40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful

18 September 2023By Vlad

Running your own company from zero is challenging. Fortunately, there are so many business tasks that you can facilitate and automate with software. Discover the best free and inexpensive startup tools in this article.

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful

Why do you need tools for startups?

Recently launched smaller companies need software to automate and streamline business processes, save time and effort. Software tools provide valuable data insights that aid in decision-making and planning. Startups can benefit from CRM platforms to manage and nurture client relationships. Obviously, digital solutions enhance collaboration and communication within the team, promoting efficiency and productivity.

The best tools for startups can be classified into 10 categories depending on the purpose of software.

Document management and collaboration. These applications are office suites like ONLYOFFICE Docs that allow creating and editing text, spreadsheets, and presentations. Contracts, company portfolio, licenses, marketing materials – office solutions are must-have for any startup and larger companies.

Project management. Platforms for assigning tasks, marking milestones, and tracking overall performance. Generating reports help visualize the progress of your startup and scheduling activities help avoid chaos in your everyday tasks.

Communication. Employees should have the ability of sharing announcements and communicating inside the team. This type of tools became especially demanded among remote teams where people work from different parts of the world.

Data storages. Any startup has documentation and important files that should be stored securely. Online services provide generous amounts of storage space for free or at an affordable price.

HR and accounting. There are digital tools that help your team track hiring processes and record financial transactions pertaining to your business.

Marketing software. Promoting any product requires a mixture of creativity and smart use of marketing tools for copywriting, search engine optimization, launching ads, sharing posts across social media, and more.

Customer relationship management (CRM). This type of software contains information about your customers, their loyalty and desire to become or remain your client in the future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI). The most discussed technology of recent years became one of the startup tools today. AI can be used in marketing content creation, customer support, and generating ideas.

Market research tools. Even smaller companies need to be aware of what is happening in their industry, what challenges occur, and what demands their target audience are the most topical.

Business Intelligence. Tools for advanced statistics and gaining insights about your company. Recommended for smaller companies that are already represented on the market for a while.

In the rest of this article, we share the most popular software tools from above-mentioned categories.

1. Document management and collaboration

Software for collaborative document management and editing is represented by famous office suites. With these solutions, your startup can create any contract or license, draft an appealing digital portfolio to showcase your products, and even calculate yearly budget.

Do you think that such applications are only for larger enterprises? Consider these free and user-friendly office suites.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful

ONLYOFFICE Docs is a powerful online editor for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and PDF reader that can be integrate with any platform. Cross-platform and fully compatible with Microsoft formats, ONLYOFFICE provides the best office suite for startups.

In ONLYOFFICE Docs, startups are able to securely collaborate on documents in real-time and in paragraph-locking mode. Sharing permissions include editing, viewing, reviewing, filling forms, commenting, reviewing. Additional collaboration features are tracking changes, version history, document comparison and recovery.

Thanks to customization options and flexibility, ONLYOFFICE Docs can be adapted to almost any screen. Default functionality is extendable with third-party plugins, such as ChatGPT, Zoom, Google Translate, text recognition, speech input, and more.

ONLYOFFICE Docs is a security-oriented office suite with three levels of encryption: at rest, in transit, end-to-end. The solution is compliant with international security standards, such as GDPR and HIPAA. To ensure the maximal level of trust, the source code is available on GitHub.

ONLYOFFICE Docs is a free office suite for startups. Get professional online editors for your team today.


Download free ONLYOFFICE desktop editors for Windows, Mac, and Linux.


Desktop app – FREE

Business – $8 per user/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful

ONLYOFFICE DocSpace is a collaborative platform for startups that allows secure document editing together. The platform is based on the concept of rooms, which are special spaces with predefined permissions where users can invite others and collaborate on text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and fillable forms.

DocSpace can be deployed on your own server where you have the entire control over any data. Another way to get DocSpace is a cloud version hosted on secure servers — no need to spend budget on administration and you’ll also have any updates set up automatically!



