10 free resources for aspiring entrepreneurs 

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you might be slightly tied up with resources. Manpower and capital may not be something you get in abundance. But fret not! With technologies and smart solutions in place, there are free resources for you to tap on to efficiently run your start-up!

We have categorized some resources you can tapped on based on categories for easy referencing as shown below:

1. Marketing

One of the most important part of a start-up is just getting your name out! Being the new kid on the block, you have to communicate your presence in the industry and that is done through marketing!

One software you can tap on for content marketing is a software called Coschedule which analyzes your article’s headline and scores and feedbacks to increase traffic to your articles. Content marketing plays a huge role for businesses in the age of digital media. It places you on search engines and improves your company’s visibility on the world wide web. Thus having a tool that improves the quality of your content is definitely a bonus.

Another common problem marketers face is in the area of copywriting. It is difficult to concise the large information they want to convey to customers in less than 3 lines for easy reading on social media. Also picking the right words for your social media posts can prove to be harder than it seems. Freesummarizer solves that exact problem! It is clearly designed with start-ups in mind and they summarize text in just a few seconds. Talk about efficiency!

2. Design

For design noobs that have no idea what they’re doing on Adobe photoshop or illustrator, Microsoft’s Powerpoint is still the go-to place for your design needs. Its in-house shapes and smart art features makes it easy for you to create simple templates for your fund-raising presentations or just creating basic graphics for your blog article.
If you want some pictures, but do not want to buy them, Freepik and Pexels have a large photo database at your disposal. They have easy-to-use vectors and stock photos that are easily editable. If you pay slightly more, you’ll be able to access a wider storage of photos and professionally design infographic vectors. Say goodbye to hours spent filtering through google photos!

Canva is also a wonderful application to go to for designing your infographics! It has hundreds of templates for you to choose on and have different filters and other features for any occasion or business context.


3. Sourcing for vendors:

Getting vendors for your business can be really challenging for a newcomer in the industry. The main advice I would give to entrepreneurs is to build your network by going for networking events and exchanging contacts. You might be able to meet some potential vendors who are willing to provide your company with the necessary services.

Extend your contacts too other entrepreneurs, usually they are able to provide some reliable contacts to you as they have been there and are open to help!

However if you still find difficulties in finding a vendor and require more quotes for comparison, try sites like Thunderquote. Thunderquote prides itself as the “Gebiz for businesses” where businesses can get and compare up to 5 vendor quotes for free. This is really helpful for startups as vendor quotations are provided for free, reducing roadblocks and logistical time in searching for one yourself.

4. Branding and Logo creation:

For logo creation, head down to Logaster, a free logo creator that delivers professional standard logos for any context and company. But before you design a logo, you need a company name! Start-ups can try using Naminum, which promises to ease the strain on start-ups in coming up with a company name.

5. Productivity:

When working in small and comfortable settings, people tend to get into relax mode and productivity suffers together with it.

With Evernote, you can keep track of everything note you write easily! Their virtual notebook system allows users to sort their notes into notebooks based on their category. Evernote also understands  human nature in which we often forget stuff we wrote previously. Therefore, they incorporated advanced search features where you can search by date, places and tags and by many other categories.

Another way to ensure productive output is the removal of distractions. Cold turkey as the name suggests allows users to go cold turkey from certain sites such as social media or movie sites such as Netflix. This ensures you remove all temptations aside till you finish your work.

 

6. SEO tools:

One of the go-to SEO tools start-ups swear by is the ubiquitous Google Analytics. Its adwords keyword tool for keyword research provides a great estimate on the average volume of searches for a certain keyword. However if you are not sure of Google’s accuracy and require a secondary opinion, you can use the Keyword Explorer from Moz.

For SEO site tools, try Alexa. Alexa is a good extension to your browser where you can see the Page rank of any page you are browsing immediately and other statistics. There is also a suggestion tab where it provides some useful tips on how to improve the site’s ranking.

 

7. Website creation:

For free website builder sites, the first name that comes up is Wix. Wix has over 500 over templates for users to test on and there is sure to be one for everyone! However, I would advise you to upgrade and pay a little more for premium services. This is because there will be a Wix advertisement on your site and there is limited storage space.

Another website creation site is Squarespace which has lesser templates but are all good and professional looking. However, Squarespace is an exception to the list as it comes at a small cost per month. You could treat it as a long-term investment for the company.
Here are some examples of websites done using Squarespace for some inspiration: http://design-milk.com/beautiful-modern-websites-made-easy/

 

8. Collaboration

When working with teams, you definitely need some organizational and communication tools to prevent communication breakdowns within the company. One collaboration software used by many startups is Trello. Trello is very intuitive as users can make a board and add cards for each task assigned.

In addition, it allows team members to add deadlines and reminders for upcoming projects and allow team members to comment on each card, providing clarity and clear communication within the team. Recently it also rolled out an offline function which allows team members to keep track with each other’s activities even though they have no internet connection.

Dropbox needs no introduction and it is becoming a must-have tool for schools to companies. The cloud file storage software allows users to create shared files for teams and it is easily integrated in all your devices and computers. In addition, it allows users to share documents via copying its links, provides easy access for team members.

9. Bookkeeping and accountancy

GNU cash is a financial tracking software which allows companies to monitor their income and expenses. It also provides the ability to split transactions for more detailed tracking.

It has a very usable interface as it is designed to look like a checkbook-style register. Furthermore, reporting is made simpler with the use of graphics such as pie charts and bar charts.

10. Email

For emails, Mailchimp has a free version which allows users to send up to 12,000 emails and accumulate up to 2,000 email subscribers. Furthermore, it also generates click, open and engagement reports which is useful to track your customer’s responses in your campaigns.

In addition, you will be able to conduct simple surveys or polls through their collaboration with SurveyMonkey. Mailchimp is also integrated to EventBrite which is useful as it will integrate the information from EventBrite to your mail for the invitations.

ThunderQuote is the “Gebiz for businesses” and most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.

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