- February 23, 2024
- by Kate Borucka
- 2 comments
Free startup software can help your business grow, determine a strong strategy, and gain more clients. It also helps to automate work and optimize tedious processes so you and your team can focus on what really matters.
If you’re a startup or a small business, here are the best software that can help you.
Table of Contents
Free Software for Startups – a Must-Have You Must Have!
Have you ever wondered how the software you use affects your startup, especially if you’re a newly emerged business? Gaining resources, establishing company culture, setting goals and objectives, and assessing risks are only a few of the major elements you need to consider when entering the business world. And without the use of suitable tools, juggling those components may be difficult.
The flexible, open-minded approach is characteristic of small businesses and it enables business owners to explore different possibilities, shift perspectives, and mix different business aspects. It’s particularly helpful when it comes to software – you can choose the software you like, experiment with it, and use it to build a strong brand.
What Software Do You Need as a Startup?
As a startup company, you may find it challenging to operate in the business world because you’re in the initial stages of operations. And every step you take should be well-thought-out and carefully planned to minimize risks.
The right software tools can help you come up with a relevant business plan and establish a successful ground for further development.
Remember that at the beginning, you’ll need free tools as your budget may be limited. There are many options to choose from dedicated tools for startups and here the four main categories:
1) Marketing Tools
Very often, for startups, marketing is the cornerstone of success—it helps to stand out, create a brand, and establish your business online. Marketing efforts also help to reach out to potential customers and stakeholders. In today’s world, if you’re not present online, it’s like you don’t exist.
Some of the most common digital marketing tools include SEO tools (search engine optimization), analytics tools, tools for managing multiple social media accounts, social media channels, social media campaigns, email marketing tools, and other software that helps to manage, track, and improve your online presence.
2) Communication Tools
Effective communication is one of the most important aspects of owning a business. It prevents conflicts and misunderstandings, improves collaboration, and helps to keep everyone aligned with the company’s mission, vision, and goals.
And it’s particularly important for remote and distributed teams, and people working asynchronously.
Some of the best tools for startups that improve communication include team messaging apps, collaboration platforms, feedback and survey tools, video conferencing, or team chat and workspace tools.
The main goal of communication tools for startups is to keep everyone on the same page by allowing quick and easy access to the company’s documents, important knowledge, and ensure smooth information flow.
3) Project Management Tools
As a business owner, you need to ensure all your business processes are on the right track. Project management software can help you in business planning with all the necessary and practical features.
Reliable tools for managing projects will allow you to administer all aspects of work (plan workflow, manage tasks, track progress, assign tasks, track expenses and billable time, manage business contracts, and more).
You can choose from simple to-do lists, task management apps, advanced project management software, and other fancy apps.
4) Financial Tools
Finances are the most important and responsible part of owning a business and you need to make it as transparent and legible as possible.
Business tools for startups can help you take care of your money. You can choose from accounting tools, apps streamlining online payments, payroll management (often comes with time tracking), budgeting and expense tracking apps, tax preparation, or inventory management and tracking.
5) Startup Productivity Tools
Make use of all the right tools for startups that are relevant to your or your team members’ job, experience and skills, and personal preferences. These can significantly improve performance, keep things organized, and help your team work better.
Some of the best startup tools for productivity include time tracking, automation and optimization apps that automate repetitive tasks, development tools, file sharing, to-do lists, graphic designs apps, and many, many more.
What to Look for in Startup Tools?
You can find so many tools for startups and small businesses, that it can be difficult to choose those most fitting. However, certain features can help you navigate the nuances of work.
Here’s what a good startup tool should have:
- Free plan or free trial so you don’t have to invest too much money in the tool, test all the features and decide if you want to purchase it.
- Ease of use: look for an easy-to-use platform with no steep learning curve so you can smoothly move around the tool.
- Relevant features: it’s tempting to use the most popular, most fancy tools, but they may not necessarily correspond to your business needs. Using software irrelevant to your niche and industry with unnecessary features will bring more harm than good.
- Integrations and cross-platform availability because you want to easily access your data from any place and integrate it with other startup tools for better workflow.
- Customer support teams will help you troubleshoot. Because you don’t need any more problems to solve than you already have.
What Are the Best Startup Tools?
The best tools for startups should give you full flexibility in how you want to use them. And you can choose from many different options as today’s apps are universal and offer practical functionalities.
Take a look at our list of free software for startups. These are the apps that many of the startup founders rely on most. Trust us, we know what we’re talking about. After all, we also started as a startup!
