Updated on 15 June 2018
If you just started an Online Business or thinking of one. Soon or later you worry about Productivity, Progress, and minimum Resources at your disposal to help to do things fast.
You will be demotivated and doubts crap in on your abilities. You feel lonely and one man short, You will identify some skills missing in you such as to produce great designs, implementing digital marketing campaigns on time or you have little knowledge on SEO etc.
But here’s the kicker: You are not alone…
You do not have to worry for any of the situations mentioned above as you have equal access to following Internet Business tools for free same as the big companies have.
So, try these Free Internet Business Tools or software tools specially designed for people like you and me to get things done fast and perform better.
Keep believing in yourself. You started this entrepreneurial journey for a reason [solving problems of others]
Keep reading to find the magical free internet tools that simplify your daily work to a great extent.
To simplify, I decided to break down the tools used in a startup set up below for your reference.
Design and Graphics
Social Media Management
Online Research and Survey
Sales and Marketing
Below are 40 free online tools that I am using in my startup, you can also master them and improve your productivity. You might be familiar with some of these tools but still, they are simply too good to ignore in a startup.
40 Free Internet Business Tools for Startups
# Design and Multimedia
# Website or CMS
# Project Management and Collaboration
# Social Media Management
# Online Survey and Research
# SEO Tools
# Communication and Sales
30) Google Drive
32) Microsoft Suite
# Customer Support
35) social channels as customer support platform
36) ManyChat [ChatBot Messengers]
# Email Marketing
38) Mail Chimp
Design and Graphics
For all visual communications, brand promotions, online marketing, setting up social channels, user experience, website, and app presence for your product/service you require design skills.
As part of startup life, I use design in all communications with users, partners, and other stakeholders. Communication is nothing but messages that are sent in the form of emails, social posts, youtube videos, infographics, flyers etc to get user attention to build a relation towards brand helping them to make buying decisions.
Designing Online marketing creative’s, social media posts are made very simple and easy with these tools when you start using these tools you will simply love them. With Canva, Pablo, PiktoChart online software design tools you do not want to worry about design skills or Photoshop experience for creating social posts.
You can always use these simple user-friendly tools to create a great Monday motivational or inspirational quotes to product explainers and deals posts to brand promotional and user likable posts.
For me, Canva stands out from all the design tools available online as it has recommended templates and social post size recommendations. You can also use font styles, images and inspiration from their free stock resources.
If you still need your own images you can get it from Pixabay (Pixabay has a great database of license-free images that can also be used for commercial purpose)
Bonus: Unsplash a great resource of over 200,000 free high-resolution photos gifted by 50K professional photographers. (You can use all images for commercial and non-commercial purposes. The Best part is you do not need to ask permission or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash)
You can also try Fotolia for great royalty free images. (This is a premium service)
These are some examples created using Canva.
Below is a Motivational quote social post created using Pablo.
Another great tool you can bank on is PiktoChart with which you can create visuals quickly. It has all the tools a non-designer needs to create infographics. You can also share your visuals on social media.
Adobe suite includes Illustrator/InDesign/After effects to name a few (This is not free but you can get the software from someone you know and try it).
Famous Photoshop, AfterEffects can be found here with which you can design a great deal designs that Top companies want for their daily promotional activities online and offline. Also, you can produce marketing collaterals such as flyers and banners etc.
If you can master Adobe suite you are the master of all trades in design and video making. With Adobe suite you can create everything from marketing collaterals such as flyers, banners, company logos, business cards to social posts, infographics to website designs and app designs.
Graphic designers and visual designers are very much demand now as everyone leveraging the power of social media promotion through compelling video and infographics designs.
Bonus tool: Onlinelogomaker if you are looking to make a logo in minutes without learning Photoshop or CorelDraw.
Google Images, Pixabay, and Freepik
You can get Quality High definition free images and license free images available on Pixabay and Unsplash. However, for inspiration and random images you can bank on Google Images. [Try filtering Images using tool button labeled as free to reuse with modification]
You can create stunning Vector images and icons using Freepik that will be useful as part of your company marketing and brand promotions. Most of the work in our startup that my design team produced is from the above-said resources.
Feel free to contact me over email so that I can help you set up and guide you to use all the tools mentioned here to improve your startup productivity, efficiency, creating quality content, and website optimization etc.
Product Development Team (Website development)
To build a professional looking website for your startup it hardly takes 3 days (including customization) and you can learn how to build a WordPress website from the internet as there are some quality and step by step guides to help you such as this video tutorial.
