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Five Free design Tools For Startups And Students

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Five Free Design Tools For Startups And Students,Startup Stories,Amazing Design Tools for Startups,Startups,Design Tools for Startups,Design Tools For Startups And Students,Free Online Design Tools,Online Design Tools to Create Stunning Visuals,Free Brand Logo Tools For Your Company,Canva,Pixlr,PicMonkey,Crello,Gravit Designer


Creative design is an integral part of any organisation as it is used for various purposes and by various functions within an organization.  Be it for sales brochures, marketing collateral, presentations and product labels creative design is an integral part.  Creative designs help tell a story or a narrative better with images or videos.  For students, design can be used in their project thesis, dissertation defence, creative resumes and many more.

However, design tools are usually expensive and require an expensive hardware setup to render the final product.  This means a lot of expenditure for students or startups looking to make creative designs.  However, there are various alternatives which do the same job with almost the same quality which can be a blessing for startups and students.

In this article we give you a list of five free design tools for startups and students.  Read below to find out the list of free design tools.

1) Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform which comes with preloaded templates and can be used to create posters, documents, presentations and other visual content for free.  Paid subscriptions can be purchased for additional functionality but the free version does a good job.

2) Pixlr

Pixlr is an online photo editing tool which lets users edit pictures for free.  Pixlr’s photo editing is intuitive and is complemented by artificial intelligence for quick and personalized editing.

3) PicMonkey

PicMonkey is another free online editing tool which can be accessed via a web browser.  Free users can access most of the features and tools while a membership is needed for accessing the entire design workflow.  PicMonkey lets users access design templates for wedding invitations, announcements, thank you cards, business cards and many more.

ALSO READ: 8 Best Free CRM Solutions For Startups

4) Crello

Crello is a tool which offers both video and graphic editing for free.   Crello can help you create visuals for social media in just a few minutes, design a business card or a flyer, create marketing collateral for print, social and blogs, as well as create long-form content like presentations.

5) Gravit Designer

Gravi Designer is a vector based design tool which works on both online and offline platforms.  Gravit Designer is highly preferred for Linux users and the developers are known to listen to feedback from users and integrate good suggestions onto their tool.  Gravit Designer can be used to design websites, or create interfaces, and also to make illustrations or design the artworks of entire games.

This concludes the list of top free design tools for startups and students.  Let us know if you are already using any of these design tools or plan on using them in the future in the comments below.

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Importance Of Communications For A Startup

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Importance Of Communications For A Startup,Startup Stories,Why is communication critical for a startup?,Reasons Why Business Communication is Critical to Your Company's Success,Effective Communication in a Startup: A Doorway to Business Success,Why Communication Determines Startup Success,The Importance Of Communication In Business: How To Improve it,Importance of Communication in Business,The Importance of Communication in Business,How important is communication for startups?,Importance of Good Communication in Business,The Importance of Communication in Business,The Importance of Business Communication in your Organization

A startup usually prioritises its focus on the front end functions like marketing and sales, as well as the backend functions like finances and product development.  While there is no denying these functions are very critical for the success of a startup, there is one more important aspect to it which often tends to be neglected because it may not seem important.  Communications and information management is an often overlooked function a lot of companies ignore.  The fallout from ignoring the criticality of good communication does not immediately make itself known but rather keeps on piling up until the problem becomes too big to ignore.  

During the initial or idea stages of a startup when there are only a few members on the team, communication might not be a problem because all of the team would be together for most of the time.  However, as the idea develops into a product and the startup begins rapid scaling up, the need for hiring more hands arises.  This is when communication becomes a priority.

Communication for startups includes both internal and external.  Good communication needs to be nurtured and can become a powerful tool.  Some easy but highly effective ways to improve communication, both internal and external, are discussed as we progress through the article.

Internal communication:

Internal communication is a powerful tool for enabling better decision making and for increasing business productivity.  Open, clear, crisp communication from the top management level to all branches of the organization will serve to bring everyone together on to a common goal.  This will also further keep executives informed, engaged and make them feel valued thereby leading to more productivity.  Regular team meetings will ensure each team member is on the same page and will also boost employee morale.  Google Hangouts, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Trello are some of the tools which can be used for internal communications.

