Founders have to manage their resources. As the CEO ever takes over the role of the marketer, raises the customer support, the first public relations efforts and casually off the redesign of the website. And not only in terms of employees have many startups in the first time bake small buns: Even paid software and productivity helpers can not all afford.
There are many open source offerings or you can benefit from the freemium model that is popular with SaaS providers, which offers many basic functions free of charge. Again and again, there are also special deals of commercial providers for especially young or small teams. We introduce you to 19 of these useful “helpers”.
19 free tools for startups
1. Collaboration Helper: Bitrix24
Bitrix24 can be used free of charge by small teams that need little storage capacity. (Screenshot: Bitrix)
Bitrix24 claims to provide a complete suite of collaboration, communication and management tools for organizations. It includes an internal social network, task and project management, chat and telephony functions, as well as calendar and document management. What sounds like a powerful – and therefore high-priced – offer comes up with a surprise when pricing: If you do not need more than five gigabytes of storage capacity, Bitrix24 uses free. However, the scope of functions is limited: time recording, customizable logos and domain names, as well as the involvement of external users, must be avoided.
2. Project management for startups with Asana
An alternative to Bitrix24 found startup founder in Asana. For a long time, the project management software was considered an insider tip of the startup scene. Meanwhile, the tool has built a solid user base and continues to expand: just a few weeks ago, including Mark Zuckerberg, Sam Altman and Tony Hsieh invested a total of 50 million US dollars in the company. Asana provides project and task management capabilities, the definition of goals and milestones, collaboration and scheduling. The tool is free for teams of up to 15 members – with unlimited feature set.
Other providers such as Trello or Wrike can be found in our article about free project management solutions.
3. Task Management with Todoist
The Wunderlist Alternative Todoist provides a smart solution for teams of up to five members to manage and collaborate on tasks. This allows assigning tasks and priorities to individual tasks, assigning due dates, and adding files and comments. Thanks to iPhone and Android apps, the tool is also great to use on the go. A total of 80 active projects, each with five people per project, are included in the free version of Todoist.
Alternatives such as Remember The Milk are also suitable for joint task management – but with the basic version, only teams with a maximum of three members will be happy here. If more users come into play, they will need to upgrade to the Pro version for $ 39.99 a year.
4. join.me: virtual meetings
Join.me, a software for virtual meetings, also offers a free entry-level version for small teams. Up to ten participants can participate in a meeting in the basic package. Although there is only the stripped-down functional scope for bargain hunters – they have to do without sound recording, user administration or advertising freedom. But you can talk to each other and share your own screen. That would be enough for many meetings.
5. Weebly: Free website builder
Those who want to launch their own website without great design or code knowledge should take a closer look at the principle of the homepage construction kit. One supplier who has a free entry-level version in the portfolio is Weebly, which provides basic structures for websites, blogs and shops with over 100 templates. Only for personalization, password-protected pages and community functions is a monthly fee due.
Also, Jimdo or Webnode offer free basic packages.
6. Zoho CRM:
With Zoho CRM, the customer contacts of a company can be recorded and continuously accompanied along the sales pipeline. Responsibilities within the sales team can also be defined and specific contacts or tasks assigned to individual employees. In addition, the software offers various tracking and analysis functions. For up to ten users, the basic version, which does without some advanced features and reporting, is free of charge. Teams with a maximum of three members can also see the German CentralStationCRM – more about that in our article on CRM systems for startups.
7. The whiteboard in the browser: Realtime Board
Realtime Board sees itself as a normal whiteboard – “reinvented for a better online experience”. In contrast to its real-life counterpart, the real-time board can be extended infinitely and embellished with presentations, PDFs and moving images. You can insert annotations or links with different tools. The board can be edited by different users and its results exported as JPG or PDF. Up to three boards, 100 MB of storage space and three different users are in the “Free Plan” in it.
8. Send marketing mails with Mailchimp
In order to build up a community of prospects and potential customers as early as possible, startups cannot avoid email marketing. As the market leader in newsletter tools, Mailchimp offers its users clear contact management, intuitive e-mail design and numerous tracking and reporting functions. With Mailchimp’s “Free Forever” plan, startups can send up to 12,000 emails to as many as 2,000 subscribers each month.