They also provide free WordPress installation services and make your startup journey simple if required. (Learn all by you because you will find helpful in next phase of your startup journey)
Another one from Harsh Agarwal:
How to build a website/blog in 5 minutes.
You will be Surprised to Know:
“28% of the web uses WordPress i.e a total of more than 24 million active WordPress sites on the web. , from hobby blogs to the biggest news sites online”
as mentioned on WordPress Official Website. Simply because it is free and has large community support, there are tons of plug-in and info to help you out with SEO, Social tools etc.
For building product Landing page without spending any money on a domain name and hosting you can use Instapage and Wix. However, you will not have your own hosting name or brand.
If you want to build an online e-commerce platform to sell products online and want to start in a jiffy without wasting time on product development (a good 2 months for e-commerce platform) you can always choose Shopify. A great way to start selling online if you had done some ground work and already have a list of customers who are ready to pay for your niche products or designs.
Shopify comes with a basic price attached to it and provides a free SSL certificate required for online e-commerce business, 24/7 support and free storage. You can try it for free for a period of 14 days without giving away any credit card details.
You can also look into PHP, Magento, Woocomerce if you are serious about building a product of your own and have good knowledge and enjoy coding. To start with you just need a basic product (website) which solves the real problem of the customer.
Don’t start building a perfect product
“Done is better than Perfect”
– Mark Zuckerberg
“A Successful product is never done or perfect”
– Geoff from Facebook Product Team will tell you the importance of getting things done rather than looking for the perfect product a beta or prototype product is fine.
Here, are screenshots of two great go to websites for all people around the world who hang out day in and out. Both focused on solving one problem that they choose without worrying about perfection. Perfection comes once you roll out and start focusing on customer needs.
At this stage connecting with partners and users and making money is what you need to focus. You can always build cool and great looking product once you start making money with initial users.
With my first startup, I focused too much on perfection and adding more features to the product rather than knowing the customer feedback and solving a customer problem and thus failed miserably.
Digital Marketing Profile (Social Media and Online Marketing)
Start exploring how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram social channels to promote your business.
For the first few years focusing on one or two social channels will help you do better. Choose one channel according to your Industry if you are an educational and professional B2B product/services use LinkedIn and if you are product falls into food or fashion than use Instagram.
If you are Startup is focusing on Indian consumers you cannot ignore Facebook.
Scheduling posts and tracking your social channels Buffer is best and it is free for everyone and forever. Most top companies in Silicon Valley and startups across the globe uses Buffer for their Social Media Marketing.
You can also try HootSuite to schedule social posts in the initial days of Social Media Marketing. As HootSuite tool allows you to manage all social accounts at one place. It also has a great dashboard where you can measure the performance using real-time analytics to spot the trends and to make better decisions to reach users.
We saved at least 30 minutes of our time and tweaking posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by scheduling the posts for important days and weekends to spread the word according to our user’s behavior and time patterns using HootSuite.
You can also sign up for SocialPilot free account for online marketing efficiency and to save time which is very easy to set up and has great analytics dashboard and support system.
It is always a good idea to experiment with two or three free tools and decide which one is the comfort and also works well for you.
For Email Marketing
Customer acquisition and building supporters and fans are easy and cheap with email marketing. The conversion rate is great compared to any other marketing channels using email marketing.
Email marketing is an easy, effective and cheap marketing strategy for start-ups who do not have high marketing spends on traditional marketing such as TV ads, radio newspaper etc.
Personalizing email is the way to go and the big brands and new startups are focusing on personalization. Brands like Ola, Uber, Exotel, Paytm etc are using this emotional personalization trick in their email campaigns and succeeding.
With email marketing, you can direct a customer to your cart page or required page and get sales or important actions using CTA (call to action) buttons inside an email.
Here, is how some brands trying to achieve this by placing CTA buttons in an email sent to a customer.
You can try some of the best tools out there to improve lead generation, building subscribed users list and sending them newsletters, valuable content and manage email campaigns with latest free tools such as Hellobar, OptinChat.
MailChimp and CampaignMonitor provide email templates and all other required Analytics, reports etc for executing your Business Email Marketing Strategy.
I am using MailChimp and Mailerlite for collecting emails from FreshersBuddy users. You can also notice that I am building my email list with OptinChat and Sumo (a WordPress Plug-in) conversion tools.
Market Research and Survey Tools
Survey Monkey and Google Forms
Research and Initial Product Market fit can be gathered by speaking to your network and friends and some industry leaders and professionals.