Startup – FREE

Business – $15 per admin/power user

Zoho Docs

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Zoho

Indian-based cloud office suite, Zoho Docs includes Writer for working with text documents, Sheet for data processing in workbooks, and Show for creating appealing slides. Considered as an alternative to Microsoft Office, Zoho provides numerous features for smooth collaboration on documents online, as well as a wide range of applications for accounting, HR, marketing, and other purposes.


Personal use – FREE

WorkDrive Starter – $2.50 per user/mo

WorkDrive Team – $4.50 per user/mo

WorkDrive Business – $9 per user/mo

Google Docs

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Google

One of the most popular cloud-based office suites. Integrated with Google Drive, this office solution allows you to access, edit, and automatically save documents — no need to share files via email or messengers. Numerous smaller teams worldwide use Google Docs as a free alternative to expensive professional solutions.


Personal use – FREE

Workspace Starter – $6 per user/mo

Workspace Standard – $12 per user/mo

Workspace Plus – $18 per user/mo

Apple iWork

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Apple

Apple iWork is a free suite of productivity software that includes a word processor Pages, a presentation app Keynote, and spreadsheet editor Numbers. Teams using Mac computers and laptops should not hesitate to use this software for creating and editing office documents. However, Apple has native document formats and full compatibility is not guaranteed on Windows PC.

Pricing: FREE

2. Project management software

Even in smaller teams, keeping all tasks on the rails may be daunting. Luckily, there are so many popular solutions to assign, track, and mark projects as completed on any device.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Asana

Asana is a web-based software that allows users to create a virtual workspace in the cloud where teams organize and assign tasks in real-time. The solution is useful for generating reports, monitoring workload, organizing strategy, and gaining insights on team performance.

Asana offers many project templates, and teams can also create customized patterns. Every project contains tasks and subtasks, which may be grouped into sections by topic. Different views like Kanban-style boards, Gantt charts, forms, and calendars make projects easier to visualize and comprehend.


Basic – FREE

Premium – $10.99 per user/mo

Business – $24.99 per user/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Monday

Monday.com is a highly customizable project management solution. You can adapt it to any team, design boards, portfolios with projects and actually every detail you feel can be important. Starting off is easier with 200+ ready-to-use templates. Teams can effectively plan, organize, and track down progress of their projects using different views: Kanban, Calendar, Timeline, Gantt, map, form, workload.

When it comes to recurring tasks, automation eliminates physical effort and human error. For example, managers can create automated alerts, status updates, assignments, and add various tasks automatically.



Basic – $8 per user/mo

Standard – $10 per user/mo

Pro – $16 per user/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Wrike

Wrike covers such areas of project management as planning, reporting, task assignment, progress evaluation and project execution. Combined with the Agile Scrum tool, it allows you to visualize your task and projects organized by columns and statuses. It also lets you create, modify or delete project tasks, due dates, project managers and dependencies between different activities.

Wrike’s ability to integrate with over 400 different platforms, including Salesforce, OneDrive, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Box, Hubspot, etc., sets it apart from less popular project management software.



Team – $9.80 per user/mo

Business – $24.80 per user/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: ClickUp

ClickUp offers various customization abilities that can stretch to any team size and a feature-rich experience to manage your workload, monitor project updates, and communicate with the team. ClickUp offers 15 customizable views including Gantt, Mind Maps, and Kanban-like Board view to let you visualize current tasks your way, customizable statuses to inform everyone which stage your project is in, and a robust Hierarchy to keep you organized with a consistent structure.



Unlimited – $7 per user/mo

Business – $12 per user/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Trello

Trello is one of the most popular and widely used collaborative project managers for both private and business use. It is focused on coordination with the rest of the team members and allows you to manage professional projects or organize all kinds of events, meetings or day-to-day tasks. With apps for iOS and Android mobile devices, Trello is also accessible without Internet connection.



