Launching a startup company isn’t at all a small thing. By the time you find a great team and work to be done, half the budget’s already gone!
Luckily, some apps cost much less than others, so when you sum it all up, it can save you a lot of money. We handpicked the ones most suitable for small businesses with limited budgets.
Imagine life without project management software. Designed to help every team member in literally every aspect of the work, every tool has its unique features, some more than others. We chose the perfect ones for your company, listed below.
One of the best project management solutions around, GanttPRO uses a Gantt chart to help users improve work productivity and efficiency. Seeing how a project’s being done one step at a time gives them a different perspective of project management.
For as little as $5.90/month per user, CEOs manage resources, track team progress, estimate deadlines and project costs, and review all steps in the process. You can try it out for free, without having to insert credit card details. If you’re satisfied, an immediate upgrade will be delivered to you.
In their words, GanttPRO “is your smart way of keeping complex projects simple”, which in this case is 100% true. With over 350.000 registered users, it’s incredibly easy to learn, helps clients with updates and reports, and improves work efficiency in all departments. Worth trying out!
The ‘all-in-one’ team collaboration app combines multiple features in a single tool. It assists teams with task completion, multiple chat channels, and file management.
Pricing starts at $8/month, billed per user. For larger companies, the ‘enterprise’ plan is available per request. Users can test the pro version in a trial period before they decide to use Samepage as the default team collaboration app.
Overall, it’s a pretty cool app with multiple useful features for both remote and local teams. You can even invite guests (clients) to view specific content, add private teams for secret projects, and even use emojis to spice up everyday communication.
Available for web and mobile, Asana makes project management easier from every aspect. The usual lists and boards are incorporated into one and integrated with Gmail, Microsoft Teams, and other important apps.
Paid plans begin at $9.99 per month per user billed annually. For larger teams, there is a more advanced version starting at $19.99/month. Finally, for startups and smaller businesses, there is a basic trial version with fewer features available. It can hold up to 15 people.
Why Asana? To begin with, users can switch between the dashboard looks by choosing between board, list or calendar views. Assignments are divided with deadlines, multiple app integrations are available, and there are advanced search and reporting for easier file management.
Client relationship management
Without clients, no startup would survive. To help CEOs maintain their excellent client relationships and create new ones, we’ve picked the best apps for you.
The sales-focused CRM tool is currently used by over 90.000 customers in more than 150 countries worldwide. Features include email integration, sales reporting, and forecasting. Another big plus is the mobile app availability for Pipedrive, for flexible usage.
While you can check the free trial and demo, four main plans are available – ‘essential’, ‘advanced’, ‘professional’, and ‘enterprise’. To start and organize a simple sales process, users try with the ‘essential’ plan, costing $12.50/per month, billed annually.
Members can set custom fields, pipeline and stages, link emails between contacts and current deals, customize dashboards, and set personal and company goals. Overall, it’s a pretty agile app for companies of all sizes.
Used by freelancers and small agencies, Prospero is a software focused on quotes. Its remarkable editor lets users create catchy proposals with ease, for more leads and increased overall sales.
Interestingly enough, Prospero’s 21-day trial costs $1. This is a pretty negative trait since everyone should ‘test drive’ without having to pay for it, no matter the sum. On the other hand, pricing is simple, with just $8 per month, or $5 if paid annually.
While it may be limited to a few payment integration options, Prospero’s responsive design makes it faster for clients to sign deals. Users can choose from several templates and use different fonts, colors, backgrounds, and much more.
Similar to Prospero, Proposify delivers finished client proposals by saving time on building and sending them. It can be integrated with over 30 apps including Asana, BaseCamp, file management software, Slack, and others.
To try it out, the company offers a 14-day trial, no credit card details required. For up to 3 users, their ‘tall’ plan starts at $19/user per month. With it, users can send up to 5 proposals, use metrics and content library, and offer online signatures. Advanced plans have more features, though this is more than enough to begin with.
Existing users praise it for its time-saving features, such as the incredibly easy editor full of content and pre-made templates. There’s another feature which shows how much people spend time reviewing and signing off signatures. In most cases, they don’t need more than a few minutes, meaning it’s just ‘look and sign off’.
Productivity and time-tracking
Productivity breeds leaders. Concentration paves the way to success, no matter the field of work you’re in. Some of these apps might help you increase work focus and productivity if used properly.
How do you make someone more productive? By inducing them with a good working habit, of course. Forest helps users increase work productivity by depicting a newly-planted tree. This tree grows slowly in time. However, slacking will kill it fast.
