Here is a bundle of free business apps that can take your organisation from its bedroom origins to successful business with heavyweight customers. They work for us, so why not give them a try?


Let’s start with the obvious, without which we wouldn’t be here.

The internet

Most of the software used to run the internet remains free in the sense of both "libre" and "gratis". Linux, Apache, MySQL and a whole host of programming languages are all there waiting for you to download, play around with, adapt and sell. Now you can not only stand on the shoulders of giants but commercialise them as well. Thanks TimBL. There are even armies of people trying to make it easy for you. We like https://www.apachefriends.org/download.html

WordPress


The world's most popular content management system powers 75% of all the world's websites. Wordpress is easy to use, free and flexible and if it's good enough for Nasa, it's good enough for us.

Google Docs

A free replacement for Microsoft Office that adds a whole host of great features. Because Google Docs is cloud based many people can all collaborate on a document without having to track different versions or worry about leaving the all important file in the office.

So far, so good, but you need much more than this...

Trello task management

Agile and Lean project management methodologies have quite rightly taken the tech startup world by storm. Trello is a really neat, simple app that allows lots of people to collaborate on a project and discuss, share and assign tasks.
 

Annotate

Any tech startup is going to need some designs and the inevitable rounds of feedback that entails. Save your sanity (and you designer's) and use a tool like Marqueed to provide feedback. It allows you to work remotely, give clear and specific feedback and version/refine your designs effectively.

Toggle

Whether you're tracking the efficiency of a team or working out which client to invoice, you're going to need to work out what people are up to. Toggl is the best tool we've found for this, and it's free.

Loomio

Non-hierarchical businesses grow and innovate faster but making decisions fairly, openly and quickly would be a pain without Loomio a great free tool for facilitating discussions and democracy in the workplace.

FreeAgent/Xero/Kashflow

Not free, unfortunately, but excellent value and pretty much essential for any startup some form of accounting software is a must. When compared to the cost of trying to maintain an excel spreadsheet and generate reports, these tools more than pay for themselves (we use FreeAgent)

Redmine

Redmine looks a bit old school, but is a free alternative to Basecamp and other project management tools. For sharing project documents, discussions, tasks, etc. It has lots of integrations and plugins to make it play nicely with your other tools.
 

Duedil

A great service that allows you to check out the key financial information about your clients, suppliers and competition. Duedil combines Companies House with various other data sources and makes it easy to search.

Harry Robbins is co-founder of tech consultancy Outlandish

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