Tools for Bootstrapped Startups

Tools for Bootstrapped Startups

To pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

Originally meaning an impossible task, or making something out of nothing...and, without any help.

Today, we mostly hear the term bootstrapped in reference to a startup company or small business. Although company size doesn’t always play a role in the definition, what does matter is that a bootstrapped company refers to one that has been started and expanded only through resources and revenue generated by the entrepreneur or company itself, and without investments, capital, or outside help.

Odds are you are here, reading this because you yourself have chosen to put the foot in the boot, pull the boot up, and put the boot to the pavement. The only thing you need now is a list of the best tools to manage each core area of your business. With these tools, you’ll keep overhead low and avoid paying too much for...anything, and paying sooner than is necessary‼️

Your Foundational ToolKit

First and foremost, these tools are each a must-have on their own for company ops, and together build the foundations of your startup’s toolkit.

Slack

It doesn’t matter if your team sits in the same office, co-working space, or works across the globe; as your bootstrapped team grows, a secure communication tool to ensure you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet will become more critical. Slack is the perfect combination of email, instant messaging, and voice calls. Their free limited version is ideal for small teams. And when you’ve outgrown that, the paid plans won’t break the bank.

Notion

Doing more with less can go a long way when you are bootstrapped (and beyond). And Notion’s all-in-one workspace has it all. It is free for personal use and affordable for team use. They also have a specific ‘Notion for Startups’ program, which is absolutely worth a look. You can’t beat the flexibility and collaboration of this tool.

Sourcing and Drip Campaigns

Gem is a game-changer. A sourcing tool that allows you to create beautiful communications to candidates while also running drip campaigns, enabling your recruiting process to engage more deeply, and build diverse and high-quality pipelines. We love its ability to scale as well as solve multiple problems without involving multiple teams, and that you can get started for free.

Reporting & Analytic Tool

Ashby is a tool for accurate reporting and creating beautiful and visualized dashboards for analytics (but also a recruiting tool, if you find yourself having a need for both areas of Ashby). You can then use this data to tell a story, which we all know is essential to have in the startup world, without an alternative or complicated BI tool. Ashby is well-loved for being founder-friendly and helpful to work with.

Accounting

Wave Accounting has been compared to and is preferred over QuickBooks for startups and small businesses. Its extensive resources are there to empower, build skills and inspire. And, it was recommended by [Jexo](https://jexo.io/blog/bootstrapping-startup-business-free-tools/](https://jexo.io/blog/bootstrapping-startup-business-free-tools/)), who themselves are a lean startup with a passion for everything SaaS, and bootstrapped startup-related. All accounting tools are completely free. You’ll enter tiers that are no longer free if you get to a point where you would like to add services such as credit card transactions and payroll. The low price point, simplicity, and intuitiveness are unbeatable.

All-in-one Website Builder & Hosting

Webflow is a largely capable website builder (and host!) that allows anyone to create a visually stunning and fully functional website from scratch. Running a business can be challenging without a strong web presence, and regardless of your company’s size or ‘bootrapped-ness,’ you need a great website, but you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on an expensive agency or developer. A perfect tool for the first few years, and considering your needs it may even be possible to stick with the free version. Perks all around.

HR

Human Resources tends to take up much of a founder’s time and Zenefits has proven to be a startup’s people ops dream. This HR tool solves challenges that many small and mid-sized companies face daily – technology providers largely focus on the needs of large businesses, creating services out of touch and out of reach for small and mid-size businesses. Not Zenefits, though! The perfect HR tool that’s uniquely crafted for startups and saving valuable time.

Process and Workflow Automation

Process Street is the home for your team’s process documents and the best place to track activity. It solves your ever-growing need for automation. You can create process workflows, run the workflows, assign your team and track their progress with a reports dashboard. It can even act as an untraditional but action-based playbook. Process Street is free to try, but as you grow this is something you will want to pay for as you will inevitably need the features (and seats) that come with the paid plans. Although this is a paid subscription, it is affordable and worth the growth capabilities.

Creative and Free Publicity

Register for a free account with HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to spot publicity opportunities that won’t cost you a thing. HARO’s pitching process allows sources to find topics related to their expertise, industry, or experience. HARO reaches more than 1 million sources and 75,000 journalists and bloggers, making it a vital resource in getting your company’s name out there!

Cut Through the Noise

The most successful bootstrapped startups have learned to cut through the noise, and use only quality, simple, and functional tools, without digging deep into that pocket –allowing your company to remain focused on what’s important. You may not have all the luxuries of VC investments etc, to fall back on but with some resources and diligence, you do have everything you need to make your bootstrapped startup successful.

Whether you want to create a company handbook, track your growth metrics, file your taxes, create a website, find publicity opportunities, or communicate effectively with your team, there’s a tool that can help.