This post first appeared as a guest post on WATBlog.com.
It is a free world we live in with free access to information (read Internet) and cheap ways that make our lives better. It is now easier and cheaper to start a company from scratch. Open-source tools, free information over the internet (Coursera, Khan Academy) make it super-reasonable for usually near broke entrepreneurs that we become. And we at Musicfellas have taken full advantage of such tools to help build a scalable business without breaking our piggy bank too much.
1. Google Apps
This includes the full rainbow of Google products for your business – Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, Drive. These tools are quite simply some of THE most important tools you would get around to using. And until some time back it used to be free but they have now stopped free signups.
Asana is a project and task management tool which is free upto 30 members – which obviously works well for young startups like ours. Founded by Ex-Co-Founder of Facebook, Asana is super easy to use, very crisp and makes collaboration very easy. And the instant gratification that you see on checking off a task is superb. It has an iOS app as well but it leaves much to be desired.
Trello is our workhorse. It is a completely free project management tool which looks a bit like Kanban Board. It is a great tool to see what tasks are assigned to whom and are in what stage of the development. Best part is that it is transparent and gives you snapshot of your project status in a view. Here’s a look at the Trello team’s board.
I am sure that most of you use it already. If you are not, then you are missing out on a great and free (to an extent) way to share files. Instead of sending out email attachments to everyone, we use it to sync design files between everyone so that everyone knows what is the next thing we are building.
According to a recent study, twitter is much better than facebook for music marketing. And we use twitter quite extensively to seek feature requests from users, inviting new artists on platform and sharing new releases to our fans. But doing it from within the twitter app is a little painful. Hence we use a free tool Tweetdeck which is also owned by twitter. Although there are other tools also available in the market like Hootsuite, Tweetbot, etc. we find Tweetdeck to be most easy to use and good at whatever little things it does.
For the same reason as above, we use Buffer App to stay connected with people. Buffer App is a great free way to schedule your FB/Twitter/etc posts. You can add upto 10 items in each network before which it asks you to pay. This is a great way to share good content with your users without spending too much time worrying about the timing of the post.
I am sure you all use or have used Skype in some form or the other. Nothing much to say here except that for a team like ours, which is spread across different cities, a few skype calls always help – after all emails can only take you so far.
Having a blog presence for your business never hurt anybody. There is no better marketing than sharing your story with your audience. A startup is an interesting journey and there are people who would always be interested in a good honest story told well. And we use tumblr – a free tool to setup our blog. With absolutely zero coding, we have setup a blog and keep sharing good content it.
Building a startup is as much science as it is intuition. And building a company which also takes decisions based on data is the mark of a good entrepreneur. So, apart from google analytics (which is a free tool as well), we use Mixpanel. It gives you information about events on your site very deeply and is free till 25000 data points a month – which can be extended after you put a logo on your site (which we have).
Building a startup is a time, energy and money consuming process. I hope that this post helped you in saving some of the money bit.