22 Must Have Apps For Start-ups with Limited Budgets
Money & Tech

22 Must Have Apps For Start-ups with Limited Budgets

22 Must Have Apps For Start-ups with Limited Budgets

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. So much to do and at least initially, you have to do a lot of it yourself. But happily, developers have designed an app for almost every aspect of running a business—from hiring talent, to engaging customers on social media, to working with your growing team.

Exactly what you need will depend on you—but here are 22 great apps to consider:

Hiring

There are many options to make the hiring process easier. Free recruiting options include posting positions on job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor, asking for personal referrals, and advertising on social media. If you’re willing to invest money in recruitment, these apps will help you find your dream candidate:

With Workable's intuitive templates you can post a job opening in minutes and relax while the software cross-posts your submission to over 200 free and paid online job boards. Then use Workable’s dashboard to track applicants’ progress through your recruitment funnel. 

Although start-ups offer exciting job opportunities, students may overlook them at the typical campus job fair dominated by large and medium sized companies. Handshake levels the playing field, virtually connecting students and employers based on keyword searches – not size. You can even use it to advertise part-time employment or internships. 

Techadox fills the void when you need IT help but can’t yet afford a full-time “IT guy.” It’s like TaskRabbit for IT – highly skilled IT professionals working the gig economy. Use it to help take care of many of your IT needs such as creating a website, an online store, an app and making sure everything is properly networked. 

For the sheer size of the candidate pool, you can’t beat LinkedIn. LinkedIn Recruiter allows you to filter searches and send in-mails to potential candidates. The Recruiter app delivers updates directly to your phone.

Finance

New apps automate so much of the work that entrepreneurs can now oversee the once-confusing world of accounting, payroll, and invoicing right from their phones. In fact, the mom-and-pop accountant you’ve hired down the road may well be using one of these apps themselves. 

Wave offers a powerful suite of products that does it all: accounting, invoicing, payroll, payments and receipt tracking. Best of all, it does some of this for free. You can start with a free account to manage accounting, invoicing, and receipt tracking tasks, then add fee-based payroll and payment processing. 

Gusto is a financial app that offers one-touch set up for all things employee-related – hiring, payroll, health insurance, financial benefits, workers’ comp, and time tracking tools. Plus, Gusto integrates with dozens of accounting platforms. 

Although it sounds too good to be true, payroll4free.com is truly free for up to 25 W-2 employees, 1099 contractors, or a combination of both. This includes all payroll processing, direct deposits or paper checks, tax calculations and forms, and vacation tracking. One hitch –it only runs on Windows.

Being able to accept payment electronically is mandatory. Venmo lets you pay and get paid in person, online, or inside your mobile app. Venmo payments are immediate and free, but buyer (and seller) beware—Venmo offers no consumer protection on its transactions, so it’s safest to fund your Venmo account with a company credit card. 

Stripe offers both an online payment system and Stripe Terminal, a point-of-sale card reader. Stripe unifies online and offline sales in a single reporting system, a perfect combination for brick-and-mortar stores with e-commerce outlets. One noteworthy feature is Stripe Radar, a fraud detection and prevention toolkit powered by machine learning. 

Mint is an app that tracks spending, monitors balances, and analyzes your budget. You can even add cash expenditures manually for a complete financial snapshot. Intuitive report retrieval can be done right on your phone. Mint makes its money from ad revenue, so expect some targeted promotions.

Team collaboration

Virtual collaborative platforms keep your in-office and your work-from-home employees connected and on track as it assigns accountability, increases productivity, and keeps projects moving forward. 

Microsoft Teams lets you meet, chat, call and collaborate in just one place. The free version provides unlimited messaging and 10GB team storage for up to 300 users, as well as 60 minute online audio and video calls for up to 100 people at a time. And of course, it integrates with Microsoft Office apps. 

At the start of each project Asana lets you establish milestones and assign action items. Throughout the project, Asana automatically sends gentle reminders about due dates, responsibilities, and next steps to maintain momentum. 

If you are a list maker, then Todoist is for you. Make a list, assign tasks, monitor progress. You can sort lists by due date, project, or team member. The app works on all your devices and when you use it offline, it automatically syncs at your next login. 

