A suitable set of business tools is one of the building blocks of a startup, along with a skilful and proficient team, and a revenue-generating business model. Companies can choose distinct tools for different industries and project sizes. There’s software out there for virtually everything these days, from hiring employees to customer relationship management, email marketing, product management, and other crucial aspects of running a startup.
All burgeoning businesses face a wide range of challenges when they are just starting out. As such, a startup may not have all the resources they need at the right time for the right price. Initially, startups may also not have the capacity or intent to invest in tools and technologies that may evolve and become obsolete later on. As an alternative, in this article we will list some free tools that could potentially help startups grow their business.
Please note that the tools listed below have been tagged as having free-to-use versions on Capterra Canada’s website. Not all free tools offer the same set of features, and some software may additionally offer paid versions as well as features that come with premium pricing.
Free business tools for startup operations
The appropriate set of tools may make all the difference in how you operate your small to midsize enterprise (SME) or startup. We will now list some free business tools that could help you scale your business and enhance productivity and efficiency.
A PDF editor tool is used to convert a portable document format (PDF) file into an editable document. Once converted, it gives users the option to sign documents electronically, and edit the required fields within a form or document. PDF editing software also allows users to convert PDF files into other file formats like DOC, XLS, HTML, and JPG, which can make it easier to share and disseminate data.
Sharing documents in PDF format ensures that all document viewers see the same image or version of text, regardless of screen size or the type of device used. This also ensures that the original version of the document is preserved even after multiple shares across different channels. In addition, some PDF editor tools also allow users to record a version history, which can help keep track of any modifications. A PDF editor can potentially be a useful resource for startups, as some such tools even offer enhanced security for confidential contracts and documents by securing them with passwords.
Website optimization is the process of improving website performance to achieve desired business goals such as improving the ranking of the webpage on search engine results pages (also known as SEO or search engine optimization), increasing website traffic, and generating leads through forms. Optimizing a company’s website can improve speed and responsiveness, shortening the time it takes for a web page to load, and likely offering users a better experience.
Managing all of the tools mentioned above with an ill-equipped operating system could be very difficult for startups. However, you can find an operating system that could best serve your company’s needs among vendors which offer free versions with some restrictions, such as a limit on the number of users.
License fees for operating systems can be high, and a free operating system ensures that a reasonable number of employees can use it without adding to the company’s overhead expenditure. Some operating systems with a free version also offer premium features —usually for a monthly or annual fee— that startups can opt for whenever they feel the need for expansion.
Free tools for startup marketing activities
The tools employed by businesses as part of their marketing initiatives should ideally cover a wide range of purposes and requirements. Having successful business operations means nothing if your brand isn’t reaching your target audience, and this is where marketing tools could help. According to a Gartner report, one-third of all marketing work has migrated from agency to in-house marketing departments, which makes it even more important for startups to equip their in-house teams with the ideal tools. In this section, we will cover some marketing tools that can help businesses optimise their social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and other initiatives.
Hiring a design agency to create marketing materials such as videos can be out-of-reach for startups with tight budgets. As an alternative, free video editing tools can help produce informative videos, commercials, and product demonstrations. Some such tools may also offer the option to record, customize, and publish videos on social media outlets or other platforms. In addition, companies can potentially make interactive videos, and add shoppable links, which may aid in increasing engagement with potential customers and maximizing the potential of video marketing campaigns.
Whether for a bespoke website or sharing posts on social media, the images used by a business should ideally be unique and on-brand. However, hiring a photographer to acquire original and high-quality photos may not be within the budget for all startups. This is where photo editing software can help, as such tools can give startups access to stock images (images that can be used free of charge), as well as allowing the enhancement, manipulation, and formatting of digital images without the cost of outsourced labour. These tools can potentially help with editing simple images and even utilizing complex and more advanced features for different industry needs.
Audio editing tools are most commonly used by editors and engineers to cut, organize, and modify audio files, and even create new audio components. These tools can help record audio from one or more inputs and save them as digital audio files in your computer’s memory. Most such tools also give editors the ability to modify multiple audio file types, which can be another helpful feature for startups.
In a nutshell
Starting a business can sometimes be a difficult endeavour. Two of the most compelling reasons for using free software are accessibility and flexibility, and small firms potentially have a lot to gain from this. Once the startup reaches a profitable stage, users can opt for the premium features of some of these tools to accommodate growing business needs.