Standard – $5 per user/mo

Premium – $10 per user/mo

3. Communication tools for startups

Software for communication facilitates effective collaboration among team members, promotes efficient teamwork, allowing startups to work together on projects from anywhere and at any time. Choose trusted solutions and applications from our list.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Zoom

Zoom is a popular video conferencing software that gained significant traction during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows individuals and teams to meet and collaborate remotely. Primary features include video and audio conferencing, webinars, meeting recordings, and live chat. Organize team meetings and initiate brainstorming in real-time with Zoom on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android mobile phones.



Zoom One – from $149 per year/user


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Flathub

Telegram is a popular messaging platform known for its speed, security, and versatility. Send messages, make voice and video calls, share various types of media, or even create your corporate channel using mobile app, web and desktop versions of Telegram. Most features are available for free, monthly subscription unlocks advanced customization and sharing options.

Pricing: FREE


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Slack

Slack is a communication and collaboration hub for growing startups that features channels for projects, customers, direct messages with other employees, and workflow automation. Most important features are available within the free plan, paid versions allows audio and video conversations with up to 50 people, advanced collaboration options, unlimited app integrations.



Pro – $7.25/mo

Business – $12.50/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Rocket.Chat

Rocket.Chat is an open-source team communication platform that features real-time collaboration features such as audio and video conferencing, live chat, and screen sharing. The solution is known across organizations of various size for flexibility and advanced encryption. Rocket.Chat is among the best communication tools for startups that value privacy.

Pricing: FREE

4. Data storages for startups

Data storage allows businesses to store and organize various volumes of information, such as customer data, sales data, and financial records. Free plans of the below mentioned solutions are perfect for any startup.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Box

Box provides secure and scalable storage solutions for individuals, teams, and businesses. It offers features such as file syncing, collaboration tools, version control, and granular access controls. With 10GB of free storage space, you can securely save 50,000+ text documents.

Free space: 10GB


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Dropbox

Well-known globally and trusted by millions of users, Dropbox is a provider of cloud storage space. People value modern AES-256 encryption and other high-standard security features that help eliminate data leaks. Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage space, which is a good deal for smaller teams and startups.

Free space: 2GB

Google Drive

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Google

Probably the most popular cloud storage, Google Drive offers a generous amount of free storage space — 15GB. This capacity is available for anyone with a Gmail account. It also integrates seamlessly with other Google services, allowing for easy collaboration and file sharing.

Free space: 15GB


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: ownCloud

ownCloud is an open-source, self-hosted data storage solution that provides features such as encryption, versioning, and collaboration tools. OwnCloud can be installed within a local network, which makes popular among teams that want the ultimate level of data security.

Free space: Depends on your server

5. Human ressources (HR) and accounting

Most startups think about getting bigger one day — more revenue, more challenges. As your team grows, securely hiring, managing employees and their personal data becomes inevitable. Discover the most common solutions that help you with these tasks.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Deel

Deel is a powerful platform to manage all aspects of HR, including contractors, EOR employees, and employees hired through your own entities. With Deel, you can automate the entire HR lifecycle and streamline onboarding processes. Within the paid plans, the system makes it easier for businesses to hire staff by providing automated onboarding, payroll, and compliance solutions.

Pricing: FREE


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Rippling

Rippling is a cloud-based HR and IT administration platform that simplifies the management of employee data, payroll, compliance, and benefits for organizations. The platform can be connected with more than 500 apps and offers advanced automation features to streamline HR administrative processes within the organization.

Pricing: $8 per user/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Paycor

Paycor is an award-winning HR platform with plenty of user-friendly solutions for managing human resources. The developer is trusted and well-known across the United States. Paycor includes various HR functions, including payroll, benefits administration, employee self-service, workflows, and analytics. Advanced functionality of the platform is perfect for rapidly growing startups.

Pricing: Upon request

6. Marketing tools for startups

Every smaller business needs stable marketing software for seamless product promotion. This list below contains some of the most popular examples.

