If you’re about to launch your own startup or you’re already a startup founder, more than likely you’ve seen a lot of rhetoric and received many a sales email about productivity tools for entrepreneurs. It’s true that juggling the many roles of being an entrepreneur is made significantly easier with the help of great technology, but it’s extremely time-consuming and disruptive to constantly transition from one app to another in search of the best solution for your team.
When it comes to equipping yourself and your startup with time-saving tech, the best rule to follow is to just keep it simple. Choose options with a low barrier to entry so your team doesn’t have to spend a ton of time training on all the bells and whistles and only implement the ones that will really help your team move the needle, now. You can adopt more sophisticated tech when you really need it. Here is a list of six free or low-cost apps that have been tried and tested by numerous startups and are sure to ease the burden of operating a growing team.
When it comes to the successful team management, quick and organized communication is the key. With Slack, you can forget about exhausting email ping-pong and losing your valuable business time. This app allows you to freely organize all team discussions and has all conversations located in the same place. Slack is available in mobile app version allowing you to stay in touch with your team as you’re out on the fundraising trail. Slack offers many additional features for paid users, but free tool version will meet most of the early-stage entrepreneur necessities.
True to their mantra, Expensify make expense reports that don’t suck! Because let’s be honest—organizing and categorizing a stack of business receipts is one of those least-favorite tasks of any founder. Expensify makes the reporting process much easier by allowing you to capture expenses and add them to your report the moment the transaction occurs, so you don’t have to hang onto anything for later. Simple snap a pic of your receipt from your smartphone and add it to your app, and you’ll be saved that dreaded end-of-week task of pulling crumpled receipts from your wallet.
When it comes to scheduling meetings, conferences or business calls, Calendly is a big time-saver. Instead of going through the endless process of picking through your calendar and suggesting times for your appointment, you can simply share a calendar link to others and let them choose a free time slot. After the meeting is booked, the app sends out an automatic invitation to both user calendars. Easy. The basic features of the Calendly app are also free.
When you’re launching a business, you need a wide variety of support. From design work to copy editing to admin work, it’s hard to find a jack-of-all-trades employee who can provide assistance in so many different fields. Instead of hiring employees and taking on the payroll risk, founders might consider hiring freelancers to take on tasks one project at a time. The UpWork app gives you an access to a platform full of professionals in such areas as web and mobile development, writing, design, virtual assistance, customer service reps and more. It makes the hiring process extremely simple and allows you to view ratings and reviews of any hire, so you know the quality of work you can expect.
Asana is an easy-to-use and cost-friendly project management tool, that allows the different size of working teams to communicate on projects in one central location and manage all the assets and assignments in one place. The app is straightforward task management and will help you to collaborate on your projects with your team members from any location. They have an assortment of training videos to help get you up to speed quickly, and best of all, it integrates with Slack so you can create tasks from your team conversations.
As the term sheets start rolling in, Hellosign is a great tool to help you manage signing and scanning documents. It allows you to sign contracts and other legal documents with a legally binding electronic signature. The app is free for up to three documents a month. Your printer ink costs and the environment will thank you.
All these apps will allow you to cut the admin work, streamline your communication and project management, and spend more time focusing on what you do best—growing your business.