It’s available for smartphones (iOS and Android) and as a Chrome/Firefox extension. It’s free for Chrome and Firefox as well as for Android, while iOS-based users need to pay around $2.50 for it.
It helps people finish work tasks much quicker and to some, it breeds new habits just about anything in life. It’s free and worth a shot.
Time tracking is essential to check where your workers spend most of their working hours at. Using pie charts, Toggl shows exactly what they’ve been doing, and ways to improve slacking.
You can test it for 30 days without any compensation. While the basic plan is forever free, starter plans cost $9 per month per single user if billed annually. As with every other app, the availability of features depends on the type of plan you’ll choose.
The best things include project and employee profitability charts, periodic reports, track reminders, and show clients what your staff’s been doing.
If you’re having a hard time meeting people and organizing your working hours, Calendly’s here to connect and organize multiple calendars from your accounts. Connect with the most contacted people on your list, schedule clients one at a time, and hold any type of meeting.
Luckily, before you decide, the company offers a free 14-day trial, with all features included. You don’t need a credit card to register, an email is more than enough. If you’re satisfied with it, premium plans begin at $8 and $12 per month, for a single user. A ‘forever free’ plan is also available for a single calendar.
What can you do with Calendly? You could integrate it with multiple calendar services, schedule as many events as you need, change event types, receive notifications either by mail or SMS, and connect it with hundreds of applications, including PayPal and Zoom.
Documents and writing
Taking care of all the e-documentation is mandatory for all small businesses to prosper. Find the best app to take care of all the paperwork for you.
One of the simplest, most efficient note-taking apps allows users to organize tasks by all means necessary. It’s so popular so that Alexa ranks it among the best 500 websites on the Internet. Why is Evernote so good?
For all beginners, it has a free version for taking notes. The most popular pricing plan costs around $7.80. For all those small-business owners wanting to organize the rest of the staff, it costs more per user – $15.50, to be more precise.
While prices may be a bit higher than usual, Evernote has many quality traits which make it great for organizing teams. For example, you can use AI-suggested content when typing notes, connect with Slack and other team management tools, and if you’re too lazy to type, simply record your voice and send voice notes.
Available for iOS and Android and as a desktop version, Notion helps place all your team’s work apps and content in a single workspace. Instead of switching between apps, teammates can now communicate, send notes and work on projects with Notion.
One of its perks is pricing. The good thing is the unlimited number of coworkers being able to use it for free, with limited features, of course. For smaller companies, paid plans begin at $4 per month.
What will you get with Notion’s extra perks? Besides unlimited storage and priority support, you can divide and assign accounts for your company hierarchy and export files in bulks. The latest option includes switching from Evernote if you ever get bored of it.
When it comes to document management, OnlyOffice claims to have the ultimate software. The ability to choose between online, desktop, and mobile editors says a lot about this app. There’s a huge collaboration platform behind it, perfect for startups and their limited budget.
For companies with up to 50 employees, there’s a lifetime license worth $1200 for a single server. You get 1-year support and all the features included. The only difference between plans is the number of users and the ability to use it on multiple portals.
Using integrated plugins, even the most complex documents can be created with ease. Admins can track all changes and edit as they wish. Most importantly, it can be used for signing invoices and other papers using DocuSign, saving precious time for the company.
Grammarly makes everyone an expert writer and helps sentences look much better. Owing to its advanced algorithm, you can now send emails to your clients written in the perfect English language with correct spelling and punctuation.
The premium monthly subscription costs $29.95, but if you pay annually, it’ll cost you as little as $11.66 per month. Quarterly discounted offers are also available, with one-week trial included.
Grammarly helps transform every sentence into an appealing, readable set of letters. Every client wants a professionally written email for increased satisfaction in the overall process.
It’s of the utmost importance to have constant and open communication with all your employees. For small business owners, it’s important to acquire more affordable alternatives to the most popular apps, so here are a few of them to save on the monthly budget.
One of the best Slack alternatives is as equally good and almost as twice as cheap. It has unlimited app integrations, it is an open-source app, and can be used on multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as Android and iOS.
You can test it out for a month and if you like it, it’ll cost $3.25/month billed annually for every one of your staff members. Although it’s meant for small businesses, you still get tons of useful features.
It has the same characteristics of Slack, and for remote teams, it supports translations in 16 languages. In case safety is your number one priority, there’s a multi-factor login authentication available for the staff. It’s a really good app for any startup.
