The journey of an early-stage startup, MSME or SME can be very difficult and requires doggedness to manage the adventure. It takes a combination of dedication, hard work, and free software for startups to turn an early-stage startup into a thriving enterprise.
One key to success is effective management, which is where the right tools and software can make all the difference. In this article, we will highlight four areas where the right software can help small business owners streamline operations, increase efficiency, and free up time and energy to focus on other key areas of the business. Whether you are just starting out or looking to take your company to the next level, here are some of the best free software for startups in 2023.
Customer Relationship Management(CRM) Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools help businesses and startups retain customers, which is a key factor in determining and defining growth (what’s a startup with no customer?). It is one of the most relevant tools to a business’s growth because it helps to accomplish much with customers and clients while managing their relationships.
Every startup needs a CRM to provide that required seamless customer experience. Without a CRM software you are losing 85% of converting customers into long-term customers.
What features should you look out for in a CRM software
- Dashboard and report
- Marketing automation
- Email integration
- Sales pipeline management
- Lead management
Here are some of the free CRM software for startups;
- Zoho is a good choice for CRM software as it allows for seamless integration with other applications. It has a fully customizable user interface based on preferences; you can add features such as reporting tools, emails, etc. The software offers a startup-friendly free plan which supports up to three users. Zoho is a budget-friendly, and among the best free tools for startups online
- Hubspot comes with a free forever plan and tiered pricing plans which are highly scalable. It has flexible pricing plans that allow you to purchase these tools individually or stack them together for an all-in-one CRM solution. Hubspot has many helpful tools for startup teams and it is the overall best option.
Project Management Software
As a startup in its early stage, you might have multiple projects to handle with small manpower to oversee the project. online project management tools allow you to stay in charge, collaborate with the team, assign a task, and manage project timelines.
The tool to choose will depend on the needs of the team and how easily it can be customized. Here are some of the free software for startups;
- Trello is an online project management tool that gives a visualization of projects being managed. It doesn’t offer much flexibility in assigning tasks. It has a free plan and the paid plan starts from $5 which is cost-effective for startups.
- ClickUp is another good software that allows you to manage teams and tasks, set priorities, and communicate all in one space.
- Asana is a good online project tool with more customization features. It is suitable for small teams and has a feature that permits subtasks to individuals, and tracking of the task. Asana offers a free plan and its paid plan starts from $10/month.
Finance Management Software
You might wonder if using financial software has any benefit. But if you plan to scale or move to the growth stage your accounting has got to be straight. It’s important to digitize your accounting processes as it helps effectively manage accounting records, reduce errors,
Financial management software gives startup owners and managers faster access to better insights about payables, receivables, fixed assets, and other key financial data points. Some finance management tools to try;
- QuickBooks is a comprehensive financial management tool with powerful features tailored toward small and medium businesses and startups. It helps you with bank reconciliation, invoices, tracking expenses, payroll, and advanced reporting. They offer both cloud and on-premise solutions, and it has a flexible payment plan starting from $10/month.
- Xero and Zoho Finance is a professional finance tool that lets businesses manage invoices, track expenses, and report. They also have user-friendly dashboards which don’t have much accounting expertise.
Cybersecurity is critical for business, with the increase in online theft, pushing, and hacking employers will want to take security measures that protect employees who use email, your business’s applications, websites, or endpoints. There are various types of cybersecurity solutions for SMBs and startups. Using the right security hardware or software will empower your business to maximize its potential without sacrificing safety.
- Antivirus software for ransomware attacks
- Endpoint Protection protection of hardware connected to the network
- Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) keep your web-based applications protected from hackers that want to steal your information
- Cloud-based security
The two most important factors for entrepreneurs and early-stage startups that are cash-strapped are affordability and scalability when it comes to using free software for startups. It’s also okay to migrate from one software to another when the time to scale comes but ensure you choose a software that meets your present needs and aligns with your future business goals so that transitioning is seamless.