The best free and low-cost apps for your startup
Cloud-based apps offer a range of useful functions for startups – from helping you to connect with colleagues and monitoring productivity to keeping track of expenses.
Cloud computing technology has opened up access to leading software packages, making them affordable for even the smallest businesses. And, as an added bonus, many apps also have basic versions available for free.
The major benefit of cloud-based services is that you can access apps from any device, anywhere with an internet connection. There’s no need to download software to each device and you’ll see the same information, whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet or desktop.
The flexibility offered by these low or no cost apps makes them ideal for startups. You pay only for what you need and can add more users as and when you need them.
We’ve rounded up some of the most useful cloud based apps for small businesses:
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 gives you access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook with no physical installation needed. The app allows you to sync email, calendar and contact information with all your devices and hold video and audio meetings. You can collaborate on documents, share reports, create plans and assign project tasks using Microsoft Planner.
Receipt Bank allows you to keep track and input receipts on the go. Speed up the traditional method of physically keeping receipts until the end of the month, then manually entering details into a spreadsheet. Instead, just send photograph receipts as you go from your smartphone and they’re stored securely in the cloud. Expense details can be published to a cloud accounting package such as Xero.
Skype gives you free sound and video calls. You can use these to arrange quick meetings or conferences with colleagues or suppliers in the UK or overseas. Skype can be used on your phone, computer or TV – you’ll just need a microphone and webcam for video calls. You can also use Skype to call mobile or landline numbers for a fee.
Google Analytics gives business owners using web marketing vital insights into the behaviour of their site visitors. This free service collects site data so you can find out how popular your new content is, how much traffic your latest promotion is driving and which tweets and blog posts are most popular with customers.
Hootsuite helps you manage your social media activity on one dashboard. You can schedule messages for future publishing, use analytics to see how your tweets, blogs and posts are being received and monitor what’s being said about your brand.
Dropbox can help you organise and store documents in one place. It’s useful for sharing documents, images or presentations with other users. There’s no need to send, detach and file attachments – simply file them in Dropbox then share the link with permitted users.