For tracking billable time & monitoring work hours
TimeCamp is a 100% free time tracker for unlimited users. It combines the features of a time tracker and a project management tool. TimeCamp can help you keep track of time and budget, manage payroll, timesheets and attendance, and enhance workflow.
The tool gathers all the information on your team’s work so you can improve processes and collect comprehensive data on your business performance and situation. It lets you analyze the company’s actions and better allocate time, resources or budget. Created by a startup team, TimeCamp knows the needs of a startup environment better than anyone.
- Automatic time tracking in the real time with a simple one-click timer.
- Accurate and adjustable timesheets with approvals.
- Tracking time by tasks and projects.
- Extensive but comprehensive reports show you how much time you and your team spend on all activities.
- Attendance management to keep track of vacations, leaves, and absences.
- A productive and non-productive distinction of activities helps you organize your work in more efficient way.
- Available as a mobile (iOS, Android) and desktop app (Windows, Mac, Linux).
- GPS feature to manage field workers.
- Graphical timesheets integrated with calendar.
- Budgeting reports show actual vs. estimated time.
- You can create invoices based on billable hours worked.
- Idle time detection.
- Integrates with other tools – project management software, productivity apps, CRM, task management apps, and many more.
Financial software for small businesses
Wave is a free invoicing and accounting software with credit card processing and payroll services. It’s a powerful solution that will help you manage the financial aspects of your business.
Wave’s suite of products comprises four main components:
- Accounting to track income and expenses.
- Invoicing with features such as automatic invoices, recurring payments, personalization and customization, automatic payment reminders, cash-flow insights, receipts, and many more
- Payroll to easily pay your employees
- Payments to get paid quickly.
Wave provides solutions that empower small business owners to simplify their finances while giving them more confidence to run their businesses. The app is available in a mobile version so you can quickly view all your invoices and receipts. Simple but extremely effective.
Task management tool with chat
Startups very often have to stay in touch with their investors, clients, other enterprises, entrepreneurs, and the entire team. And it’s important to have the right tool for communication. TimeCamp Planner is a combination of Slack and Trello but with more advanced features. You can chat with people and collaborate on tasks and projects in one place.
TimeCamp Planner gives you space to freely and smoothly collaborate with your teams and clients so you don’t have to switch between different tabs.
- Thanks to its design, you can see three boards in one place – your team and spaces (different channels), chat, and a list of cards with tasks.
- You can easily convert part of your conversation into a task.
- The board with tasks allows you to see all projects in one place.
- Every task can be adjusted – you can set a date, assign people to it, add tags and descriptions, attach files, and comment on it.
- The feature of workspaces allows you to create many spaces, if, for example, you work for various organizations or have different clients.
- Available as web, desktop, and mobile app.
- Rich visualization features—a digital planner with a calendar, timeline, estimates, board view, Kanban boards, and to-do lists.
- Add-ons available.
4. Social Media
For international marketing
There is a common saying that in today’s world, you don’t exist if you’re not on social media. While, of course, you do exist when you’re not on social media, it is worth informing the world about your startup’s presence. Such platforms are great for promoting your small business, product, or service. The word spreads fast on the Internet, and using it as part of the marketing strategy is a good idea.
Of all the free business startup software, social media are the most effective in terms of marketing. There are a few most popular platforms that are worth signing up for:
For automatic social media management
When you have established a social media account on popular platforms, you also need to consider their proper management. Since it may be difficult to control them by yourself or you may not afford a social media manager, Hootsuite will do the job.
With this tool, you can manage all content, schedule when you want it to be published, track the impact of your social media actions, and follow when people talk about you.
Hootsuite is another must-have. It can help you stay active on social media. Remember, the more active you are, the bigger the chance of gaining new customers.
- Automatic post scheduling.
- Content curation.
- Analytics with reports.
- Monitoring features.
For website analytics
Google Analytics is one of the best free SEO tools for small businesses. You will need it if you want to establish a highly-ranked website. It gathers all the necessary data and metrics to assess the quality of the site. Use it to analyze your website or a blog. It will help you improve your ranking, get rid of the defects, and gain more leads.
Google Analytics lets you understand your site and app users to better check the performance of your marketing, content, products, and more. You have access to unique insights and machine learning capabilities to make the most of your data.
Analytics works with Google’s advertising and publisher products, so you can use your insights to deliver business results.
For simple team and workflow management
Trello is one of the leading task management applications on the market. It lets you organize all tasks. It offers a digital whiteboard format in place of post-it notes – you can use it for various purposes, from everyday task management, redesigning a website, and posting regular updates for your business to working on complex projects with many participants.