For a different type of communication, tightly related to lead generation, Hunter.io is one of the best around. It lets owners connect with other professionals for any work-related topic. If you need someone’s email address to be found, this is the right app for you.
However, there’s a downside to it all. You can use it for free, with up to 50 requests per month. Then again, the cheapest paid plan costs around $55/month, which isn’t all that cheap. Looking on the bright side, once you find agencies willing to outsource projects, it does pay off in the long run.
Users are allowed to search for hundreds of potential clients, called requests. These requests are counted as domain search emails, email finder, and check if an email is verified for further usage. Exporting .csv files is another possibility, excellent for tracking contacts and sending cold email campaigns.
For over six years now, Telegram is a communication software entirely focused on safety and speed of messaging. And that’s what every business, small and large, needs nowadays.
The company believes in free software based on donations, which is precisely what they are. According to them, “making profits will never be an end-goal for the company.”
Ideal for remote teams and startups with low budgets, Telegram encrypts messages and protects them against hacker attacks. Furthermore, you can schedule texts to self-destruct, no matter the size. Syncing chats and groups is really easy, and it is open-source, allowing companies to build their own tools with the API.
For a perfect video conferencing or remote workspaces, Zoom provides HD quality calls without any interruptions. Lately, they turned to other communication services such as chatting and mobile collaboration, which is a big plus for everyone.
Without spending a dime, users can have an unlimited number of 1-on-1 meetings, at a 40-minute limit for group calls. For small teams, a single host will spend $14.99/month and manage users in a custom admin panel, create reports, record calls, and connect with Skype for Business.
It’s easy to schedule, hold, and record meetings with Zoom, which is why companies like UBER, Autodesk, HubSpot, and other prefer using it. Rated with 4.5/5 stars, it’s the ideal app for video conferencing.
Legal and finances
Those who take care of finances and documents no longer work the old way, especially when it comes to fast-rising startups. A single mistyped number in the finances sector can mess up an entire company, so we suggest using any of the software listed below and minimize errors.
When it comes to dealing with documentation, Bonsai makes it easier to take care of literally every company-related paper. Sign, propose, pay – you name it, they got it.
While a trial version shows but a tip of the iceberg, Bonsai offers two relatively cheap plans, at $16 and $24, respectively. What are users getting for $16 per month?
They can set recurring paychecks, create reports, calculate expenses, track time, deliver proposals and contracts, and send invoices and various payments. There are no limits on projects and as a bonus, they’ve created an accounting module to save time on charts and balance sheet.
Small businesses can hardly afford legal services. This is why LegalZoom was started in the first place. In short, it helps users choose from a wide range of legal document templates, including business and trademark/copyright-related documents.
Services include creating an LLC, creation of legal forms, getting the business advisory plan, and various registrations. Prices vary, but the most common plan costs $31.25/month.
Supporting mainly small businesses with small budgets, LegalZoom can be viewed as an online attorney (or adviser) for your business. All documents are reviewed, you can consult with lawyers with a single call, and they offer good discounts for hourly rates concerning any additional services.
Why is Gusto on the list? Because it’s helped over 100.000 small businesses prosper thanks to great HR and resource management support.
The company itself functions as a small family, and they encourage this policy on other businesses. The simplest way of managing employees requires $6/month per person, and upwards. There is one more additional cost in the form of the base price costing $39.
In case this software fails to meet your needs, a 1-month trial is included in the offer. Gusto takes care of the payroll, health benefits, worker compensation, paid-time-off policies, and everything that makes them happy and safe at work. It’s a highly useful app if your startup isn’t financially powerful to have its own HR department.
Accounting software never ceases to amaze its most loyal users. Such is the case with Quickbooks and its incredibly easy user dashboard and payment methods.
While they offer a live bookkeeper for large companies, it’s more affordable to do it yourself for $10 per month. Is it worth the trouble? Of course, once you hear what Quickbooks does for your company.
With it, you can track all income, payments, expenses, sales, invoices, and manage over 1000 clients. And if you don’t like it at first, there’s a free month to test every available feature before you decide to it for good.
The free financial management application combines tracking company bank accounts with the credit score. Using a simplified user interface, Mint helps CEOs create periodic budgets and set finances, at the same time calculating income vs. expenses.
According to the company, more than 20 million users use Mint to balance finances and check their credit score for possible future loans. It’s easy to set up and provides users with valuable statistics such as ‘spending by category’. This gives you an idea of where the money goes and keeps you updated about the latest changes.
