Focusing on building your startup is hard enough. Check out these free tools to get more done
At some point, every corporate employee has stared at the clock and thought to themselves, “Why am I wasting away, making money for someone else, pushing someone else’s vision?” In an age when entrepreneurs are building companies and becoming the new rock stars of this generation, the pull to set off on your own and pursue your own ideas has become far more attractive than ever before.
But realistically only few have the courage to put those thoughts and ideas into actions, because no matter how sweet the bells and whistles of entrepreneurship may sound, in the meanwhile, it’s the job that is ultimately paying the rent and bills. So, if you are one of those “crazy-ones” that have decided to jump off the cliff but still latching on to a thin thread (aka. your day job) just to be a keep your financial footing, and managing a startup and a job side by side, then here are the five must-have free tools every startup should utilize in their initial phase to keep their projects and resources organized and on the same page. I admit that some of these are already well-travelled tools, but you might find some hidden gems tucked away here as well.
1: Your Startup Roadmap
Have you ever started any journey without knowing where actually you wanted to go? Roadmapping a startup’s journey is one of the most crucial tasks most of the teams take lightly.
For seeing a visual representation of your startup roadmap, you should use Aha to keep your directions, goals, vision and mission of your startup clear and on the same page with the members involved.
This tool can come in real handy because even once you have sorted out the elements of your business model, personas, competitors and vision, you still have to actually get the work done. Aha has some additional features like Strategy, Ideas, Releases and Integrations which you can check out once you sign up for it.
2: Managing Financials
Managing financials is the most crucial part when it comes to startups, and keeping everything transparent is the key. Recording your expenses on those excel sheets is a bit daunting and most of the time very hectic to maintain.
With Wave, you can actually link your business bank accounts and automate your transactions, billing, invoicing etc.
Moreover, you can also manually add your expenses or income easily. Its billing and reporting features are just too good. Wave ensures that your startup business sails smooth when it comes to managing finances.
3: Team Communication
Different team members prefer using different tools for communication like Skype, Whatsapp, and Facebook Messenger etc. There is no harm in using these mediums, but you will begin to lose information and conversations once you really need to find something relevant and then you would have to cycle through all the different platforms that your team members are using.
Slack is your ultimate communication software that eliminates the use of whole a lot of other applications. Just when you think you are stretched to your limits, communication wise, this is where Slack comes in. But with Slack, all your conversations and communications come together on a single platform. Slack is surely changing how you work and communicate with your teams.
This one has already become a mainstay for most companies, big and small, but is still worth mentioning in this list. It is excellent especially for working with teams that are spread out, situated either half way across the globe, or across the desk.
4: Project/Task Management
Now that your communication between the team is top-notch with Slack, here comes the hard part: managing your projects and tasks in accordance with the set deadlines. So, here is a task/project management software that’ll surely help you in staying organized.
TaskQue is a fairly new player in the market but it has some great features in its Task Management Software like “Queue” and “Workload”, which will definitely come in handy for startup teams to avoid the haphazard environment that is usually created because of the excess of work to be done. It is also worth taking a look at Wunderlist and Trello, both of which have their own approaches but have become real crowd favorites.
5: Making/Saving Notes
Tired of Sticky Notes everywhere? We all know how hard it is to catch on with the simple stuff. Or how about quickly writing and saving a million dollar idea that you just conceived? For that, here are some apps that you can use to save, write or record the stuff that’s important:
When was the last time you had a great idea and you wrote it somewhere but lost the trail of it? Well, this is where Evernote comes in. With Evernote, you can easily save notes and access them from anywhere in the world from any device.
If there was one word that I could use for Evernote, it would be “effortless”. This useful app has joined up with other productivity apps like Wunderlist, Pocket, and LastPass for a somewhat pricey but attractive bundle.
Related important tools:
• Google Keep
6: Securing Your Data
The fear of losing is one of the biggest fears we human beings have, and in this era where data is everything, you simply can’t show negligence in safeguarding your data, after all, your whole startup depends upon it. So, here are some of the online Cloud Storage Services that’ll provide you unbeatable secure online storage for your precious data:
• Dropbox (2 GB Free)
• Google Drive (15GB Free)
• SpiderOak (2 GB Free)
Make sure that whichever option you choose has made an effort to properly secure your data. Dropbox faced a rather embarrassing hack earlier this year that it is still recovering from. As much as security is a factor here, make sure that it is easy to collaborate with other teammates. Google Drive is a standout player when it comes to this.
Take advantage of freemium
Startups have little time to experiment with the solutions they need to build their business. Moreover, they have limited capital to actually invest in paid tools, so, without spending any fortune, startups in their initial phase can utilize these free tools and focus on making money before going for premium subscriptions with the above-mentioned tools.