Some of the ways to drive a healthy internal communication within startups are

  1. Promoting openness, honesty and transparency.
  2. Candid one on one sessions with leaders.
  3. Valuing every opinion.
  4. Sharing challenges, suggestions, progress and expectations.
  5. Welcoming team feedback.
  6. Create an environment of creative expression and non judgemental spaces.

ALSO READ: The Importance Of A Communications Manager

External Communication

External communication also plays an important role in the growth of a startup.  While internal communication is used to keep the teams on the same page, external communication plays a huge role in the brand awareness and value.  External communications play an important role and a startup cannot ignore how it is perceived by job seekers, financial institutions and the public.  Therefore a startup needs to put out its ideas, culture, vision and products in the purview of the public and this can be done through blogs, social media, newsletters, press briefings, advertisements and emails.  A startup needs to realise the importance of managing external communications and the power of releasing information at the right time.  

Some of the ways to drive a healthy external communication and which often tend to be overlooked are given below.

  1. Leverage the correct medium for communication.  For example social media for branding, ads for lead generation, landing pages for call to action.
  2. Create a unique tonality suitable for the brand image of your startup.
  3. Ensure to stay in touch with your external public through all contextual means like emails, newsletters, publications and so on.
  4. Create high-quality content like opinion pieces, sales materials, research reports, annual reports, whitepapers, buyer’s guides, and product datasheets.
  5. Incase of any issues with the product on the technical side or manufacturing defects, startups need to immediately issue advisories.  Good communication is also essential for firefighting and damage control

Startups should keep in mind that internal and external communications are mostly about being spontaneous, relevance and honesty.  A healthy communication goes a long way to improve employee performance, team productivity, positive mindset, and above all business revenue.

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What Are Series A, B And C Fundings?

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What Are Series A, B And C Fundings?,Startup Stories,explored seed funding,Initial Public Offering,funding,startup,Series A funding,Series B funding,Series C funding

Startups usually go through a tumultuous series of journeys during their lifecycle.  As a startup is continuing to grow, the need for funds becomes more and more important.  Funding offers startups the necessary influx of money at various stages to focus on different aspects like product building, scaling up, expansion, innovation, research and development.  While only a handful of startups usually make it big without the need of much funding, the rest of the other startups  engage in multiple efforts to raise enough capital through rounds of external funding.

In the previous article, we have explored seed funding and the various sources of seed funding.  Once a startup completes a seed funding round, the next following rounds are called as series funding and are classified into Series A, B and C respectively.

These Series fundings usually have a timeline and Series A is the first of the three rounds of funding.  Many startups often spend years in search of a Series A funding while some other startups easily get their foot in the door.  The Series fundings are a stepping stone for a startup to eventually become a Unicorn or for filing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO.)

As is the case with seed funding, the Series A,B and C rounds of funding also see investors putting their money into a startup in exchange for equity.  The success of a startup directly correlates to the amount of returns an investor gains.

Before any round of funding, a startup needs to be valued and a valuation is done based on multiple factors like management, track record, market size, risk and liabilities.  Let us have a look at what Series A,B and C funding means below.

Series A funding

Once a startup gains a proven customer base and consistent revenue figure, the startup may opt for a Series A round of funding.  This funding can be used by a startup in question to improve their customer base as well as taking opportunities to scale their product across different markets. A startup also usually prepares a long term business plan after receiving a Series A funding.  Series A fundings range between $ 2 million and $ 15 million.  Investors are not looking for a great idea but rather a plan to take the great idea and make it into a money making business.  

Series B funding

Series B funding rounds are all about startups expanding and taking their business to the next level.  Investors help startups get there by expanding market reach. Companies that have gone through seed and Series A funding rounds have already developed substantial user bases and have proven to investors that they are prepared for success on a larger scale.  Series B fundings are usually used to scale a startup to meet the increasing demand levels.  Series B fundings range between $ 30 million and $ 60 million with the average funding at $ 33 million.

