17 Must Have Free Business Tools For A Small Business or Startup
Are You Using Any Of These 17 Free Powerful Business Tools In Your Small Business Or StartUp?
Running and managing small businesses is a challenge in the best of times. It’s a juggling act dealing with employees, suppliers, payroll, prospecting, production, sales, customer support, marketing etc. Hiring extra staff is not always possible nor economically viable for most. Thre are many free business tools available in the marketplace to help any small enterprise.
In the midst of everything that occurs on a daily basis, business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups need to keep an eye on the overall growth and progress of their business. Are sales targets being met, are products being shipped on time, are client issues and concerns being addressed, dealing with suppliers, negotiating with shipping companies and whole wack more.
Listed below are set of free business tools (I have used and continue to use most of them) which can help streamline daily activities, promote your business, automate processes, improve productivity, connect with customers and prospects, increase engagement on social media, interact with staff members, reduce workflow and more.
Study and select which ones can be of help to you and your business. I agree, not all may fit right now but keep the list handy for future reference and use.
1. CRM HubSpot
Besides the CRM tool, there are a couple other add-on products which have additional free options available. But this post is focusing on the CRM tool available. For a free product it has some very decent features and for a small business or startup, it’s a great addition.
Sales is the heart of any business, No Sales = No Business. Besides maintaining a contact list, it allows for a whole slew of useful tools such as; logging calls, email, tasks, notes, scheduling etc. I consider this one of the best free CRM applications out there. Try it out.
This one is all about social media. A free account gets you a single user and allows you to connect to 3 social media profiles. You can set up auto-posting by creating content you wish to share and scheduling it on their calendar.
No need to manually post on multiple sites or worry about daily posting. Once scheduled the system auto-posts to the social pages of your choice at the day/time you select. The free version allows up to 30 posts to be scheduled at a time.
The game in town is email lists. Want to grow a serious business? Build an email list. Emailing is not just about connecting with new prospects, it’s a great way to stay connected with your current client base and a powerful tool to upsell to existing customers.
The free version allows you to maintain 2000 email lists and you can send up to 12,000 emails per month. In addition, they have great built-in templates to suit most industries.
Need to create landing pages or a single page temporary websites? This is a terrific free tool that will do the trick. Extremely easy to use, with multiple templates to get you started.
The free version forces you to publish your page as a subdomain to Ontrapages and not to your domain directly. Which looks like this yourdomain.ontrapages.com instead of yourdomain.com, which is fine if the page you are creating will be used on a temporary basis to share info or build an email list. All you have to do is redirect your domain to this new subdomain.
I used it to create the following landing page: www.NewWayToShip.com
Online sales are booming. More businesses are launching online shops to increase sales. Having an eCommerce presence still requires a business to provide excellent customer care, probably more so online than in a brick and mortar store.
The Tawk platform allows to setup up an online chat with very little work. Just add a few lines of the provided code on every page you want chat available and you are ready to take your business to the next level.
When offline, it can take a message. From the admin side, you can manage to chat with several customers at the same time, view the pages they are on and provide feedback as necessary.
Interested in hosting webinars for prospects or clients? This is the tool of choice. Free option limits you to 3 guests.
I have used this many times whilst prospecting and training clients and it has worked very well. It’s simple to implement and use. Your audience clicks on the link you provide and they join your work session and view your screen.
If you are stuck explaining how a software works, use this tool to demonstrate it’s functionality or help with IT support. Big time saver which also makes you look professional and efficient.
One of the best free tools you will find to help create awesome presentations, graphic designs, infographics, magazine covers… the list is endless.
Using simple drag and drop technology you are left to your imagination. There are hundreds of templates and free icons, images, elements, text, backgrounds to select from.
You don’t need to be a designer to create great graphics, just start with their template and build on it. Here is a simple sample of what I created within a few minutes on Canva;
Building an email list is a must for every business regardless of the industry. When used correctly, it can help generate and grow your sales exponentially. Every visitor that visits your website is a potential subscriber, but not if you failed to capture their email or contact info.
Sumo has tools which help you do this in an efficient manner. The free version restricts you to 500 subscribers. You can move the email address to your email providers such as MailChimp and others.
The tools are easy to implement and use.
Looking for an email address? Hunter will find it for you. Just type in the company name and voila, out pops the email addresses.
It can verify email addresses and emails attached to specific domains.
Use the browser extension to capture emails from the website you are on and save them on your CRM tool such as HubSpot.
With email, texting, WhatsApp, Slack and such free tools there is not much call for sending faxes. But on occasion, we are forced to use fax.
The FaxZero platform with a free account allows you to send 3 pages + a cover page at a time and up to a max of 5 faxes per day.
Since its web based you can use it from anywhere.
Use this powerful tool to give your customers exactly what they want. The free plan allows you to send as many surveys as you like but you can only analyze 100 responses/survey.
Creating surveys is straightforward with help, hints, and suggestions provided in terms of phrasing questions, types of questions etc. analyzing such data is incredibly powerful and can be used to address customer issues and market trends.
The name of the game these days is customer reviews. People buy from those they trust and having great reviews on your products/services goes a long way to building that trust.
The free version allows you to collect and respond to reviews. Every small business must have a means of collecting and sharing those reviews with their customers and prospects. It’s a great means to more business.
Either one of these free tools would be a great addition to any small business which needs to keep in touch with their team (sales staff, suppliers).
For straight up chats, video calls and such WhatsApp seems to have the edge for sure, but when it comes integrating with other platforms such as Asana, Github, Slack is the preferred choice.
If you want a comparison to help make your decision, check out this post; https://versus.com/en/slack-vs-whatsapp
These are word processor, spreadsheets, slideshow presentation, and forms generator. It started off with Docs and has evolved into 4 awesome tools and all free.
Each one has templates to help you get started if needed. If you want even more power and additional tools you can always use Google Suite (Min $5/month), which is cloud-based.
A cloud-based conference platform, which allows you to conduct audio conference, share documents, share screens and much more. It also integrates with other platforms such as; salesforce, slack, LinkedIn etc.
It’s a great tool for teleconferencing with many useful features like; visual conference calls, Group call invites, mute conference participants and much more in the paid version.
A free tool which allows a small business or startups to generate invoices, perform accounting functions and receipt scanning. There is no paid version as such, but you pay a fee for collecting payments and payroll.
It’s web-based so you can access it from anywhere on the web. There is a mobile app available for invoicing purposes and scanning receipts.
It’s able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files. Great tool for creating demo videos, tutorials, record video based product info for sale.
Besides being powerful, it’s easy to use and has rich features (picture-in-picture, screen captions, controlling output quality) to enhance your videos further.
I have used this to create demo and instruction videos for various software/applications/platforms. It surprisingly easy to use. Create a video, save it and upload to YouTube; simple.
By no means is this list complete. New applications, platforms are introduced almost on a daily basis. Not all are reliable or stable or work as claimed. But the tools listed above have a proven track record, are financially sustainable which means they will be around for a bit longer, which also means safe to implement and use in a business environment.
Time, money and manpower are the bottlenecks in any small business or startup. Ask any entrepreneur. Having access and applying some of these solutions will go a long way to cutting down on manual tasks and enable a business to become efficient and improve its processes.
If you are challenged in your business or are looking for specific solutions, email or call me and allow me to help with ideas.