When starting up a business, there are plenty of tools that can help you along the way. Whether for communication, planning, marketing or gaining insights, there are hundreds of free tools out there for you to try.

Here are five free tools that your start-up should be using…

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1. Slack

Slack is a great tool for internal communications throughout your team. Similar to Skype for Business (a useful tool for external communications, too), Slack saves users from spending time scrolling through endless streams of emails, thanks to its search functionalities and department ‘channel’ chat logs.

Basic features are available for free, including archives of up to 10,000 messages and 5GB of file storage. For increased functionality – useful for businesses once they begin to grow – there is a small charge per person per month but, as a free tool, you can try before you buy!

2. Hootsuite

If you’re using social media (or you’re planning to), Hootsuite is a fantastic tool to start off with. From publishing to analytics to engaging with your fans, Hootsuite is a convenient way to manage all your social platforms from a single, dedicated area.

The free functionality allows you to manage three channels, gives access to basic analytics and content scheduling and, as a little added extra, provides free courses to help you get to grips with social media for business if this is new to you.

3. Trello

When starting a business, you often have 101 different mini-projects going on at once. It can be easy for things to get pushed under the rug and forgotten about, but not with Trello! Trello is a free tool that’s perfect for helping you to manage projects.

At its foundation is the ability to have a number of boards with different ‘lists’ that contain sticky notes. For instance, each board could be a department (a board for Sales, Marketing, etc.), each list could be for a task’s status (i.e. Not Started, Started, Complete) and each sticky note could be an individual task (such as “Pay invoices for October”). You can assign tasks to other people within your organisation, or even encourage employees within your start-up to use it to keep on top of their daily tasks. Assign deadlines and a priority status and Trello will help you to manage your time effectively.

4. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools a business can access. Almost all businesses have a website and it’s important to understand how it’s performing and how your customers are using it.

Google Analytics is free and there is even comprehensive training online, helping you to understand insights in order to turn them into actions. It helps you to grow your audience by getting to know who’s looking at your site, where your visitors are coming from and the keywords that have brought them there (helpful if you use Google’s AdWords to advertise). It also helps you to improve conversions on your site. All for free!

5. Typeform

It probably comes as no surprise, but your typical customer finds online forms and surveys quite unexciting. They’re often necessary for business though, and the value you get from them can be astronomical. Why not make the experience a whole lot better for your customers and wider audience by using Typeform to create more engaging experiences?

Typeform was designed to provide a great user experience (and it’s succeeded!). The benefit you’ll see is that the more focused and engaged a user is, the more likely they are to provide insightful, accurate information and go on to complete the form or survey.

There is a free plan to create an unlimited number of ‘typeforms’ but with limited features so, if you like using Typeform or need some more advanced features, upgrade to its Pro package.

There are countless tools out there for you to use and these are only a few of the best.

What’s the best free tool that you’ve used as a start-up? Tweet us @OregaCentres and let us know!