I personally feel that, being a startup founder is the best job in the world. But it’s one of the toughest jobs too. In your initial days, it is really important that you take every step carefully and precisely. You have to take care of your finances, multiple projects, marketing activities, product launches and market surveys etc. So, here’s a list of free online tools, that you can use to reduce or nullify your day to day administrative expenses and increase the productivity of work at your firm.
As a start-up founder, one must always have a mentor, a veteran, to help you do the right thing. It is the suggested best practice for a startup founder. SCORE provides you this, wherein a mentor is assigned who helps you to create your business model, decide the marketing strategy, test the product idea etc. And all of this is just for free. Nothing can beat the advice of a real mentor but this is a good reference.
Once you have validated your idea through customer meetings, you have to create a business model for your idea. A business model, as you know, captures various aspects of your startup viz. customer segments, value propositions, delivery channels, key resources, cost and revenue streams etc. Fiddle is an online tool which allows you to create and share your business model easily. It allows you to add attachments and notes, which makes it easier for your peers to understand and contribute to your business model.
It’s always a tough task to create product launch videos or company overview videos for free. Many times a start-up founder uses simple presentations to demonstrate the product. And it’s really unimpressive and dim. PowToons solves this problem by providing a very simple way to create promotional or introductory videos online. It provides you with templates which are easy to edit without a need to learn even a single bit about it. And the video gets ready within few minutes.
Many times you will need to conduct online surveys, just to test or improve your new product idea or to get feedback about your products and services. SurveyMonkey is an online tool which is perfectly made for it. It allows you to create your questionnaire with single selection and multi-selection answer choices. It also allows you to select the design for the survey. This tool provides various statistics about the survey. Its free up to first 100 responses, after that you can continue using the service by opting a suitable pricing plan.
As a founder, you will have to manage different company accounts eg. sales, marketing etc. Moreover, you will be required to send invoices and bills to your customers. Wave apps provide an online accounting and invoicing solution. It provides features like invoice creation, bills creation, accounting etc.
As a startup, it is good to have a mailing platform to maintain your customer mailing list and conduct email marketing campaigns. email marketing is one of the most prevalent marketing technique, it helps you to spread the word about the startup and latest developments. It has an ‘Entrepreneur’ package which allows you to send 12 000 mails to 2000 subscribers for free.
If your startup is operating in a service business, then you might have to manage multiple client projects with multiple teams working on them. In such case, Basecamp is a very useful web based tool which can be used to help you operate different project simultaneously.
As a startup founder, you will always have to manage many things and projects simultaneously. You have to handle multiple teams throughout the day. Trello is an online tool that can help you to manage your work, synchronize team work, organize your day to day tasks etc.
Though Microsoft PowerPoint is a very nice tool for making company presentations, the world of presentations is undergoing a huge change. Do you want to take the first step? Want to improve? Prezi is a free online tool that allows you to create really nice presentations with zooming effects and a lot of other 3D designs and templates.
When working with different teams simultaneously, team members need to manage many documents, codes, databases simultaneously. Often you will be required to access one of the shared files. To avoid future confusions about the latest version of such artifacts, it is better to store them on cloud. This enables everyone to make changes to the correct file and update the file centrally. One of the best free solution to achieve this is Dropbox. It’s an online cloud storage tool that allows you to manage your data on cloud. Dropbox is available for mobiles too so that makes it more usable.
As always, you can never have a fixed numbered list of tools to solve your all pains. Here are few more, hope you will find them useful.
Zoho CRM -Online CRM software for managing your sales, marketing, customer support, and inventory in a single system.
GoToMeeting – Conduct meetings online
Docracy – An open collection of legal contracts and documents for your reference.
Feel free to make your additions to this list…