Entrepreneurs are first and foremost dreamers, so when it comes to organizing the boring details of your new startup, you probably want all the help you can get. Perhaps the most useful tool to any business is the template, which makes arduous tasks like typing emails and inputting sales data as quick as a click. Fortunately, there are dozens of outstanding pre-generated templates available online for free or cheap ― and some come with a number of additional features to make your job even easier. Without further ado, here are nine templates you should download immediately:
1. Website Template
In the digital age, if your business doesn’t have a website, it doesn’t exist. Fortunately, you don’t need to reroute resources to pay for a flashy design while your startup is so new. Instead, you can use a pre-generated template to create a minimalist site that contains just enough information to keep your audience interested. Design Modo is an excellent resource for fast and simple website design, but you can find even more template options here.
2. Email Template
While you get your startup up and started, you will be sending quite a few emails, and unfortunately, most of them are going to sound exactly the same. To save time, you should preserve a handful of email templates in an organized text file, so you can retrieve a friendly and professional message whenever you need one. Common emails may include:
- Introduction to establish contact
- Follow-up after a call or meeting
- Proposal to potential client
- Rejection message
Of course, recipients can always tell when they are sent a form letter, so even when you do use email templates, you should try to personalize them with specific details.
3. Pricing Estimate Template
Though you should encourage your clients to come to you with any and all questions, matters of pricing can be difficult to navigate. Often, it makes sense to have a document detailing your offered services paired with prices. Then, clients can begin to understand your pricing structure and determine what their projects will cost without unnecessary back-and-forth with you. Using a tool to create professional looking proposals might help with this as well.
4. Invoice Template
Getting paid is one of the most exciting (and obviously the most essential) step for a start-up, but before you collect payments, you need to notify clients of what they owe. There are dozens of invoice templates online, some of them even free of charge. At minimum, your invoices should include:
- Who the invoice is to
- Who the invoice is from
- Date and invoice number
- Services performed
- Amount owed
5. Purchase Order Template
The purchase order should be your most prized document, as accruing purchase orders is the only way to make money. It is the contract, containing types, quantities, and prices of products or services, between you and your customers, and you must adhere to it stringently if you hope to get paid. Like invoices, you can find free printable purchase order templates online.
6. Contract Template
Business doesn’t run on nods and handshakes; to ensure you get what you need from your clients and your employees, you need to obtain signed and dated contracts with strict stipulations. Of course, most of the contracts you hand out will feature similar statements, so it saves time and money to have a couple boilerplate contracts on hand. Contract management software is relatively easy to find; Getting Contracts Done and Agiloft are two of the best.
7. Calendar Template
The calendar that syncs to your email may be convenient, but it quickly becomes packed with mixed commitments from work and home. More importantly, one calendar probably doesn’t have all the features you need to manage your startup. You can find simple Microsoft Office calendars online that are easy to customize to your needs. Then, you can have several digestible calendars to stay completely organized.
8. Project Management Template
Your latest idea is certain to give your startup success ― if only you could keep track of the project’s progress. You need a template that helps you understand what is left to do and how the project is shaping up thus far, which means you need a Gantt Chart. Long beloved by project managers, the Gantt Chart is the tidiest way to track projects, and there are plenty of templates online to get you started.
9. Timesheet Template
Whether you bill by the hour or you are curious about your time management, it helps to have a timesheet nearby. Using an online tracker like Toggl and a simple Excel template, you (and your clients) can know exactly how you spend your time, ensuring an efficient and profitable startup.