Starting a business can be daunting and trying to keep tabs of everything from sales to projects, even more so. If you happen to be an entrepreneur still writing things down on paper or using TextPad or the like, then this one’s for you. The digital age is one that encourages start-ups, in the sense that they no longer need expensive stand-alone applications to move their business to the next level.
Say hello to the following free web applications guaranteed to change the way your business operates.
We’ve all been there: creating invoices ad-hoc, taking time to edit each one, then forgetting to include certain line items or bill them at the end of the month, oh what fun! Time to kick things up a notch or two. Say hello to FreshBooks.
Impress your clients with a professional-looking invoice, which displays your logo and company details. FreshBooks allows tracking of income and expenses and has nifty reminders sent automatically to clients’ when their payments are late. Small businesses never get paid late right?
Number of clients you can manage: three
Number of invoices you can send: unlimited
Whoever said small businesses do not need to track their projects, clearly has never had to manage more than one at a time. Although Zoho has a range of business products, most offering a free version for each product, Zoho Projects is easy to use, displays all outstanding tasks via a nifty dashboard and even displays your profile pic, just in case you forgot what you used to look like before you started a business.
The free version limits you to one project, however, you can get around this by creating milestones as projects, tracking them in the same way.
Number of projects you can manage: one
Number of users: unlimited
It’s your first annual staff party, and if you’re a true start-up, this may consist of you, your developer and your cat or dog. No invitations to any staff functions needed. Suddenly in year two or three, your employing around 15+ people but have no budget to have a special invitation designed.
Scenario two, the planning has taken years and finally your grand opening arrives.
Problem? Not anymore. Send your online invitation or announcement via Pingg. There are loads of professional, ready-made business templates available 24-7-365. Now the only problem you have, is who to invite and when to have the party.
Number of cards you can send: unlimited
Number of recipients: 250
One of the most pain-staking and time-consuming (yet often neglected) jobs an entrepreneur has, is to communicate with his/her customers on a regular basis. How many of us use an email program and continuously have to re-type email addresses over and over when communicating with them?
In the end we give up, consequently not engaging with the customer, of who without the business would not exist.
Time to make contact with MailChimp.
Not only can you send and monitor email, now you can segment your customers into groups, showing your customer you care, by tailoring your message specifically for them.
Number of subscribers: 0-2000
Number of emails per month: 12 000
You may be the CEO of your startup, but you’re also most likely tech support as well. The majority of your time should be spent selling your product or service, and now it can be, since storing all requests in your head may not work that well anymore.
Zoho Support not only helps you log all support requests, but provides a Customer Support Portal that your customers can access at anytime, instead of calling you at 1am in the morning.
Number of requests per day: 25
Number of solution folders: 10
The life cycle of a startup is often chaotic since you, the business owner, have to manage all elements of your business initially.
Isn’t it good to know that the web not only connects us with the world, but also allows for a more streamlined, yet connected business, which means you have more time to bring home the bacon?