Starting up is tough. Everything you do has to be done after a careful cost benefit analysis. Can you afford not to use advanced productivity, storage, security, email marketing, sales automation, and even ERP tools, when your competitors are using them? Of course, you need them, and you need them without paying anything substantial. This is where cloud based free and open source tools come to the fore and enable startups for great things.
Best Cloud Powered Tools for Your Start Up
In this guide, we will cover some amazing cloud powered tools that come to you free of cost (or as good as free), without any compromise on the features.
Mailchimp is the best email marketing weapon you can have for free. It even calls the free package ‘entrepreneur’; that’s great, considering how most service providers reserve the naming for their most expensive packages.
More importantly, it allows you to send 12000 emails a month, and lets you add 2000 members in the mailing list. If you need advanced tools such as auto responder, A/B testing, time zone delivery, etc., you will need to upgrade. Thankfully, the offers are value for money, and the features are stellar enough.
They couldn’t have named it better. Startups have scattered teams, working in different time zones, and getting all of them on board for quick and productive meetings is a trouble. Join.me comes to the rescue; you can organize and conduct meetings with complete audio functionality and screen-sharing.
Advanced features include options to change presenters, add notes, and record meetings, apart from several other helpful tools. The basic pack comes for free, and you can use the Join.me app to organize meetings on the move.
Every startup needs space for data storage. Offline storage comes with hassles of safekeeping, and difficulty of access. Cloud based online storage solutions save the day, and Dropbox is right up there. Dropbox is not merely a storage service; it syncs your folders and updates latest versions of files, taking pains out of multiple people working on single file. The free version of Dropbox offers 2 GB storage, which is pretty sufficient for documents.
You can easily share documents with colleagues across the startup, can encrypt documents with sensitive information, and can collaborate on documents. This makes Dropbox perfect for the initial rounds of documentation that startups need to manage, apart from inter-business teams such as customer support team training guides, email marketing campaign documents, marketing and advertising texts, etc.
CRM software can be complicated, particularly if you don’t yet have a CRM team in your startup yet. This is where Stride helps, offering intuitive, easy to use, and free services! Stride CRM helps you organize your customer and prospects’ information, apart from managing communications and marketing campaigns. It even comes with meetings management features, which extends it suitability for startups.
As you feel the need to talk to several stakeholders spread in different geographies, you’ll see how quickly telephone bills surge. Skype is the solution. In several startup businesses, right from the founder to the customer support executives, everyone uses Skype as instant messaging application, apart from video conferencing and free calling.
Your marketing adventures for your startup will help you understand how messed up it is to use a graphics editing software. Canva is worth its weight in gold (well, it’s cloud based). To get a greet design out of Canva, all you need is a great design idea. The options and settings within Canva are so intuitively placed that there’s absolutely no learning curve, even if you have never worked with a design tool earlier.
What’s more, it offers you million+ free stock images; if that doesn’t get you started, what will! Did we mention it’s free? Whether you want to create artworks for blogs, info-graphics, Facebook pages, Pinterest, or for physical pointing for flyers and posters, Canva is all you need.
When you need to create a document, you don’t want anything messing with you and your thoughts. Google Drive is a godsend for startups, not only because of the free storage and document sharing options it provides, but also because of the ease with which you can use Google Docs and Google Sheets to create documents online.
It’s totally integrated with Gmail, and all other Google services. Once you start using Google Docs, you’d experience how simple it is to work on documentation when you don’t have to come out of the browser to access an offline document editor like MS Word.
Unless your brain is a black hole that can consume all the information you experience every day, chances are you’ll require the services of a wholesome organizer. This is where Evernote makes its presence felt. Right from adding your meetings’ recorded audio to uploading scanned copies of handouts someone handed you in a seminar – you can put everything in your Evernote account, and can organize the content in different categories.
Evernote is an organizer, it’s a reminder mechanism, it’s a to-do list manager, and it’s a storehouse of all the information you wish to keep safe and organized for viewing later – that’s how powerful it is.
You need a powerful and inexpensive (if not free) CRM, right? Try out Zoho CRM for free. It lets you effortlessly automate aspects such as lead capture, lead follow ups, sales target forecasts, contact information updates, and mobile access.
With the free package, you can create up to 3 users, which works well for startups with very few members on board. Of course, you can upgrade later. Functionalities around sales opportunities, web forms, accounts and contacts, lead management, and mobile access make Zoho CRM a highly value adding CRM option for startups.
There are significant functional advantages and cost savings to be enjoyed out of adoption of free cloud powered tools. We’ve covered a good mix of such tools to help you manage your startup’s operations better and cheaper than you thought. 🙂