Startup Software and Tools
Why Use Startup Tools?
Launching your own startup isn’t easy — nor is it cheap. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, free or low-cost startup tools to help you start or maintain your business sounds like music to your ears. Startup tools help almost every aspect of business ownership, from naming your startup to doing market research.
Benefits of Startup Tools
- Budget-Friendly: Using affordable startup tools can save you valuable resources that you may have used by hiring a professional.
- Increase Productivity: With startup software and tools, communication and task completion is the priority. This means easier project management and more important goals reached.
- Save Time: Time management is one of the most important aspects of startup ownership, and these tools can save you time and energy, keeping your startup well-managed and organized.
Best Startup Software and Tools (Free and Low Cost)
1. TRUiC Business Ideas Generator
If you’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit and a general interest in creating a business, choosing a business idea is easy using the TRUiC Business Ideas Generator. This is a free tool that allows users to refine their interests into a buildable startup idea.
2. TRUiC Business Name Generator
If you’ve already got your business idea squared away, your next step is to choose a business name. Deciding on the right name for your startup is important and can be a lengthy, difficult process. With the TRUiC Business Name Generator, you are provided with unique names for your startup based on the industry and general information. The best part, it’s free!
3. Google Docs
Within the extensive resources offered by Google, Google Docs is the way to go for assistance brainstorming. This free platform operates as a blank document with optional templates, automatic saving, and unlimited shareability among team members. Additionally, Google Docs has plenty easy to use privacy settings for your own brainstorms.
Create notes and develop mind maps on your own or collaboratively with Coggle’s brainstorming platform that makes working easy as an individual or as a team. Coggle is free to start, and if you find it’s not your cup of tea, you have unlimited diagrams that you can refer back to even if you cancel your subscription.
Pricing: Free - $8/month
Startup Planning Tools
5. TRUiC Business Plan Generator
Your startup’s business plan is the roadmap to the steps needed to achieve important business milestones, and it’s absolutely necessary. Fortunately, with the TRUiC Business Plan Generator, you can easily craft a business plan to outline the first three to five years of your business’s life cycle cost-free.
LivePlan is kind of a catch-all platform that allows you to create a business pitch, make a budget and business forecast, and compare your numbers with competitors all on one platform. Not to mention, you can connect the app with other business tools such as Quickbooks or Xero to easily manage your startup’s finances and oversee budgets with the LivePlan dashboard.
Pricing: $15/month - $20/month
Leanstack is the industry leader for lean startup tools. From business planning to mentorship, Leanstack provides startup entrepreneurs with the tools to develop a plan for a sustainable business model that is primed for rapid growth.
Pricing: Free - $120/month
Market Research Tools
Market research is a crucial part of improving customer satisfaction and growing your startup. SurveyMonkey makes distributing surveys to customers and employees super simple so that you can gain the invaluable information they have to provide.
Pricing: $25/user/month - $75/user/month
9. SBA Learning Center
With an extensive collection of tools to plan, launch, manage, market, and grow startups — the Small Business Administration (SBA) Learning Center offers entrepreneurs the resources to achieve their goals through actionable objectives. Better yet, the SBA Learning Center also provides state-specific information to help business owners launch startups without missing crucial state legal requirements.
Mentorship is a valuable tool for new business owners. With SCORE, you can find mentors remotely as well as take online business courses and participate in webinars to help propel your business forward. SCORE boasts the nation’s largest network of business experts to provide entrepreneurs the educational tools to help launch and grow a startup.
SBDCNet provides valuable information for entrepreneurs on everything from industry reports to conducting market research to industry-specific resources. For entrepreneurs that are just starting out, SBDCNet also provides an extensive list of reports of small business ideas that will help you gauge the potential success of your startup idea.
Every business owner knows that communication is key to operating a successful business. With Slack, communicating within your team is quick, easy, and intuitive. Unlike communicating through email, users use instant messaging to chat with individual team members, public channels, and organized private groups. Additionally, you can add an unlimited number of members to keep communication strong as your startup grows.
Pricing: Free - $12.50/user/month
13. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams comprises all of the tools startups need to communicate with team members, including video conferencing and instant-messaging tools. The perks don’t stop there; however, Microsoft Teams also allows in-app document editing with Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, allowing you and your team to seamlessly brainstorm and complete important projects.
Pricing: Free - $20/user/month
Kixie is a Voice Over IP System that is available on a pay-per-user basis so that you are only paying for the services your startup needs. Kixie’s services can be used on desk phones, mobile devices, and desktop applications with detailed reporting through their customer relationship management (CRM) service.
Pricing: $29/month - Custom pricing
Startup Funding Tools
Foundersuite is a platform that offers entrepreneurs a litany of tools to find, manage, and receive funding for their startup. Their CRM tool allows users to organize investor funnels, develop a venture capital database, and includes a Investor Updater tool that provides monthly reporting.