Email Automation

For startups, email remains a cost-effective tool for both lead generation and lead nurturing. Recent studies indicate that 79% of B2C marketers and 87% of B2B marketers use email to reach their audiences. 

And in addition to promotional emails, customers have come to expect automated transactional emails (think personalized shipping notifications and password resets). It’s just part of good customer service. 

According to Datanyze, Mailchimp owns 69% of the email marketing industry. Its nearest competitor, Constant Contact, clocks in at just 6%. 

Mailchimp’s free version allows up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 email sends or automated responses per month. Paid plans get expensive quickly – the more contacts you have the more expensive each plan tier becomes. But with a paid plan, you can expand your contact list and access more advanced marketing features – surveys, audience segmentation, behavioral marketing and a CRM tool.

For the startup company establishing brand recognition or launching online sales, Sendinblue’s free version allows unlimited contacts and up to 300 emails/day. The company’s focus on its “trusted sender” reputation earned it a 96.3% deliverability rate, with an industry-leading 80% of its emails arriving in the Gmail recipient’s primary inbox (as opposed to landing in the “Promotions” tab). The pricing model doesn’t change as you grow your contact list, since you pay for the number of emails you send, not the number of contacts on your list.  

MailerLite is a relative newcomer to the email automation market. Its visual workflow automation makes it easy to set up triggered email responses. The free version allows 1,000 contacts and up to 12,000 emails a month. With the highest deliverability rate in the industry (96.9%), you know you’re getting eyes on your emails. 

Social media and graphic design

Experts say young companies can enhance their brand’s credibility by projecting authenticity and professionalism. Strong visuals featuring video, powerful images, interesting layouts, and bold headlines engage customers as they scroll through their social media feeds, peruse their email in-boxes, or walk down the street. But how can startups compete with brands that have large budgets and dedicated design teams?

You don’t have to have deep pockets or be a graphic designer to create stunning social media posts with PosterMyWall. This online design and marketing tool offers over 175,000 customizable design templates you can use to create social media content—as well as videos, posters, fliers, emails, logos—and virtually any other type of graphic asset.

The easy-to-use design tool lets you upload your own images and personalize text. Create a comprehensive campaign across all your social media platforms with one-click re-sizing, then publish to your social media platforms directly from the app. 

 

File sharing

In the age of virtual teams, file sharing is critical. Beyond standalone file sharing platforms, most team collaboration tools offer some level of file sharing and vice versa. For startups sharing confidential files, security is paramount. Equally important is centralized file storage and access control. 

Send Anywhere lets you send any file, any size, any type, as many times as you want, to any device and platform. (The free version limits you to 4GB file transfers.) 

WeTransferlets you send up to 2GB files for free, giving your recipient seven days to pick them up. You can send to up to three email addresses or get a link to send files to more people. 

What began as a pure file sharing platform back in 2007 (Dropbox is one of the oldest companies in the file sharing business), is now a multi-faceted collaboration tool. But you can still use Dropbox just to transfer files. And if you’ve ever used Dropbox on your computer, the mobile app is a snap. With a lifetime storage/transfer limit of just 2GB, its strength is sharing documents – not videos and photographs. 

Video conferencing

There is no way around it. Every company needs video conferencing. 

Flock is ideal for one-to-one collaboration, where it offers unlimited messages and video conferences. Larger startups can upgrade to the Flock PRO plan for group video conferencing and more file storage. Both plans include shared notes and reminders. 

It’s no accident that Zoom has become synonymous with video conferencing. It’s so simple that even your grandma uses it. But it’s just as appropriate for business, and the free version includes meetings for up to 100 people for up to 40 minutes. Upgrades allow longer or larger meetings, recording capabilities, and your company’s branding. 

GoogleMeet has the best free option for longer meetings – up to 100 people for up to 60 minutes. You’ll have to spring for the paid version to record meetings for later viewing. And if you use Gmail, you can share your recordings to your Google Drive with one click. 

It’s tough to start a new company but entrepreneurs who select the right technology tools start with a leg up on their competition. Not only do they save money versus hiring freelancers, they get more done—and more efficiently, too.

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