Short of cash? 15 free tools for startups

Money is scarce in many start-ups. Fortunately, there are free tools that can help founders do the work for free.

Founders have to economize with their resources. The CEO can take on the role of a marketing expert, take care of customer support, the first PR efforts and take care of the website redesign. And it’s not only on the payroll of their employees that young companies have to save. Not everyone can afford to pay for software and productivity aids.

Free tools for founders in the quick check

1st collaboration helper: Bitrix24
According to Bitrix24, the company offers a complete suite of collaboration, communication and management tools for companies. Included are, among others, 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 – offering comes as a surprise when it comes to pricing: If you don’t need more than five gigabytes of storage capacity, you can use Bitrix24 free of charge with up to twelve team members. However, the range of functions is limited: Time recording, customizable logos and domain names, as well as the integration of external users, must be avoided.

2. Project management with asana
Startup founders find an alternative to Bitrix24 in Asana. For a long time, project management software was considered an insider tip in the startup scene. In the meantime, the tool has built up a solid user base and is still expanding. Asana offers functions for project and task management, the definition of goals and milestones, collaboration and time planning. The tool is free of charge for teams of up to 15 members – with the only slightly limited feature set. You can find more providers such as Trello or Wrike 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. You can assign priorities and agents to individual tasks, assign due dates, and add files and comments. Thanks to iPhone and Android apps, the tool can also be used on the road. A total of 80 active projects with five people per project are included in the free version.

4. Chat with Discord as a team
As a completely free Slack and Skype alternative, Discord has made a name for itself in recent years. The group messenger is actually aimed at gamers. But each user can easily create their own server to create their own chat environment with friends or colleagues, in which channels on individual topics can be created. Discord also offers a solid audio codec and can be connected to services such as Facebook and Twitter.

5. Manage customer contacts with Zoho CRM
With Zoho CRM, a company’s customer contacts can be recorded and continuously monitored along the sales pipeline. Responsibilities within the sales team can also be defined and specific contacts or tasks can be assigned to individual employees. The software also 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.

6. Sending marketing emails with Mailchimp
In order to build a community of interested parties and potential customers as early as possible, startups cannot avoid e-mail marketing. As a market leader in the field of 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 each month to up to 2,000 subscribers for free.

7. Research e-mail addresses with Hunter
Anyone who takes care of PR work on their own must first obtain the e-mail addresses of journalists. This is where Hunter.io comes in: After entering the desired medium, the tool scans the net for suitable e-mail addresses, which are usually actually correct. 50 queries per month are free of charge. But you have to register for this. Those who wish to have additional.CSV exports must pay.

8. Free video conferences with zoom
Zoom, a software for virtual meetings, offers a free entry-level version for small teams. However, if three or more participants are in a group meeting, there is a time limit of 40 minutes – which can be an advantage for some meeting cultures in companies. In the basic version, users must also do without their own domains, company branding and reporting. But you can always talk to each other and share your screen. For many meetings, this should be enough.

9. Website optimisation with Sumome
How about a widget that generates email addresses for the newsletter or nice sharing buttons? At sumome you can find these and other exciting gadgets that should bring more traffic to your website. Behind the offer are the makers of Appsumo, who claim to have generated more than one million newsletter subscribers with their tools. All sumome apps are also available in a free version with limited functionality.

10. Free video conferences with zoom
Zoom, a software for virtual meetings, offers a free entry-level version for small teams. However, if three or more participants are in a group meeting, there is a time limit of 40 minutes – which can be an advantage for some meeting cultures in companies. In the basic version, users must also do without their own domains, company branding and reporting. But you can always talk to each other and share your screen. For many meetings, this should be enough.

11. Send large files with wet transfer
If you frequently want to move large amounts of data back and forth, you should take a look at Wetransfer: With the service from Amsterdam, up to two gigabytes can be transferred without registration – and without having to reach into your pocket. Only if even larger files are to be sent, password protection or long-term storage of the files is desired, does the paid account Wetransfer Plus have to be used.

12. Free accounting with Invoice Ninja
Invoice Ninja is an open-source accounting tool that can be a good start-up aid for companies in the start-up phase. On the dashboard, users can find a practical overview of their total income, the number of invoices created and sent, and the last activities. Even in the free version, Invoice Ninja offers a wealth of features, including four professional templates, 40 payment interfaces and project management functions. Perfect for startups with less than 100 paying customers.

13. Create notes and knowledge database with Notion
Evernote was yesterday: Notion a currently very popular data tool, which is great for managing text-based notes, tasks, wikis and customer contacts. Advantage: Due to the multitude of functions, founders no longer have to run applications such as Evernote, Google Docs and Trello in parallel. Visually, Notion is kept simple, but the software is generously customizable – for example with emojis. Teams with a maximum of five members can use Notion for free but have to accept restrictions on file sizes.

15. Create customer surveys with Typeform
If you want to get quick and uncomplicated feedback, for example on a new feature or an app, you can use Typeform to help you. Up to ten questions can be formulated free of charge and answers from up to 100 respondents can be evaluated. The user can select different designs and add new elements with just a few clicks.




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