An alternative for marketing and transactional emails is SendGrid (https://sendgrid.com/), which also provides a free quota of 12,000 emails per month. Anyone who is willing to take at least small amounts in the hand, the German providers are also available: An overview can be found in our market overview “Newsletter Tools”.
9. Website optimization with Sumome
How about a widget that generates e-mail addresses for the newsletter or pretty sharing buttons? At Sumome there are these and other exciting gadgets that should bring more traffic to your website. Behind the offer are the creators of AppSumo, who have generated with their tools to more than one million newsletter subscribers. All Sumome apps are also available in a free version with limited functionality.
10. Send large files with WeTransfer
WeTransfer allows you to send large files. (Screenshot: WeTransfer)
If you frequently want to move more data back and forth, you should look at WeTransfer: With the service from Amsterdam, up to two gigabytes can be transferred without registration – without having to fall into the pocket. Only when larger files are to be sent, password protection or long-term storage of the files is desired, the paid account WeTransfer Plus ago.
11. How much is an app?
This calculator knows: howmuchtomakeanapp.com
Not only useful for startups: The cost calculator for the planned app.
12. Create legal documents with Foundersbox
The portal Foundersbox, behind which the law firm Flick Gocke Schaumburg stands, promises free assistance in legal and tax matters. Founders will find templates for company and employment contracts, as well as an example of a Series A term sheet. If you want to access the documents, you have to register.
13. Pitcherific helps with the convincing performance
Am I convincing enough? This tool helps to create and practice the startup Pichtes.
If the big stuttering has broken out in the light of the first investor meeting, Pitcherific will provide straightforward assistance. From the one-sentence to the elevator pitch to the startup weekend presentation: Founders can help themselves here in terms of structure and argumentation for various formats. As with the other featured tools, here as well: For more template variety, personalization, and helpful features like version control, a pro account is required.
14. Amazon Webservices: Startup Help with “AWS Activate”
Of course, self-interested Amazon is interested in getting emerging companies on its cloud infrastructure. Because if a success like the AWS customers Pinterest or Dropbox sets in, the former pupils convert to financially strong customers. However, founders can access free resources and a beginner quota as part of the Activate program.
Startups who are already in one of the promotion programs listed here benefit from the cooperation conditions negotiated. All others can apply for the self-starter package, which includes the lucrative terms for up to twelve months.
Microsoft also offers access to various resources as part of its BizSpark program. For three years, startups less than five years old and making less than $ 1 million in profits per year can use free quotas on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, Windows and Office versions, and more-including technical support.
15. Google For Entrepreneurs
“Two decades ago we started in a garage ourselves”: In order to pay homage to his entrepreneurial roots, Google also wants to help the next generation of tech startups. To this end, the group maintains Google for Entrepreneurs own, called “campus” startup hubs and supports local entrepreneur communities in many cities. But Google also provides many resources for founders online: From video courses to expert communities to new research results. In addition, you will learn in a few steps how to use the numerous, often free Google tools to optimize your own software and web presence.
16. Werdmerge helps to find the name
With Werdmerge you can find suitcase words for the startup name.
You may not have noticed it yet, but for its well-known name, the social pager “Pinterest” simply fused the words “pin” and “interest” together. This word combination, known in linguistics as the Portmanteau, sticks well in your head and can also be used for innumerable other words. Maybe for your startup? The service Werdmerge helps to find suitable combinations based on the self-defined keywords.
17. Create an online survey with Google Docs
If you want to get quick and easy feedback on a new feature or app, for example, you can use the Google Docs form. The answers can be stored in a new Google Docs spreadsheet or in a new column of an existing spreadsheet. The user can select different designs and add new elements with just a few clicks. Like the other Google Docs applications, creating surveys via forms is free.
18. More overview thanks to KPI dashboard
Dashing is a free framework for creating concise dashboards.
KPI dashboards recreate mission-critical metrics in real-time and show if the chosen strategy leads to the right target. A popular and open source is Dashing, which was provided by the Shopify makers on GitHub. It does not need its own Shopify store for its use. Dashing can either be populated with ready-made widgets or user-developed plug-ins. The usage is free and looks good too.
Also published on Medium.