Collaboration tools · Management Tools

Any free tools for distributed knowledge/information collaboration early stage of startup?

Hossein R.

May 7th, 2020

I'm trying to break down visions into tiny executable projects and as everything is at the idea level, there are a lot of revisions and back and forth between possible investors, co-founders and etc.

I was wondering if there is any software, web-app, or something that you could recommend that would satisfy following criteria:

- the possibility for the admin/CEO to manage who has access to what, or perhaps even better define roles and assign roles to individuals. So each role has a set of access and edit rights.

- some form of version control, at least on the side of the author of the documents. So one can keep track of what has one been thinking, what has changed and why.

- little fancy UI and heavy configuration each time creating a task or something. Practically as the projects are at the stage zero, setting dates, deadlines, budget and etc, though relevant are not as essential as agility; revising the core strategy of the project on the go.

- free. I mean, we don't have any income. We have some server and etc, so would could host it internally, if it is open source, but to pay for each user 10$/m and that when nobody is actually fix collaborator rather everyone is thinking whether and how to join us is not really reasonable.

There are an overwhelming array of software/solutions out there. So, I'm not looking for a list of what is possible, rather what did you or someone you know, or if you were in our/my shoes would do in order to sketch business strategy, plan, objective & etc, share it with possible investors, cofounders, freelancers, etc.

PS. obviously, it either one has to create different copies for each set or the software should provide such feature!

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

May 14th, 2020

Your description is a jumble. I question why you need any of these things. Building a business is not a collaboration, it is a directed effort. There's a chain of command. And if you're doing it all by yourself, then it is managed like a single project or series of projects.

Possible investors shouldn't be involved until you have done a lot of the work it sounds like you think you'll be sharing along the way. Possible co-founders, there's no such thing. They either are or they aren't. Introducing them to your idea and discussing terms of partnership is separate from running your business.

If you are looking for document management so you can easily share things with people and keep track of who has received what, you're talking mostly about some contact management system. There are very few free ones, but certainly low-dollar ones. Google Drive (GSuite), DropBox, and other file sharing tools have some limited options for sharing with levels of read-only, contributor, and admin.

You probably don't need any freelancers until you have done your work, which is going to be 80%+ of it.

My suggestion is that you stop worrying about the process and find 1-on-1 coaching with someone who will walk you through the standard steps of turning an idea into a plan, testing and revising your plan, validating your strategy, and then AFTER all of that, you can start worrying about gathering and communicating with outsiders, not before or during.

You can certainly do this process (turning idea into a plan) by yourself. There are templates you can follow. I expect others will recognize your struggle with chaos early on and not want to be a part of it until you get much more organized. It's not a matter of tools to help you get organized. You're trying to think about things all at once instead of following a process. Scattering your attention that way will make it a struggle to reach the end of planning.

My suggestion is to start with a template like this one, and work through each section one at a time. Once you have completed all the research that goes into finishing each section and have filled out the whole template, you can approach a coach or friend to help you walk through it, look for things that aren't clear or don't make sense or just leave questions, and together you can revise it so it fills in those gaps and could be understood by most readers.

With that plan in-hand, you can move to the next step of developing a strategy. With both a clear plan and a validated strategy, you can proceed to the step where you start considering co-founders. I don't recommend seeking a co-founder before that point. The ground work should all be your own work. You will learn so much important information about your industry and business before that point, you may change your idea dramatically. Reaching for a partner too early mostly frustrates you both.

Investors aren't interested in you until you have a solid plan. They may still expect you to further revise your plan based on their own knowledge or questions. Also consider that the likelihood you will get any outside money is VERY small. When writing your plan, you should assume you will never get an outside dollar. What would you do differently with your business if you knew in advance that you would never get any investment dollars? If you can launch and survive without investment dollars, then that's what you should do anyway.

The most likely kinds of investments are those with low risk, meaning the plan already works and it struggles to meet demand because of a lack of funds to leap to a higher level. Money for testing ideas to see if they work rarely exists unless it comes from friends and family or out of your own pocket.

Good luck!

Maxi moon Founder and Project leader of Trusted Animal Files, out of the box thinker, integrity

May 17th, 2020

Trello..and you can adapt your google calendar/drive with the tasks and share them. You get a lot for free with those..:-)

Mike Whit JavaScript, Data, Automation

May 18th, 2020

I think Media Wiki still is your best bet. I'll probably wind up using WordPress to solve this problem because then my "source of truth" can also function as marketing material. Hint: WordPress offers its backend over REST so you can plug it into modern frontends.