ALSO READ: 8 Best Free CRM Solutions For Startups

Series C funding

By the time startups arrive at Series C round of funding, they are usually quite successful.  The idea behind the Series C round of funding is for startups to raise capital to develop new products and expand into newer markets or probably even acquire other businesses.  Normally investors expect a 200% return on their investment during the Series C round of funding.  Companies vying for a Series C funding are usually looking to go for an IPO or to expand on a global scale.  Startups are usually valued at around $ 118 million when applying for a Series C funding.  

This concludes the list of Series funding.  Series fundings are an important milestone in any startup’s roadmap to success and this article hopes to break down the Series funds into simple terms.   

 

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What Is Seed Funding And What Are The Sources For Seed Funding For Startups

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What Is Seed Funding And What Are The Sources For Seed Funding For Startups,Startup Stories,What Is Seed-Funding In Startup And How Does It Work?,Seed Funding Sources: How Startups Can Raise Seed Capital,Seed Funding Sources,All You Need To Know About Seed Funding For Startups,Seed-Stage Funding Sources That Might Finance Your Startup,What is Seed Funding and Its Various Types,Seed Capital Definition,Seed Stage Funding Sources to Finance Your Startup,Seed Funding For Startups,startups

As startups begin to grow beyond an idea stage to a minimum viable product stage, they begin to brainstorm in order to develop a market ready product.  However, all the product development and testing does not happen for free.  A good product development lifecycle will need a lot of resources both financially and physically.  While physical resources can be spared, finances can often drain out quickly thereby jeopardizing the future of a startup.  Therefore startups look for investors who will be willing to invest capital into the startup.  The investment happens during seed funding events where venture capitalists look out for promising ideas and products in which to invest.

Seed money, sometimes known as seed funding or seed capital, is a form of securities offering in which an investor invests capital in a startup company in exchange for an equity stake.  Imagine a startup as a plant which needs to grow but in order for it to grow a seed needs to be planted.  A seed funding also works in a similar way,  by giving a startup enough working capital to get things off the ground.  Undoubtedly, this is one of the most important processes for laying a strong foundation for a successful startup.

There are multiple sources for a startup to infuse seed capital and the list of sources is given below.  Read on to find out more about the various sources of seed capital.

1) Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is nothing but building a startup from the ground up with only personal savings.  While this brings in added pressure of using one’s own money it comes with its own benefits of not having to worry about returning borrowed money.

2) Incubators

Incubators are a great way to grow as well.  An incubator acts as a source of funding for businesses if they have good business models.  Many well known business schools act as incubators.  The famous startup WeWork also began as an incubator platform for startups and they have branches all over the world now.   A lot of incubation programmes do not take equity from the startup but do offer support beyond just funding.

3) Accelerators

Accelerators work with startups to scale up their business rapidly as opposed to Incubators which nurture early stage innovation.  Accelerators also provide minimal seed funding for startups along with professional services, networking opportunities, mentoring and workspace.  Y Combinator is the most famous accelerator around the world.

ALSO READ: How To Start A Business With Little Capital

4) Business Revenue

Once a startup has a minimum viable product, they can begin sales in order to generate revenue.  This revenue is then invested back into the startup as a capital to develop a fully functional product.  In recent times, this method has gained prominence as it does not involve the complexity of seeking external funding or diluting stake.

5) Corporate seed funding

Large corporations often are looking for a way to invest in a startup which is bringing a new innovation to the market.  This source of funding brings big visibility for the startup brand and is usually an early indication of an acquisition in the future.  Tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are constantly on the lookout to spot latest innovations.  

6) Angel investment

An angel investor is an individual who provides capital for a business startup, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.  These investors often come together to form angel networks where they each invest small amounts into a startup during the early stages when the risk of failure is high.  AngelList, Indian Angel Network and Lead Angels are some of the leading angel investment groups.

7) Philanthropic Investors

This is a perfect source of investments for startups who are looking to address social problems with their products.   Startups could approach international philanthropes, who act as seed investors for startups with social impact.  One of the major advantages with philanthropic investors is they do it for the love of mankind and not for profit and therefore the expectations are fewer than venture capitalists.  

This concludes the list of sources of seed funding.  Looking for seed funding does not have to be a complicated exercise and it can begin by looking into these various sources of initial capital.  

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