Founder'ssimple.Capital(blog)Important tools for founders to consider when getting started

August 11, 20210

As the founder of a new venture, you’re not lacking in ideas but are potentially in resources and capacity. The tools you harness to equip yourself and your tight-knit start-up team will be critical to success and scaling.

24 simple digital office tools to get you started 

Intuitive, easy-to-use software will enable you to sustain your lean business model until you can build your teams.

Financial tools

Xero Accounting software that gives you insights for future planning Starter: $20 p/month

Standard: $30 p/month

Premium: $40 p/month 

Monzo Banking made easy with a digital bank Pro account is £5 p/month
Waveapp Reputable Cloud software and apps to manage business finances Free plan
SimplePay Payroll system R500 p/month for up to 50 employees

Design and marketing tools

Canva Design anything in minutes Free plan

Pro: (between $12.99 for 1 licence and $110.85 for 15 licences)

Subly Automatic subtitles for your videos Free plan

Pro: $10 p/month

Premium: $69 p/month

Figma Cloud-based design and prototyping tool for digital projects Free plan

Professional: $12 p/editor/month

Organisation: $45 p/editor/month

Typeform Online form building and online surveys Free plan

Basic: $25 p/month

Plus: $50 p/month

Business: $83 p/month

Mailchimp 360-platform to promote your business with email, social media, landing pages and digital postcards Free (for up to 2 000 contacts with limited functionality)

Essentials: $9.99 p/month (500 contacts)

Standard: $14.99 p/month (500 contacts)

Premium: $299 p/month (10 000 contacts)

Maekersuite User-friendly mobile application offers you an end-to-end video creation tool that uses data and technology to automate storytelling through video Price on request (dependent on requirements)

Organisational tools

G Suite Easy and secure access to all your content Business Starter: $6/user/month

Business Standard: $12/user/month

Business Plus: $18/user/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Calendly Free online appointment scheduling software Free plan

Premium: $8/month

Pro: $12/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Project management tools

Notion Notion is an application that provides components such as notes, databases, kanban boards, wikis, calendars and reminders. Users can connect these components to create their own systems for knowledge management, note-taking, data management, project management, among others Free plan

Personal Pro: $4p/month

Team: $8p/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Trello Web-based, Kanban-style, list-making application Free plan

Business: $10 p/month

Enterprise: $17.50 p/month  An open platform where anyone can create the tools they need to run every aspect of their work Individual: Free

Basic: $8 p/seat/month

Standard: $10 p/seat/month

Pro: $16 p/seat/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Communication tools

Slack A workplace communication tool Pro: $6.67 p/person/month

Business: $12.50 p/person/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Zoom Video conferencing tool Free plan

Pro: $149.90 p/year/licence

Business: $199.90 p/year/licence

Enterprise: $240 p/year/licence

Loom Video recording tool Starter: Free

Business: $8 p/creator/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Streamyard Live streaming tool Starter: FreeBusiness: $17 p/month

Enterprise: $36 p/month

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Airtable A low-code platform for building collaborative apps.

Customise your workflow, collaborate, and achieve ambitious outcomes

Free plan

Plus: $10 p/seat/month

Pro: $20 p/seat/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Mixmax Eliminate busy work and enable real engagement.

Make your AEs and CSMs more productive, directly from Gmail

Free plan

Starter: $9 p/user/month

Enterprise: Price on request

Zapier Connect your apps and automate workflows Free plan

Starter: $20 p/month

Professional: $49 p/month

Team: $299 p/month

Company: $599 p/month

Full-service Cloud solution

Salesforce Provides customer relationship management service and also provides a complementary suite of enterprise applications focused on customer service, marketing automation, analytics, and application development Price on request (dependent on requirements)
Microsoft 365 Designed to help you achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent Cloud services, and world-class security Business Basic: $6 p/user/month

Business Standard: $16 p/user/month

Business Premium: $25 p/user/month


Once you have the basics in place, you can do a deeper dive into the resources that can help you take the next step. 

Resources are available for free in multiple formats, depending on what and how you want to learn. Explore the following resources to find the solutions to your unique needs. For very early-stage founders, these guides will help you refine your idea and help it grow. 

MaRS Startup Toolkit 

While it might be too early for you to apply to their early-stage start-up programme, you can still use their toolkit.

The resources cover several important themes, including:

  • Company building
  • Fundraising
  • Operations 
  • Recruiting and hiring
  • Branding, marketing and sales 

Techstars Entrepreneur Toolkit

Techstars helps innovative tech companies make it big. Their toolkit features 20 bite-sized modules that take you through everything you need to know. These modules are organised in a logical sequence. If you have absolutely no idea where to begin, this provides a pathway to learn from. This toolkit covers everything including:

  • a quick exercise to help define everything from market segmentation to value proposition
  • how to set out realistic and measurable goals
  • how to present your business idea to potential investors
  • how to navigate mentor and co-founder relationships.

YCombinator Startup School 

YCombinator is an accelerator that incubates companies, such as Airbnb, Coinbase, DropBox and Twitch. You can sign up for their start-up school for free. The resources are easy to navigate, and it also features a forum for founders to build a community and ask questions. 

StartHouse: 600 Free Pitch Decks 

StartHouse lets you take your pitch deck to the next level, by giving you access to the actual pitch decks of successful companies presented to investors. You can find the companies in your business niche to study the competitors. 

Version One Startup Handbook 

Version One’s handbook aggregates lessons from the almost 100 start-ups with whom the company has worked. 

Key Takeaway

Doing something new is always terrifying. Deciding to take the leap and work on your own start-up idea is risky. But the process of starting a company helps you build valuable communication and leadership skills. These tools will help you now, and the next time you have an idea you’re keen to get off the ground.

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