear, this isn’t a replacement for professional Adobe apps but rather a great free substitute. Creative types will certainly get a lot use out of Canva.
We aren’t including Pexels as an entry of its own because it really isn’t a tool. Rather, it goes along great with Canva with its huge library of high-quality royalty-free stock images. Simply type a keyword and you’re bound to get some great results. Image downloads are available in full resolution so you’re not being cheated out of quality either.
Discord is an app that allows its users to setup a messaging server with different channels. It might look like a communications app for gamers, but in reality it makes for an excellent workplace communication tool. Slack, a Discord competitor, offers similar functionality but there’s a limit on the amount of message history you’re allowed to have.
In order to have unlimited messages, Slack requires you to upgrade to a paid plan. With Discord, that’s not an issue as there’s no limit. And you can say goodbye to Skype as Discord offers everything from text and voice chat to video and even screen sharing. A highly recommended tool not just for startups and entrepreneurs, but savvy businesses as well.
There’s a plethora of email tools out there. From options like Getresponse, AWeber to Infusionsoft, most will accomplish similar tasks at relatively similar price points. Mailchimp will allow you to cover most of these tasks, for free. It includes staples like list building and automated follow ups, and even has features like web forms, popups and a serviceable landing page builder.
You can certainly do better when it comes to email tools, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a tool that lets you do it all for free. That’s what makes Mailchimp an excellent addition to any freelancer, startup or entrepreneur’s arsenal of tools. Most popular services feature native integration with Mailchimp so you’re not going to miss out for opting for a free tool. As your needs get more complicated, you can always export your contact list to move to a paid tool with better functionality.
Running a business in its nascent stages poses a lot of challenges. There’s a lot of uncertainty on how it’ll perform so owners try to keep expenses to a minimum. A lot of these expenses will no doubt come from tools like Office 365 and Photoshop, but the great thing is that there are free alternatives that can certainly get the job done.