It’s difficult to get your business off the ground when startup costs appear to be at an all time high. While this is true to a certain degree, there are ways entrepreneurs can work around some of these costs. One such way is by taking advantage of free business software whenever possible.
Here, we’re going to break down 20 free business tools to jumpstart your new business in 2019.
WordPress is free to use for startups that are interested in building a powerful, customizable website to showcase products and increase their digital audience. It goes without saying that you can’t successfully compete in 2019 if you’re not optimizing a digital strategy. WordPress offers free website templates, integrations with third-party applications, and is where you’ll create a content management strategy.
A successful content strategy often involves guest blog posts from other websites to build your own website’s ranking on Google. The higher your ranking, the easier it is for people to find your website.
With MozBar, users can target high-ranking websites for free simply by downloading the plugin and visiting a website they wish to work with. This powerful SEO tool is great for entrepreneurs because it shows which websites are within their reach and which ones will help them gain much needed publicity.
Once you determine which websites you’d like to target in your content marketing strategy, you should start to gather email addresses of the professional contacts you’d like to reach out to.
Hunter is a free business tool for marketing teams who wish to acquire and connect with those accessible contacts. With the free version of the tool, you can filter your searches based on organization, find patterns in emails to verify their legitimacy, and make up to 100 requests at a time.
Now that you have a list of email addresses, you need to start the process of actually reaching out to them. With MailChimp, you can do exactly that for up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month.
As a startup, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever need to send that many emails, so you know you’re covered. You can create custom email campaigns, landing pages, pop-up forms, and Facebook and Instagram ads. Segmentation, marketing automations and A/B testing are also included.
Social media marketing is imperative to any startup’s marketing strategy, and it’s important to take advantage of social media in order to stay competitive. Hootsuite offers a free solution for startups interested in managing social media pages and posts while optimizing their overall strategy.
Hootsuite also provides agents with powerful reports and metrics to see which posts succeed and why. Their free plan works for only one user and allows that user to manage three social media profiles.
Yes, free CRM software is available. Insightly is free for up to two users and offers several marketing features for businesses interested in powerful marketing and workflow automations, lead and sales management.
As a startup, it doesn’t make sense to pay for too many users, so don’t be alarmed by the low number. Most providers offer plans that request monthly payments per user; however, the very nature of a startup allows Insightly to still be useful for small teams.
The easier it is for your marketing team to deem leads qualified, the easier it is for the sales team to get a lead through the pipeline. Better pipeline management often leads to quicker and more frequent sales.
Freshsales is a solution dedicated to small businesses and startups with a powerful free version. Users can take advantage of a mobile app, sales automations, built-in phone functionalities, and AI-powered lead scoring.
HubSpot is advertised as one of the few free CRM software solutions for businesses, covering sales, marketing, and service, which is great for startups that need a little bit of everything at little to no cost.
One great HubSpot feature is the free live chat software, which can help sales agents move leads through the pipeline, assist marketers in acquiring leads, and aid customer service representatives in resolving tickets faster.
There’s very little that Bitrix24 can’t do. The tool offers communication, task and project management, CRM, contact center, and website solutions for startups. Everything is organized on an easy-to-use dashboard that helps prevent information overload for business owners who are just starting out. Bitrix24 is a cloud solution and offers businesses 5 GB of storage with the free version.
There are tons of minor, time consuming tasks that entrepreneurs have to deal with that take away from more important tasks. Startup owners should take advantage of the thousands of free automations provided by Zapier.
This tool also helps agents create automations within their mobile apps to expand the advanced functionality across multiple platforms — an omnichannel strategy is essential in 2019 for businesses of all sizes.
When your startup lands a sale, it’s time to focus on how your new customer is going to finalize the purchase. Square makes this process easier by allowing businesses to sign up and receive a free magstripe reader. You see this all the time at farmers markets or pop-up shops where having a register outdoors isn’t feasible.
