Free Entrepreneurial Resources and Tools for South African Startups


Jared Kruger

26 May 2019

Reading time: 10 min Featured post | Thought leadership articles
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“Start and grow your business on just $100!”

You’ve probably read headlines like this before. And when you did, there’s a good chance you were thinking that $100 is too little. After all, your business earns ZAR, and you’ve already invested what funds you had into your core business offering.

Still, you know that to focus your time on the tasks that matter most, like sales, suppliers and customer relations, you need help in other departments, like bookkeeping, scheduling and filing. In fact, if you could find startup tools to help you be more productive, improve communication with customers and team members, and make your marketing look swanky, your business would be booming.

So, you scratch your head and wonder, “Where oh where do I find affordable entrepreneurship resources to help me take my business to the next level?”. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Because we’re going to do you one better, and give you a perfectly curated list of FREE tools for startups just like yours.

 

8 Free Entrepreneurial Resources You Need To Know About

This list is based on the feedback of 500 small businesses who said they’d found the golden combination of resources for entrepreneurs. Start at the top. Or, click on the title below that gets you giddy to jump straight to that section.

  1. Bookkeeping and Invoicing Tools
  2. Calendar Management and Scheduling
  3. Customer Relationship Management
  4. File Sharing and Storage
  5. Marketing and Networking
  6. Project Management
  7. Talent Acquisition
  8. Team Communication

 

Bookkeeping and Invoicing Tools

Whether you understand accounting, enjoy accounting, or tense up at the very mention of accounting, keeping your books in order is crucial for the sustainability of your business. Because without a measure of expenditure, or healthy cash flows, you’ll be looking down a dark tunnel of angry suppliers and shrinking profit margins (ouch!).

So, why not give one of these startup tools a go? After all, they’re free.

 

ZipBooks

Features: Unlimited customers, vendors, invoicing and bookkeeping. Accepts credit cards and PayPal. Connect 1 bank account

Review: 4.8

How to use: Quick video overview

Zoho

Features: Up to 5 customers. Time tracking. Customisable invoice templates. Invoice automation.

Review: 4.5

How to use: Quick video overview

 

Calendar Management and Scheduling Tools

Every time you say the words “wow, but time is flying” you get flashbacks of Grandma. But it’s true. In fact, it’s even truer than when Grandma said it. Because today, you’re dealing with smartphones, emails and Whatsapp, too. The problem is that you can’t afford a PA to take care of your calendar. The solution is that you can afford these startup tools

 

Doodle

Features: Syncs with Google Calendar. Customers schedule appointments themselves according to availability in your calendar.

Review: 4.7

How to use: Practical examples

Calendly

Features: Syncs with Google, Outlook, Office 365 and iCloud. Unlimited events. Automated notifications. Personalised event link.  

Review:4.6 

How to use: Video tutorial series

 

Tools for Managing Customer Relationships

Without customers, your business would be little more than a bright idea. And today, keeping customers happy is, well, tough! Competitors are no further than a mouse click away, and your customers know they’ve got choices. So, go ahead and try these tools for entrepreneurs who build strong and loyal customer relationships.

 

MailChimp

Features: Multiple users. Multiple campaigns. Email automation. Integration with WordPress websites, Facebook and Instagram. Landing pages. Reports.  

Review: 4.5

How to use: Guides and tutorials

Hubspot

Features: Personalised email sequences. Email templates. Automated emails. Integration with WordPress, Facebook and Instagram.   

Review: 4.9

How to use: Video tour of Hubspot

File Sharing and Storage Resources

Paper? Who uses paper? Especially when you can have all of your documents conveniently and digitally available on your laptop. But here’s a spanner. What happens when your laptop gets stolen, or your desktop PC decides to retire? Keep your precious documents safely filed with these free resources.

 

Dropbox

Features: File sharing, storage and syncing. Applications for iOS and Android. 2GB storage space. File preview.

Review: 4.5

How to use: User guide

Google Drive

Features: File sharing, storage and syncing. Applications for iOS and Android. Real-time collaboration on the same document. 15GB storage space. File preview.

Review: 4.5

How to use: User guide

 

Marketing Tools and Networking Resources

The words “marketing” and “expensive” go together like fish and chips. Which is why you’ve relied mostly on word of mouth until this point. But there are free ways to create brand awareness for your business, both through marketing and networking. Like these…

 

Facebook

Features: Unlimited free posting to a business page. Open and closed groups to join for networking opportunities. Integrates with Instagram.  

Review: 4.2

How to use: Free courses

Instagram

Features: Unlimited free posting to a business account. Suited to products and visually appealing industries like tourism and fashion. Integrates with Facebook.

Review: 4.7

How to use: Guide to getting started

 

Project Management Tools

You used to use to-do lists. You liked the gratification you felt when you crossed an item off. But then your lists became longer, too long for your notebook. So you started to look for entrepreneurial resources that would make task allocation and tracking simpler. And you found these…

 

Asana

Features: Unlimited projects, tasks and members. Task allocation and tracking. Commenting and file upload. Integration with Google Drive. File attachments up to 20 MB per file. iOS and Android apps. Review: 4.7

How to use: 30-minute demo

Trello

Features: Unlimited projects, tasks and members. Task checklists and deadlines. Commenting and file upload. File attachments up to 20 MB per file. iOS and Android apps.

Review: 4.5

How to use: Trello 101

 

Resources for Finding Talent

Finding new talent to join your team and share your passion is one of the most difficult parts of being a startup owner. But it’s also a necessity if your business is going to grow. And you know this. Which is why you’ve looked into recruitment agencies (and then fainted at the thought of a 15% placement commission). So maybe it’s time to try these free resources instead?

LinkedIn

Features: Actively search profiles in specific industries and roles. Post job advertisements to your personal and business profiles.

Review: 4.4

How to use: Guide to LinkedIn

 

Team Communication Tools

We live in the digital age, which has huge advantages for entrepreneurs like yourself. One of the best, perhaps, is that you can have a bustling startup and a team of employees, without needing to have an office. With the help of communication tools like these, being remote has no effect on being productive or collaborative. Maybe it’s time you check them out?

Slack

Features: Messages and tagging. Shared channels across workspaces. Google Drive and Asana integration. File upload and previewing.

Review: 4.5

How to use: Slack Tutorial

 

Over To You

Running a startup will always be tough, and you’ll always need a special amount of grit and resilience. But your daily experience can be less tough. Because, like having a good team member, having the right entrepreneurial tools on your side will make all the difference to your startup success.

The list of tools available today is infinite, and every entrepreneur tends to find their own perfect combination. Let your fellow entrepreneurs know what works for you in the comments below.


2 Comments

Chris

Super helpful article! Thanks for these tools :) I use a lot of them already, but keen to check out Calendly.

Reply to Chris

Why Entrepreneurship is the Key to Unlocking South Africa's Economic Potential – Startup School

[…] may appear that the existence of such a gap is strange, since there is a significant array of online resources that have been created to provide entrepreneurial support. However, this information is often […]

Reply to Why Entrepreneurship is the Key to Unlocking South Africa's Economic Potential - Startup School

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