Google Analytics

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Ahrefs

Google Analytics is a web analytics service. It monitors and reports website traffic and offers insightful data on user behaviour and website functionality. GA was introduced in November 2005 and has since grown to be a well-liked and extensively used platform for companies and website owners.

Users can gather information using Google Analytics on how visitors utilize their websites or mobile applications. The platform provides a number of capabilities and tools to comprehend and evaluate website performance.

Pricing: FREE


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Influencer Marketing Hub

Hootsuite is a platform for managing social media that offers a number of functions to manage the different duties that social media managers carry out. Users can manage teams, schedule and publish posts, curate content, schedule tweets, and calculate the return on investment (ROI) of their social media campaigns all from a single platform using Hootsuite. It provides capabilities to manage many social media profiles in one location, publish content on schedule, track its effectiveness in real-time, and quickly plan content.

Pricing: $99/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Evolving Digital

Smaller organisations may manage email campaigns, automate marketing procedures, and conduct data analysis using Mailchimp, an email and marketing automation software. It has automation tools that let businesses send customised messages based on the behaviour and preferences of their customers. Additionally, Mailchimp offers robust data analysis tools to help businesses measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and develop data-driven marketing strategies.


FREE (1000 monthly sends)

Essentials – $6/mo (5000 monthly sends)

Standard – $10/mo (6000 monthly sends)


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: SEMrush

SEMrush is a comprehensive set of digital marketing tools that boosts online visibility and offers marketing insights.  It provides a variety of services, including keyword research, competitive analysis, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, PR (public relations), and campaign management. SEMrush offers marketers the tools to improve websites, SEO strategy, discover and analyse keywords, monitor backlinks, and see how well their rivals are performing online.

Pricing: from $109/mo

7. Customer relationship management (CRM)

CRM tools are pieces of software for seamless tracking customer journey map and undestanding buyer persona. Choose one of the trusted solutions from this list.

Hubspot Sales Hub

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Hubspot

HubSpot Sales Hub is an AI-powered sales software offered by HubSpot that aims to increase productivity and improve customer connections with a range of features. It provides tools for managing leads, tracking sales activities, automating tasks, and generating reports. Sales Hub is designed to support sales teams at different stages of the sales process, helping them streamline their efforts and drive better results.



Starter – $18/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: PCMag

Salesforce is cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software that helps businesses connect with clients, identify prospects, close deals, and provide high-class customer support.

Today, Salesforce is one of the best players on the market of CRM software. With a focus on improving customer relationships, it motivates businesses to leverage cloud technology and data-driven insights.

Pricing: from $25 per user/mo

SAP Sales Cloud

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: SAP

SAP Sales Cloud is a sales management solution that provides tools for streamlining sales procedures, managing client relationships, and boosting sales effectiveness. SAP Sales Cloud offers features like lead management, opportunity management, quote management, sales analytics, and mobile sales enablement. The solution is developed by the award-winning German company SAP SE with decades of experience, and therefore suitable for growing companies.

Pricing: Upon request

8. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for startups

Startups need AI because it has the potential to significantly improve their operations and drive growth. AI technologies can automate business processes for increased efficiency and productivity.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Niche Pursuits

What if you could guess wishes of your customers? Jasper AI can analyze data, generate insights, automate processes, and offer personalized recommendations. It is designed to improve customer experience and optimize operations across various industries. Jasper understands complex queries, learns from patterns, and adapts to evolving business needs.

Pricing: $39/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: OpenAI

The hyped ChatGPT is a bot that can answer questions, provide explanations, generate creative content, and engage in interactive conversations. It has been designed to be a versatile AI assistant that can assist with a wide range of tasks and provide valuable information and insights to users.

The most popular generative AI, ChatGPT is used for copywriting, identifying trends, and even development. Obviously, you have to double-check information from ChatGPT and similar bots, but in practice they already facilitate everyday tasks of millions worldwide. This AI tool can be integrated into ONLYOFFICE Docs for creating professional texts.