Pricing: Free - $150/month
Gust offers funding opportunities and tools to start, grow, and fund startups. The focus of the platform is to provide tools that help to build a sustainable startup model that is geared for success. Once you’re ready to launch your startup, Gust provides you with funding sources tailored to you, giving you the best shot at raising the necessary funds.
Pricing: $300/year - $3,000/year
Indiegogo is a budget-friendly crowdfunding site for startups that focuses on four stages of the startup process: concept, prototype, production, and shipping. Entrepreneurs can submit a story about their business goals and concept to gain funding from people online. The focus of this site is on innovative entrepreneurs and technology developers.
Pricing: Free - 5% platform fees
Startup Networking Tools
LinkedIn is a networking app and website used by business professionals worldwide to build communities that can support a startup’s success. Not only does LinkedIn help connect you with fellow entrepreneurs, but it can also be used to find, vet, and communicate with potential new hires.
Pricing: Free or LinkedIn Premium Business: $59.99/month
Shapr takes the concept of a networking app and expands it to include a litany of business communication resources. On Shapr, entrepreneurs can network with other business owners, find potential employees, raise funds, and find impactful mentors all on one easy-to-use platform. The best part, Shapr was created with startups in mind and focuses on helping startup entrepreneurs create strong business networks.
Pricing: Free - $99.99
CoFoundersLab is a networking app that connects entrepreneurs to create startups together based on compatibility. The platform boasts a community of roughly 400,000 users to network and connect with as well as business resources and mentorship classes.
Pricing: Free - $19.99/month
21. Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is a three-day event for entrepreneurs to engage with other creators, connect with experienced entrepreneurs, and learn about launching a startup. This event aims to give aspiring entrepreneurs an immersive look into what starting and operating a startup is like.
Pricing: Varies depending on the event
Accounting Software and Payroll Software
Effective accounting is crucial to the financial health of any business. Quickbooks provides accounting software to track sales and expenses, view profit and loss reports, pay employees, and examine financial statements. With Quickbooks’ easy-to-use dashboard, all these features are intuitive and easily accessible, which makes accounting and bookkeeping for your startup easier than ever before.
Pricing: $7.50/month - $75/month
ADP is a business management app that makes payroll, recruiting, time management, and HR services easy using one user-friendly platform. If you aren’t sure that you’ll need all of the services ADP has to offer, however, you can also choose the ones you need and leave the rest so that you aren’t paying for any services you don’t need.
Pricing: Varies depending on business needs
Gusto makes management employees a breeze with tools to issue payroll as well as onboarding and HR services. You can even file and report payroll taxes at both the state and federal levels. Everything you need to manage team members is easily done with this full-service app that is loaded with helpful features.
Pricing: Starts at $39 plus $6 per person per month
25. TRUiC Logo Maker
A startup’s logo is used on everything from business cards to signage; therefore, having a well-crafted logo is crucial to branding the business. Using the TRUiC Logo Maker, you can design a logo of your own with the easy-to-use generator that asks only a few simple questions to provide you with a logo that represents your startup’s brand.
26. Adobe Creative Cloud
Design, create, and manage your startup’s projects on one simple platform, Adobe Creative Cloud. With an extensive list of included features such as Adobe stock images, Typekit, Behance, and more, the Adobe Creative Cloud provides startups with a space to complete, share, and sync creative projects seamlessly.
Pricing: For businesses, $33.99/month - $79.99/month
Bring your startup’s dream to life with Canva, a design app that makes collaborating on creative projects with your team members simple and enjoyable. Canva is equipped with custom templates and designs as well as features to easily share and print designs professionally. Not to mention, you can pay absolutely nothing while still accessing design tools and over 250,000 templates.
Pricing: Free - $30/month/person
Startup Marketing Tools
Hootsuite is a social media marketing app that gives entrepreneurs the tools to create an effective social media marketing strategy on one easy-to-use platform. Depending on the plan you choose, you can keep 5 to 35 of your social media platforms on the Hootsuite app to manage and monitor your accounts.
Pricing: $25/month - $599/month
A successful email marketing campaign can drive site traffic and grow your customer base. Mailchimp makes creating an effective email marketing campaign a breeze by providing tools to grow and manage mailing lists, view audience data, and more. Not to mention, users can design custom email templates to align with their branding.
Pricing: Free - $299/month
30. Yelp for Business
Every day, consumers turn to Yelp to review and research businesses. With Yelp for Business, you can communicate with these users, update your profile to include important information about your business, and utilize helpful analytics to develop advertisements that appeal to new customers.
Pricing: Free - Varied pricing depending on business needs
Having a website for your startup is great, but with more and more people searching the web through their mobile devices, a website builder like Wix that helps you create a website that is mobile friendly is key. With Wix, you can design, manage, and optimize your website for growth using their custom SEO plans to boost site traffic and reach new customers.