It gives alerts on excessive ATM fees, unusual transactions, and bills to pay. No one wants messy finances and uncontrolled money spending. That is why Mint helps oversee everything and plan the monthly budget ahead.
Marketing and design
You can’t gain reputation and exposure unless there’s a social media person present in the company. And that person can’t function unless provided with the right tools. While designers are often busy, there are a few apps available for marketers to play around with, and often create wonders.
The best Canva alternative isn’t only cheaper, but it’s way better in some features. It has all the functionalities for creating magnificent visual content and it’s cheaper!
Being a small business, wherever you can cut on expenses, you should do so. While Canva costs $12.50/month annually, Easil’s premium plans can be subscribed to for just $7.50/month. The simple drag-and-drop graphic design software is already gaining recognition in the world of digital marketing, especially within social media experts.
Marketers can include GIFs, various graphics, and images or simply use any of the thousands of customizable templates. From invitations and holiday posters to social media adverts and restaurant menus, Easil might soon claim the number one spot for ‘best graphic design for beginners’.
When it comes to creating social media, ads, and video posts, Crello is yet another great graphic design editor. Similar to Easil, it contains over 10.000 fully customizable, premade templates for graphics creation.
The free edition includes thousands of free-to-use photos and designs but limited to uploading your own work. For $6.50/month, users have access to free stock photos, over a half of a million premium photos, and can upload up to 1000 images from their storage.
On Crello, you can find all sorts of marketing and advertising materials. It helps bloggers create great featured images and especially helps digital marketers with designs and social media posts. For lead generation experts, cold email templates will look as if an artist drew them. Overall, it’s a great app if your company is short on graphic designers.
When it comes to social media management, Crowdfire is at the top of the list. Specifically designed to help social media managers, it assists in curating new content, schedule posts, view analytics for changes on your accounts, and generate reports for clients.
There is a plan specifically created for small businesses which costs $7.48/month and links up to 2 accounts per social media platform. It can schedule 100 monthly posts for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Other than that, a standard free plan is included but lacks most of these features.
For easier management, there’s a Chrome extension which allows article sharing, but most importantly, content curation works miracles with this app.
Some social media scheduling apps prefer to provide real results using improved visual marketing tactics. Such is Tailwind, software working only with Pinterest and Instagram. Visual marketing is their top priority, and they are very good at it. Walmart, Nike, and eBay are among their most loyal customers.
Tailwind allows inexperienced users to start a free trial without any credit card required. If they wish to continue scheduling content, the ‘small business’ option is available at just $9.99 per month.
You can schedule an unlimited amount of posts and measure post success. Eliminate unwanted posts with smart scheduling and gain valuable insights from the app’s metrics, for better organic reach.
Find and hire talents for the team
Great leaders can’t create successful companies, but great employees can. If you’re having difficulties finding the right talent, maybe these platforms might do the job.
Divided into several categories, the famous freelancer platform connects managers and IT professionals for future projects. While project managers aren’t charged with percentage fees, the burden falls on freelancers. They are charged 9.5% of the total project value.
It’s easy to post a project and hire people based on their skills. You get to choose from various candidates worldwide and hire the one most suitable for your needs.
More specifically, there are freelancers to be found by country category, i.e. U.S.A., Canada, India, and the UK. For larger projects, managers may hire entire freelance teams that is rarely seen on other marketplaces.
Next year, this famous freelancing platform turns ten. According to them, the world’s top 3% of workers in the IT sector is located here. It means that one of these workers might someday join your team if given an opportunity.
The real rate of Toptal is unknown because posting a project and hiring freelancers is free. It’s believed that their cut comes from agreed hourly wages, which is presumably a small percentage compared to what workers get.
Overall, if you need proven professionals, even project managers, it’s the first place to start looking.
Helping startups find good workers usually starts in the freelance marketplace. They’ve got many workers from almost any modern industry, so it’s most likely to start building your team here.
A positive thing would be posting jobs before choosing plans. No matter, to increase your company’s employee count, it’ll cost you $59/month. What do you get in return?
You can post a maximum of 10 job posts, contact 100 freelancers and email them, share documents, receive all sorts of helpful notifications, and receive discounts with partner companies. One of the best things is live audio/video interviews to find out who you’re dealing with.
Overall, when it comes to choosing the right app at the right price, the list is long. Without most of these, it’s hardly possible for a startup to survive. Organizing and executing so many tasks in so little time can’t be done unless you invest in software that will make your life easier.
Now, think about it – if you were a startup owner, which apps do you think would be the most appropriate to use?