Whether you have wealthy investors backing you or merely your own savings to draw on, your startup can’t afford to waste money. To grow your business without sacrificing your budget, you need free workflow automation tools that empower you to compete in your industry.
The problem is that many companies adopt tools and never use them — or have a hard time making a decision among the dozens available. One easy way to nip those issues in the bud is to ask other startups what they’re using and benefiting from.
When you need to rely on your own research, consider these 10 free tools:
1. HubSpot CRM
Every business in 2019 needs a CRM. If you can’t track customer interactions, you can’t provide the personalized communications modern consumers expect. Unlike other free tools, HubSpot’s free CRM doesn’t lock necessary features behind a paywall. You can create email templates, automatically update contact records, schedule meetings, and set up notifications without paying a dime. HubSpot’s product supports up to 1,000 contacts in the free version, so get out there and generate some buzz.
Email is old news. Slack’s June IPO exceeded expectations because investors recognized the value of a simple, effective communication tool. Slack lets users organize conversations, share files and documents, and consult older threads to keep relevant information accessible. Easy integration means you can add Slack to your existing technology stack with little hassle. When your teams get talking, good things happen.
Your startup has multiple social media accounts, but you don’t have to manage them all individually. With Hootsuite, you can post to multiple accounts, collect relevant analytics, and keep your brand’s voice consistent as you promote your content across platforms. The free version includes up to three social media platforms, which should be plenty for startups — no need to stretch yourself too thin. Get ahead of your social media strategy with Hootsuite’s scheduling tools, which allow you to schedule up to 30 posts in a queue.
As you build your business and grow your revenue, don’t forget about that pesky bookkeeping work. Wave provides a no-frills solution for startups to handle all their basic accounting needs. Manage your accounts, invoices, and receipts without shelling out big bucks for unnecessary features. Wave also provides payment processing services for industry-standard fees. If you upgrade to the paid version, you can manage your payroll as well.
5. G Suite
For startups, nothing beats Google’s alternatives to Microsoft Office. Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Calendar provide incredible and scalable functionality for companies with tight budgets. Many companies continue to use G Suite even as they grow because Google’s cloud-based apps make remote collaboration a breeze. Instead of paying substantial fees for niche features you don’t need, stick to Google’s simple but powerful arsenal.
Popular among freelancers and founders alike, Trello makes project management simple. You can add as much or as little detail to your projects as necessary using Trello cards, which contain all the information you need to keep track of your work at a glance. Trello integrates seamlessly with other popular tools, like Google Drive and Slack, so you can stay on top of everything with minimal interruption.
Medium is more of a platform for speech than a tool, but it’s the perfect place for entrepreneurs to get started on their content marketing journey. Sign up for free, then leverage Medium’s existing audience to get people excited about your brand and your product. You can blog about your growth to appeal to investors, discuss new features to excite early adopters, or offer industry news to position yourself as a thought leader.
Google Analytics may be free, but that doesn’t make it simple. Smylelytics removes the stress of website monitoring and tracking so you can evaluate your website’s performance without trying to anticipate Google’s every next move. With Smylelytics at the helm, you can rest easy as the free software sends regular reports on website data and transforms complex concepts into easy-to-understand graphs and images.
You know you need to generate content to build your audience, but you don’t know exactly what to make or how to get your wise words in front of interested readers. Fortunately, you don’t have to guess. Answer the Public allows you to see the types of questions people ask about relevant topics so you can optimize your posts to address real concerns. If you feel slowed by writer’s block, use Answer the Public to develop a list of potential blog topics that will help you get noticed.
Grammarly won’t turn you into a professional copywriter, but it will do the next best thing — ensure you don’t make any obvious mistakes. A bad typo could ruin an otherwise brilliant email pitch, so don’t leave your writing to chance. Use Grammarly’s free tool to keep your prose clean. If you feel like taking your content to the next level, you can try Grammarly Premium, which offers deeper writing advice and a built-in plagiarism detector.
Ready to make more and spend less? Don’t throw away cash on premium options. Take advantage of these free tools to get your startup moving.