For any startup company, the budget is a major concern when determining which tools to use. Luckily, there is a wealth of free tools available that can help startups grow their profits and increase their efficiency.
Here are the seven best free tools for a startup company:
- FreeConferenceCall.com: Connect with investors, clients and colleagues via audio or video conferencing, no matter what country or time zone you’re in. We may be biased, but this is a must-have for any startup.
- Slack: Quickly and easily message colleagues in Slack’s online workplace.
- Box: Secure, share and edit your files in the cloud.
- Asana: Manage projects, track deadlines and coordinate with team members.
- Atom: Write code in a fully customizable environment that makes it easy to collaborate, integrate languages and utilize other open source software.
- Thunderbird: Safely and securely send emails and manage email accounts.
- TurboCASH: Keep track of finances, create invoices, access data, monitor taxes and manage payroll.
Let’s explore more of the free tools that startup companies can utilize.
What Startups Need to Succeed
There are several major factors that contribute to startups’ success. After all, they don’t have the built-in infrastructure of already-established companies. All startups should have the following elements in order to succeed:
- Efficiency: Right from the start, startups should strive to make their processes and operations as efficient as possible. To do this, they can utilize tools such as project management software, like Asana, and file sharing services, like Box. Specialized tools like Atom can also help startups work more quickly and smoothly.
- Communication: Communication is just as vital to startup companies as it is to interpersonal relationships. From meeting services such as FreeConferenceCall.com to messaging apps such as Slack and email software such as Thunderbird, there are a variety of tools that startups can use to facilitate swift and effortless communication.
- Budgeting: A key attribute of any successful startup is smart budgeting. To ensure that they can keep track of exactly how much money is coming in and going out, startups can benefit from tools such as automated payroll services and budget planning software, such as TurboCASH.
When Should Startups Use Free Tools?
Trying to figure out what tools you should pay for and what tools you should use free versions of can be difficult. While the phrase “you get what you pay for” may be true in some instances, in others, free alternatives can be just as effective.
The following tools often offer the same features as their paid counterparts:
FreeConferenceCall.com vs. Join.me vs. GoToMeeting
|Audio and video conferencing||✓||✓||✓|
|Moderated chat box||✓|
|Recording with playback||✓||✓||✓|
|Custom branding and URL||✓||✓||✓|
|International dial-in numbers||✓||✓||✓|
|In-country dial-in numbers||✓||✓||✓|
|Service to 64 countries||✓|
|Complete suite of free webinar services||✓|
Box vs. Dropbox
|10 GB of free storage||✓|
|Android, iOS and Windows mobile apps||✓||✓|
|TLS, SSL and AES encryption||✓||✓|
|Collaboration and sharing features||✓||✓|
Asana vs. Podio
|Free for up to 15 people||✓|
|More than 35 integrations||✓|
|Available on seven different device types||✓|
|Supports multiple languages||✓||✓|
|Project planning, prioritizing and tracking||✓|
|Data import, export and synchronization||✓|
|Support available both online and over the phone||✓|
Plus, most free tools have the added benefit of scalability — if you start out with the free online meeting version but find yourself needing more, you can usually upgrade to a paid version when you need to. For example, FreeConferenceCall.com For Business offers enterprise-level collaboration tools for a monthly fee, while Asana offers Asana Premium to users who want to use more features and Asana Enterprise for larger and more complex organizations.
What Are Open Source Tools and Why Should You Use Them?
Before we talk about open source tools, let’s get a quick refresher on what open source software is in the first place. Essentially, “open source” refers to software that has an accessible, or “open,” source code.
This is important because source codes allow developers to tweak the software to their liking, as well as to learn about the code that makes the software work in the first place.
Knowing that, open source tools are exactly that: Useful tools with open source codes that can be freely modified. Not only are the best open source tools free, but they’re also highly customizable, secure and stable over the long-term.
These are some of the most valuable open source tools for startup companies:
- Atom: Created by GitHub, the popular software development platform, Atom is an open source text editor that’s “hackable to the core.” Plus, features like Atom-IDE offers intuitive auto-completion and easier language integration. And, it’s pre-packaged with GitHub.
- Thunderbird: Thunderbird is an open source email application offered by Mozilla. From phishing protection and smart folders to large attachment support and multi-channel chat, Thunderbird comes with a variety of indispensable features.
- TurboCASH: A free and open source alternative to software like QuickBooks, TurboCASH offers a full suite of essential features, such as payroll, taxes and invoicing, as well as cutting-edge technology such as blockchain transactions.
Startup Resources for Entrepreneurs
Startup companies can make the most of their tools by utilizing the resources that many of those tools offer. These are a few of the best:
- FreeConferenceCall.com: FreeConferenceCall goes beyond basic customer support options by offering live training sessions at specific dates and times. Topics include audio conferencing, web control, screen sharing and video conferencing. We also offer video tutorials, FAQs and both participant instructions and host instructions.
- Atom: Like many open source software programs, Atom offers a forum where users and developers can discuss issues and share tips. They also publish a regularly updated blog, provide users with a comprehensive manual and offer a library of API documents.
- Asana: From lessons and checklists to customizable email templates and keyboard shortcut guides, Asana offers an exceptionally wide variety of resources to current and prospective users.
- Box: In addition to more standard offerings, Box also offers frequent webinars, which range from the in-depth and instructional to the unscripted and casual. They also offer ebooks, infographics, demos and more.
For startup companies that are looking to grow and succeed over the long-term, expensive tools are far from being the only option. By taking advantage of the wealth of free tools available, startups can save money, increase efficiency and establish streamlined processes.
Undoubtedly, the ability to easily meet with investors, clients, and colleagues is especially important to startup companies. To learn more about how startups can host meetings across countries and time zones, check out FreeConferenceCall.com’s free, reliable and high-quality conference call services.