The best way to build a successful business is talking to customers and getting feedback and implementing them in your startup from day one. (From the day you had the idea and decided to start Business).
You can validate initial assumptions and get real insights of your product prototype and can collect useful information and data such as user interests, needs and wants, pricing and product acceptance, from potential customers.
You will always get a great insight and product market fits talking to these people. You can further talk to different people or simply ask them to tell their opinions and feedback using online survey tools such as Survey Monkey
Data collection and feedback can be analyzed and summarized using these tools. Most of the companies use these tools not only to get the initial feedback but also to build an initial customer base and a community for their products/services.
Define what you want to survey what output you want from survey sample. Include questions on user preferences, interests, pricing and decision making details. List them and shoot a survey. It is a good idea to start Building email list using Hellobar and other subscription or mail collecting tools such as OptinChat. Build your contacts and use them to spread the word of you Product/Services.
I even use online survey tools and Facebook pools to decide on what topic I have to write a blog post for FreshersBuddy.
Content development and Marketing
For, Content development, ideas use Feedly, Google Trends, Industry Magazines and other Q and A Forums, Wikipedia etc.
You can get answers from whatever questions you have regarding your market industry, business models, income generation and anything on Quora.
I simply search for questions on my interest topics, problems of my target users, industry related information and develop Content Ideas from there.
Trending topics of my niche, newspaper headlines, blog post titles of my reading interests, my own problems in the past, questions asked on the Internet, Forums and Startup Networks and Events gives me a starting point and then I recollect, brainstorm, put it on a paper and make a draft of Content that I want to share.
Proof read and check spelling and grammar mistakes of your content on the website/email and blog before you hit the publish button. Just install Grammarly Google Chrome extension and you are done. Grammarly highlights and gives suggestion to improve your content presentation to users.
Bonus tip: look at the competitive websites, apps, social channels and blog for some ideas and inspiration and about what right they are doing to promote their services.
Organizing and Productive Tools
You can effectively communicate with your team members and at the same time be organized with the productivity and collaboration tools available on the internet for free.
To start with in early days you might not need any of these tools as you and your small team (very focused) can communicate all your daily activities in person or by using regular social channels Whatsapp and Gmail etc.
Once you start growing your business than you start building your team and working with the remote team or may be with freelancers to match business requirements.
At this point in time, you might depend upon the productivity tools such as Asana, Trello, and Slack.
It is always a good idea to start exploring and get used to these tools and benefit from the powerful features they provide.
Also, save time and improve organization efficiency from your early days.
Creating and managing projects/tasks is easy and efficient for your team. Also, you can track the project status and share all kinds of files to collaborate and complete the projects.
At the beginning of your startup journey, you only need to focus on basic SEO and do not rush to fix everything from day one. SEO is long term game. Try to read as much as you can from Industry leaders such as SEO MOZ, Quick Sprout, and Backlinko websites.
Focus on great web design, A/B testing and split testing and optimizing images and other SEO required essentials such as website Title, Tags, ALT tags etc. (Do not panic on the information available on internet regarding SEO. You can find it easy and simple once you start understanding how the Google Search engine works)
Read great articles, blogs, youtube videos and SEO guides from the above-mentioned Industry leaders SEO MOZ, Quick Sprout and Backlinko.
Use Google Keyword Planner, Google Console, Google Analytics, SEMrush and other tools to become familiar with SEO for the first 6 months of your startup journey.
I personally love Yoast SEO plug-in. If your website is built on WordPress you are all set with basics of SEO.
You have the most powerful and simple WordPress plug-in to help you regarding SEO (learn it is the most important tool ever built for Internet Business particularly for Small business, local business and Startups.) Here is a great video by Ferdy Korpershoek that might help you understand how to build SEO friendly content and use the Yoast SEO plug-in.
Helps you find out from what sources visitors are coming to your website and what are the best ways to attract them and missing links to focus on your web traffic.
Google Analytics is a great analytical tool coupled with Google Tags and Google Keyword planner (now Google Ad Words).
If you are using WordPress powered website for your online business than it is easy to use Sumo (formerly known as SumoMe) as this is a great tool for growing an email list or increasing website traffic and find some extra social shares to boost your online presence.
I was never comfortable with the Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Social media and Website Analytics part until I discovered great blog resources from Brian Dean, Neil Patel, and Deepak Kanakaraju.
I was the same guy like you who spent more than 2 years on the internet browsing the articles, videos and other related topics to help me understand all Online Marketing, Digital Marketing and SEO stuff in my early Startup Days.