Pricing: $14/month - $39/month
Unlike many other website builders, Weebly offers users the opportunity to create a free website with features you can upgrade to as your startup grows. For ecommerce startups, Weebly’s built-in Square software makes selling, marketing, and processing orders seamless.
Pricing: Free - $26/month
GoDaddy is basically a one-stop-shop for your website building needs. Not only does the platform host websites, but you are also able to design unique, mobile-friendly websites that include marketing features as well as manage reviews and social media. If you’re hoping to keep all of your startup’s online platforms organized into one space, GoDaddy has some great options for you.
Pricing: Free - $24.99/month
Award-winning, user-friendly design is the hallmark of Squarespace. Users can design their website for free using their two-week free trial and upgrade the site as they go to include premium marketing features. Squarespace works for a range of startup types, whether you’re selling and marketing goods or scheduling appointments — their a la carte style allows you to choose what your startup website needs and leave the rest.
Pricing: $12/month - $40/month
One of the most popular website builders, WordPress provides a platform for website design that suits a litany of startup types and budgets. With over 54,000 plugin tools, from analytics to ecommerce, you can absolutely create a website that meets your startup’s needs on WordPress.
Pricing: Free - $45/month
Project Management Software
Managing your startup’s projects is made much easier with software that prioritizes communication and organization. Fortunately, Monday, the project management app, is all of these things. Create projects, add tasks, outline steps, and give instruction to team members while tracking the status of projects using this app's handy platform.
Pricing: Varies depending on business needs
With Asana, productivity is the number one priority. The project management app helps startups streamline workflow by making organizing projects easy. Team members can communicate project stats, create projects, solidify timelines, and outline necessary steps all on Asana’s platform.
Pricing: Free - $24.99/user/month
Organizers, this app is for you. Trello is an app dedicated to making project management and organization simple with in-app due dates, calendar commands, and more. Better yet, you can link Trello with other useful apps such as Dropbox and Google Docs to streamline the project management process even further.
Pricing: Free - Varied pricing depending on business needs
Legal Tools for Startups
39. TRUiC’s LLC Legal Forms
When you’re starting or operating a business, it’s important to ensure you have met all legal requirements. With TRUiC’s LLC Legal Forms, entrepreneurs have access to the necessary forms to start an LLC without paying an arm and a leg. However, in addition to this, we also encourage readers to consult an attorney to ensure all legal requirements are satisfied.
40. Rocket Lawyer New Business Bundle
It’s not a secret that hiring an attorney isn’t exactly budget-friendly. However, it’s common for startups to require ongoing legal services, which can cost a hefty percentage of your budget. Rocket Lawyer provides a discount rate to form an LLC that includes incorporation service, one year of registered agent service, and a full year of legal services at half the price.
Pricing: $349.99 + State Fee
Startup Productivity Tools
41. Google Workspace
Google Workspace is the full Google package, including every tool offered such as Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites. So, basically all of the Google office tools your startup needs, including a custom business email account. For teams that could use a little help collaborating, productivity is optimized by having all business tools in one place.
Pricing: $6/user/month - $18/user/month
Do you depend on a well-crafted to-do list to manage your team’s projects? If yes, OmniFocus is the productivity app for you. With a focus on time management and organization, OmniFocus helps startups and their team members stay on top of important tasks and get things done.
Pricing: Starts at $49.99
The internet is a super useful tool, but it’s also the host of several work distractions such as social media and news. RescueTime helps users manage their time via detailed reporting about screen time, such as the site and applications used and the time spent on each. Based on these findings, you can set time limits for apps and websites or even restrict them to keep you on task.
Pricing: $78/year or $12/month
Another app that is best suited for dedicated to-do list makers, Todoist does just that. Create to-do lists to organize projects and tasks to keep productivity high and organization steady. You can also add tasks to the calendar, delegate tasks, discuss and track projects, and more on Todoist’s easy-to-use platform.
Pricing: Free - $5/user/month
Are you thinking of hiring freelancers for your startup? Upwork makes finding contractors in almost every field — from web design to copywriting — super simple. With their rating and reference system, you can feel confident about your short-term hires by diving into their skill level, background, and reviews from other clients.
Pricing: Free - $849/month
Find the writers your startup needs with WriterAccess, a platform that helps businesses source freelance content creators through casting calls, AI-powered matching software, and advanced search tools. Even the vetting process is easy, with star ratings and customer reviews to muse over before hiring a new writer.
Pricing: $39/month - $99/month
Fiverr is a freelance service platform that makes hiring contractors more affordable with projects starting at $5 a job. On Fiverr, you can find freelancers in a variety of fields. Whether you are looking for drop shippers or web developers, Fiverr’s proven business experience and customer success management will make you feel confident hiring from their app.
Pricing: Starts at $5/job