Trello relies on the Kanban system of project management, allowing users to visually organize their tasks. You can use it to categorize your duties and divide them by tasks that you can edit with descriptions, labels, checklists, and attachments.
It comes with an intuitive and elegant interface and a free version that satisfies most individuals and even companies.
TimeCamp is a part of Trello Power-Ups, a directory for Trello’s add-ons! Now you can turn your TimeCamp and Trello integration into a real productivity powerhouse.
For work automation & optimization
If you’re looking for a free tool for startups for easy business automation, Zapier is the right one. This business process automation software allows you to build Zaps that enable you to automate the most important processes for your business or to use applications already available in the Zapier’s library.
You can create various workflows and automate repetitive actions, such as adding files from your e-mail to Dropbox. This tool is a real-time-saver for busy startups! It also connects with all the best marketing tools.
You can also integrate Zapier with TimeCamp and find out how long it takes for you to automate workflow!
9. File Sharing
File and document sharing is essential when running a business. It enhances communication and collaboration but also provides transparency. You can work in real time and quickly exchange information.
Here are the most popular platforms for file sharing:
- Google Drive – best if you use G Suite and other Google services.
- Dropbox – comprehensive solution best for teams who need to collaborate in real-time.
- Nira – protects documents from unauthorized access.
- OneDrive – fully compatible with Microsoft programs and apps.
- Box – simplified workflow with quick file sharing.
For project management & team communication
ClickUp is one of the best and most popular free tools for managing a team. It lets you organize, plan, and manage workflow in a super-efficient way.
The tool serves as an organized place for teams, projects and company-wide communication. It’s better than messy email chains because you can see the whole story from top to bottom and it’s easy to get back to what you need at any time.
You can have many projects running at the same time and have a quick insight into what other team members do. ClickUp is an advanced project administration app that combines all the tools for startups in one place. It’s suitable for small businesses and remote teams.
Aha is a free tool for business operations teams. It helps to map a strategy for developing your business. Additionally, the free plan is dedicated specifically to startups so it lets you allocate budget to those areas that really need it in the early stage of developing your strategy.
Take advantage of the tool to manage 5 main elements of business development:
- Capture the essentials: Articulate the foundational elements of your business strategy.
- Define business goals: Establish clear objectives with measurable results.
- Set budgets and track ROI: Add financial data to your plans.
- Track cross-functional dependencies: Clarify organizational priorities and set implementation timelines.
- Highlight the team’s momentum: Analyze how the company is advancing against the roadmap. The reports dashboard provides more than 50 example reports, so you can immediately see progress and potential problems.
Aha helps you put your initiatives into action in a quick and simple way.
Email marketing automation
Mailchimp has email marketing, ads, landing pages, and CRM (customer relationship management) tools – it’s an all-in-one marketing platform. It lets you understand your audience and precisely target your content or product. Mailchimp consists of 4 components, each having different tools:
- Audience – Marketing CRM, Audience Dashboard, Tags, Segmentation, Behavioral Targeting, Lookalike Audiences.
- Brand – Content Studio (stores all your files, images, etc.), Templates, Domains, Websites.
- Campaigns – Email, Social Media, Landing Pages, Digital Ads, Postcards, Automation.
- Insights – Reports and Analytics, Smart Recommendations, Integrations.
Mailchimp helps you automate your marketing campaigns and learn more about your audience so you can gather actionable data, create personalized content, and build a better relationship with every customer.
Online design tool
Canva is one of the best tools for designing visual content. With the drag-and-drop feature and layouts, you can create eye-catching wallpapers, cards, business cards, reports, presentations, resumes, posters, logos, social media graphics, graphs, design flyers, and many, many more.
Canva is especially helpful in content marketing as it lets you enhance your posts, articles, and everything else by adding visuals to it to give your audience an enjoyable visual experience.
The free version, however, has a limited number of free items. So to use the full media library, you either have to pay for a single item or upgrade to a paid plan. Nevertheless, Canva is a helpful online design tool, and the free plan should have everything you need for the start to generate engaging content.
Cloud computing platform
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud services platform that offers reliable, scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing services (compute power, database storage, content delivery, and other functionalities. It’s free to join, and you pay only for what you use. It’s a secure platform, so you can be sure all your data is safely stored.
If you have a lot of data, AWS is the right place to store it.
With AWS, organizations have access to a highly scalable, reliable, and secure IT infrastructure that can be easily tailored to meet their specific needs, while also helping to minimize costs by only paying for what is used.
For customer support
Freshdesk is an online cloud-based customer service software providing helpdesk support with smart automation features. It’s a powerful tool that makes it easier to handle issues and quickly resolve your customer’s problems.