Pricing: FREE


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: DeepL

Translate a newsletter into any language? Easy with an advanced language translation system DeepL. With deep learning techniques, DeepL provides highly accurate and natural-sounding translations. The service is known for its ability to understand and translate complex sentences while preserving the meaning and context.



Pro Starter – $8.74 per user/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Pictory

Ever thought that your tweet or article could become a promo video in a few minutes? Save your budget with Pictory — instead of hiring expensive video producers, you can simply input any text and the artificial intelligence will do the rest. Script will be turned into a video, and you‘ll be able to edit captions and apply soundtracks. Easy path to engaging video marketing without spending too much.

Pricing: from $19/mo


Images AI can be used for various purposes, such as image recognition, object detection, image segmentation and generation. When you‘re writing a blog article and need a suitable picture, just enter your request and the artificial intelligence will return an illustration based on the text description.

Pricing: FREE

9. Market research tools for startups

Whether you‘re brainstorming ideas for the future product or your team already has a clearer product strategy, market research needs to be conducted for a deep understanding of your roadmap, aims, industry challenges, and demands of your target audience. Begin with these common services below.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Wikipedia

Statista is a global data and business intelligence platform that provides a vast collection of statistics, reports, and insights. It offers market data, consumer insights, company insights, and market research on various topics across different industries. With over 80,000 statistics from thousands of trustworthy sources in various industries, Statista empowers people with data and facts to make informed decisions.


Basic — FREE

Starter — $149/mo

Google Trends

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: SEMrush

Google Trends is an online service by Google that provides insights into the popularity and search volume of specific search queries over time across various regions and languages. It uses visual graphs to display the relative interest in different topics or keywords and allows users to compare the search volumes of multiple queries.

Pricing: FREE

Census Bureau (for the United States)

The United States Census Bureau is a key agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. It is responsible for producing data about the American people and economy and is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Important publications from the Census Bureau include the decennial census, which carried out every ten years and provides a comprehensive count of the United States population and housing.

Pricing: FREE


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: G2

SurveyMonkey is cloud-based software for various purposes such as brand and market insights. It provides an online survey tool that allows users to create and conduct surveys, polls, quizzes, and collect responses from stakeholders. SurveyMonkey is widely used by individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, and enterprises to gather feedback.



Advantage Plan – $25 per user/mo

10. Business Intelligence (BI)

Business intelligence tools can automate business processes, improve data analysis and reporting, and enable process automation and content marketing. These tools are not recommended for startups that are only entering the market. However, don’t hesitate to test BI applications when you feel deep analytics and insights may help your small team become bigger.

Note: Business intelligence software requires budgeting and special skills.


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Datapine

Datapine is a business intelligence and data visualization platform that helps organizations analyze, visualize, and share data insights in a user-friendly way. It allows users to connect to various data sources — databases, spreadsheets, and cloud storage, and create interactive  reports even without coding skills.

With predictive analytics and data modeling, businesses can uncover trends, patterns, and actionable insights from their data.

Pricing: from $249/mo


40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Tableau

With its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, Tableau allows users to connect to various data sources, create interactive dashboards, and generate insightful visualizations. The solution supports advanced analytics capabilities, including data blending, calculations, and statistical analysis, enabling users to explore data, uncover trends, and make data-driven decisions. Tableau is well-known globally and recommended as one of the best business intelligence software for startup teams.

Pricing: from $75 per user/mo

Oracle BI

40 essential tools every startup needs to be successful
Image source: Oracle

Oracle Business Intelligence (Oracle BI) is a comprehensive suite of business intelligence tools and solutions with the capabilities to gather and process data for insightful decision-making. Advanced processing and user-friendly visualization are guaranteed by interactive dashboards, data modeling, ad hoc queries, and numerous professional features. Users are able to connect databases, data warehouses, and cloud platforms.

Pricing: from $150/mo