Team Communication (Productivity Tools)
For a quick chat and video call and talking to a remote team or your co-founder who might work from another place that is different from you. Sharing screen shots and conference calls made easy with Skype and most of the Startups and freelancers use Skype for collaborating on a project or a campaign.
You are very familiar and use Whatsapp in everyday life for sharing photos and text but companies also use them for collaboration and sharing, communicating and completing tasks by chatting, sharing and getting feedback with in internal teams.
With Whatsapp web, I save time as my team shares files such as design images, documents to get feedback and inputs. This way it is easy and fast for us to complete tasks. Gone are those days of using pen drives and other devices to share content, images, and information.
We use Skype, Google chat, Google Drive and Whatsapp at our startup. We share designs and give feedback and make enhancements using the feedback we collect through these everyday social tools.
With Evernote, you can capture the notes (a text file, image, audio, sketch etc.) The same note can be accessed instantly on all of your connected devices. With the tool, I share some notes with my co-founder and other team members to get feedback, inputs and add some extra info before we plan any campaign or get ready for a meeting.
Google Drive is the ultimate productivity tool that helps to share of any files in the cloud (images, audio files, presentations, videos, large files that cannot be sent through Gmail, excel sheets) editing, commenting on the works done by team members is so simple and easy. You also get free 15GB data storage space and can be accessed from any device if you have the internet.
For Sales and Marketing
Daily sales reports, weekly and quarterly reports and sales follow up and contact list details can be nicely reported in Excel. Financial projects and any spreadsheet related to numbers and calculations can be made using Excel (you might be familiar and used in college projects).
Mock Designs, presentations product demos and app screens and live demo product pages will be helpful in sales. You can make some cool presentations using Prezi and PowerPoint.
For Multimedia (Video Editing)
Gone are the days where text as a form of information consumption by readers. Now many companies are focusing on developing shareable content through images, infographics, and videos.
Videos are popular now with the introduction of Facebook videos, SnapChat and Instagram story telling options among the millennials.
It is easy to connect with the audience or your target customers with a beautiful story captured in a short video.
You can see more sponsor videos and brand promotional videos on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube reaching out to target users on the Internet.
Every brand or startup out there started making most out of the video content. So, you have to be ready and should learn the art of making videos. One viral video is equal to tons of marketing budget value which bring more customers to your website and convert them to pay for your services. Many startups with their innovative and creative ideas encased in the power of videos.
The following tools help you to make some great video content and viral content that will help you capture user base.
Pardeep Goyal an entrepreneur and story teller explained in detail how to make stand out viral video using emotional connection by sharing useful tips to target users in this article on YourStory.
You can make such videos to boost your web traffic and get some sales leads with following Powtoon and Adobe after effects video tools available for free.
By producing great Video explainers with these tools you might explain your product in a simple way to your target user so that they start connecting with you and make buying decisions.
For Customer Support
Live chats and customer support 24/7 is made simple using the Zendesk tool with which you can now respond to users who come to your website and enquire about your product services or have a lead and wanted to do business with you.
You can respond to your customer FAQ’s on the go with the Zendesk app where you get alerts every time when you have a query on a desktop. You also have a luxury of analytics and insights of user’s interactions on their dashboard.
We are presently using this customer tool on our Startup Landing page. I myself handle customer live chat support from my mobile using Zendesk app.
We also use Exotel, a cloud based telephony system for better Customer Service.
Exotel has great startup free plans and one of the leading startup business recognized by the Industry.
Bonus: Use Facebook or Twitter as a customer support platforms. Also, try Facebook chat bot rolled out recently.
Fiddle | Business Model Canvas
You can use Fiddle online tool to be clear on your business model, value proposition, lean model, product canvas etc. Fill these details and be true to yourself and explore the power of focusing on these key points presented in the Fiddle.
A sample business model canvas generated for Skype using Fiddle Software Tool
By filling in the details you will understand your product well and will focus on the important things in your startup journey. (Hint: fill for yourself, be honest and check yourself if everything you fill is going to help you find your startup success)
There are so many other tools which are available for free and are a great help to startup founders like you.
Now, you need to take some time out and try the tools to experience the benefits of each one.
As you grow your business and start building customers and team you need to focus on investing time and money in various other tools such as Traffic analyzers, Web optimizations, Facebook traffic tools, Twitter ad campaign tools, Lead generations and Conversion tools, AB Testing and social media analytics tools.
All these tools will double or triple your business when used in combination.
Do share your list of tools for Entrepreneurs and first-time founders? If you find this list worthy, do consider and share on Facebook.