Starting a new business is always hard, and starting one in the midst of a downturn will make things even worse. But with the internet and technology developing so quickly, today’s entrepreneurs have a helping hand when it comes to setting up shop.
Courtesy of Inc.com, here are 10 free digital tools to help start-ups survive:
1. Zoho CRM – This customer relationship management software allows businesses to track inventory, sales, customer databases as well as offering customer support combined with sales data. It even syncs calendar, contact and e-mail information with Microsoft Outlook.
2. Dropbox – This program is essentially a virtual hard drive that can sync to your computer when new files are added. The first two gigabytes are free.
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3. Mozy – A cloud computing service that backs up your data.
4. Portable Apps – This download fits easily onto a flash memory drive and contains popular programs such as Open Office and audio-editing program Audacity. No matter what computer you’re working on, you can be sure to have the tools necessary to get to work.
5. oDesk – This program finds remote employees all over the world. Search for a particular job that needs to be done and you’ll find an employee to do it.
6. Google Docs – Create and edit documents that are kept safe on remote servers, no software necessary. You can allow others to access and edit your files as well, allowing employees all over the world to work on a project, such as a spreadsheet.
7. MailChimp – Free mass email client, but you have to pay after the first six emails per month.
8. Fulfillment by Amazon – This system allows you to own your business’s inventory but have it stored in a warehouse owned by Amazon.com.
9. Skype – An online utility allowing video conferencing for free to other Skype users. The system also offers VoIP international calls for rates cheaper than most major telcos on traditional telephone lines.
10. Northwest Centre – This centre gives disabled adults a place to work by handling outsourced inventory and packaging work for other businesses.