With Freshdesk, you are able to provide outstanding customer service. It’s a necessary tool for your company if your service or product requires to interact with customers, especially helpful for sales and support teams.
In the free plan, you have access to the following features:
- Email ticketing: you can convert all email queries into tickets and track, prioritize and reply to them using Freshdesk.
- Ticket Dispatching: automatically assign new incoming tickets to agents and groups based on keywords, ticket requester or ticket properties customer’s location.
- Ticket Status Tracking: an analysis of the tickets created, resolved, and unresolved over a specific period of time
- Knowledge Base: you can enable customers to solve their problems by using Freshdesk knowledge base.
- Mobile App: Access Freshdesk’s functionality on the go through their mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.
- Basic Reporting: You can generate basic reports to gain insights into your support team’s performance and customer interactions.
👉 Check out our Freshdesk time tracking integration!
16. Logo Design
For creating personalized company logo
Logo Design is a full-spectrum graphic design SaaS program that allows you to create business logos without any experience or technical know-how.
You choose your logo template from thousands of pre-made samples. Through customization, you can change the design details and personalize it according to your brand identity concept. You can change colors, fonts, icon, the layout, and so much more. Each logo design is also available in vector formats.
The interface is also intuitive, and everything works with a drag-and-drop functionality. Since it is a complete brand design platform, you can also design your business card, website, social media header, and other marketing kit with it.
If you are looking for some exclusive design, our online logo maker tool offers custom design packages. Depending on the package you choose, you can work with multiple designers on your logo design project, get unlimited revisions, and quick delivery time. Additionally, if you need to touch up any images for your branding, our AI photo editor is at your service, ensuring your visuals are perfect for your business.
17. Social Champ
For social media management
Social Champ is a social media management tool to automate your content so you can save more of your time. It lets you create, edit, share and publish your content on all major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google Business Profile.
Social Champ offers multiple versatile features. You can effortlessly create and share posts with trending hashtags and emojis. Schedule content flexibly through the dashboard or preferred time slots using QUEUE categories. Manage social media with a comprehensive calendar for viewing, editing, and resharing content.
Bulk Upload lets you schedule multiple posts at once, planning up to 3 years ahead. Track social media performance with detailed analytics, including weekly and monthly graphs. Enjoy seamless integrations, consolidating Visual Integrations and Social Network Integrations in one place.
18. Tailor Brands
An all-in-one platform for launching a business
Tailor Brands is an all-in-one platform for launching a business. It has comprehensive features and a user-friendly interface. Here’s a breakdown of why Tailor Brands is a great choice for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners:
- Professional Branding: Tailor Brands provides tools for creating a professional brand identity, including logo design and business card creation.
- Easy Logo Design: Its AI-powered logo maker generates unique options based on your preferences.
- Website Builder: a user-friendly way to build a website (templates, customization options, and essential features to showcase products or services effectively).
- Marketing Materials: brochures, flyers, and social media posts.
- Brand Strategy and Guidance: provides valuable insights and tips on branding, marketing, and business growth.
The software equips entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to establish a professional brand presence and effectively communicate their offerings to the target audience.
All-in-one user research tool
UXtweak is a comprehensive tool for gathering user input about the performance of a website or an application.
It’s a good startup tool that will help you track any usability or user journey issues, improve information architecture, and analyze user behavior, preferences, and expectations for better conversions. UXtweak also offers prototype testing with Figma and Invision integrations, which will save you from costly design mistakes and align future products with user expectations.
Some of the main features include moderated or unmoderated usability testing, along with techniques like card sorting and A/B testing, enhancing user experience and design assessment; session recordings offer deep insights into user behavior; while leveraging a vast user panel ensures diverse participant recruitment.
For contract management
Every successful business needs to take care of formalities. Oneflow can help you manage all agreements with other business owners, business partners, contractors, or freelancers.
It lets you easily create agreements of any type and other basic service agreements from scratch or using existing templates. Some of the main features include HTML, editable contracts, electronic signatures, automated archives, plug-and-play integrations, contract metadata, notifications & tracking. You can also collaborate and comment on documents.
Oneflow automates work and helps to save time on paperwork. You can store all the documents in one place and easily access it any time. Your agreements and contracts are safe and sound.
Free apps for startups can help you develop your business and enhance the work of your employees. Use them to improve workflow, work management, resource allocation, and boost productivity.
Before you decide to invest in a paid plan, test software out to make sure it meets your needs and has all the features your startup or small business needs. It’s better to cancel a free plan rather than to put up with using inefficient software and lose money.