Simplifying the sales process by optimizing your POS system can be all the difference between success and failure for startups. There are no monthly or hidden fees, you get chargeback protection, and you get the same rate for all kinds of credit cards.
Some purchases are bound to a contract, depending on the field you’re in. However, drafting a contract, reviewing it, mailing it, receiving a signature, having the other party mail it back, receiving it, and then filing it away all takes time.
HelloSign streamlines this process with legally-binding e-signatures instead. The tool’s free version offers one sender (“someone who uploads, signs and sends documents using HelloSign and/or requests signatures from others using HelloSign.”) and three documents per month. It integrates with Google Drive for consistency’s sake.
Your startup’s purchases and revenue generated need to be accounted for, which is where Wave comes into play. Wave is a free accounting software that offers powerful expense tracking, invoice management and receipt scanning features. Instead of hiring an accountant, your startup can take matters into its own hands and use Wave to manage the finer details should already be familiar with as an entrepreneur.
14. Dialpad Free
The hardware your business uses can also make a difference. Paying for phones can be costly if you are constantly in meetings, securing funding and establishing yourself in the early stages.
Dialpad Free is a solution that offers one business number and five extensions, a virtual receptionist, a modern business voicemail, and video and conference calling. VoIP phone systems can help cut costs significantly by working over the internet instead of traditional phone lines — especially when they’re free.
Another way of communicating with customers and clients is through video, which helps target younger generations who grew up with (and prefer!) video platforms. Sure, you could use Skype, another free solution, but that’s not built to support businesses.
With Zoom, you can host up to 100 participants, you get unlimited one-on-one meetings and you can get an unlimited number of regular non-video meetings, as well. The easier it is to hold these meetings, the easier it will be to focus solely on the meeting and not on the technology.
Internal communication and task management is also important. With Trello, users can see what each team member is up to and assign or create tasks for each other.
Team collaboration is a big deal and as a startup, it’s imperative that everyone sticks to the same game plan to avoid any miscommunication. Even the smallest mistakes can lead to significant, and immediate, consequences.
If you don’t like the boards Trello offers, Asana offers a more traditional layout with the same collaboration features. Startups can create channels for different departments, assign tasks to one another and add team members.
There’s a calendar, which is helpful for content teams and strategies; there’s also an inbox that allows users to get email notifications when anything significant happens. Finally, there’s a mobile app that helps remote workers stay connected.
Slack is an internal communication software for businesses that want to stay connected with each other throughout the work day. Sometimes it isn’t enough to see what others are doing on Asana, and a simple Slack message can be enough to understand how to proceed with a specific task.
Slack also uses chatbots for reminders, which can integrate with Asana. Slack is an essential for staying connected with remote workers who won’t always be available to take a phone call or respond to emails.
In order to personalize the customer experience, which should be your number one priority in 2019, you have to be able to communicate with the customer across multiple channels. One way to do this while speeding up the buyer’s journey is by using live chat software.
Freshchat offers a free version of its software, which can alert users of messages, provides a mobile app for messaging on the go, social media integrations, and a priority inbox for better message organization.
Finally, when all is said and done, you want to leave your customers with a survey to gain key insights into the buyer’s journey. What was it like to do business with your startup?
SurveyMonkey is a free survey software solution for businesses that want learn more about their customers and how to optimize their business going forward. Users can include 10 questions in their survey, view 100 responses per survey, track email responses, optimize surveys for mobile, and gather responses from social media — all for free.
The final word
Starting a business is a daunting task for anyone. Most aspiring entrepreneurs just starting out have to worry about spending whatever funds they have wisely in order to make the most of them. However, there are solutions that don’t have to break the bank.
Using any of the 20 free business tools we listed above is a great way for entrepreneurs to compete with more established businesses right from the very beginning. Even better, this software is scalable: each of the tools listed above has affordable pricing plans that offer additional features, so when it’s time to scale, you can do so.