Starting, running, and growing your small business can be exciting, challenging, and also expensive. Having the right tools can make a huge difference in helping you keep your team in sync, while propelling your business forward, especially when resources and finances may be limited. To help you out, here are 23 free and affordable resources to help you and your business grow.
Productivity, collaboration, and communication
As a small business owner, you probably find yourself losing track of time during hectic workdays. Business tools that help you organize your tasks can resolve many of your time issues. When you start to add more people to the equation, the problems of communication and accountability start to pile-up. Here are some tools that can help you streamline day-to-day business processes, increase productivity, and make communication easier.
1. G Suite – For just a few dollars a month, G Suite gives you the opportunity to have a business identity with a unique email address. Plus, you have access to tools that are essential for growth, in areas such as communication, management, cloud storage, and control. Some of the most popular features include: shared calendars, Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Hangouts, and more. You get all the tools your team needs to collaborate and get more done.
2. Slack – Slack is a collaborative online business tool that brings team members together and empowers them to be fully productive across devices and accounts on one platform. You can make video calls, audio calls, share files, and have group discussions—and no one misses a beat. Slack integrates with dozens of apps, giving you the flexibility to work when, where, and how it best suits your business needs.
3. Trello – Trello is a project management tool that organizes tasks and projects for your business in one place. Trello offers multiple membership plans that are affordable and many of the features are free! In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.
4. Zoom – Zoom is a video collaboration tool for real-time communications and online meetings. You no longer have to worry about projects falling behind due to distance or remote working. You can have meetings, trainings, video webinars etc. and stay connected. Their free plan includes unlimited one-to-one meetings and unlimited 40-minute group meetings.
5. Asana – This simple and free (up to 15 users) task management solution is easy to use and rather flexible for small businesses. Much like asanas in yoga. It lets you create repeating tasks, assign them to team members, and keep track of the task progress from a single customizable dashboard.
6. Todoist – Todoist helps you to organize your team, your to-do lists, and to plan ahead. You can create a to-do list, prioritize your tasks, and get overviews every day. You can even share projects and track progress. Plus, their free startup plan includes five active projects with five collaborators per project.
Advertising and listing your business online
Getting the word out about your business doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are a few tools to help you start expanding your brand’s digital visibility.
7. Google My Business – The world’s most used search engine lets you create a free listing for your business so you can connect with your customers. Post details like business hours, location, website, pictures, and even pricing information—all of which will then show up for your audience in Google’s search results.
8. Yelp – Yelp lets you create a free business profile where you can post pictures and business information. Plus, it encourages your customers to write a review about your business and gives you the ability to respond (politely, please!).
9. Foursquare – Foursquare is a free and instant way to advertise to a wide audience and interact with your customers. Let your audience know your business’ most recent updates by managing your listing on the app.
10. YP (Yellow Pages) – No we don’t mean the giant books you used to sit on as a kid when you weren’t tall enough to reach the table. Yellowpages.com and the app are a free way to help your audience find you online.
Marketing your small business is absolutely key to small business brand awareness in the digital age. It’s also vital to promote your offering and your company message to customers and potential clients. From social media management, email, market research, SEO, and so much more, here are some tools that can help you do that.
11. Mailchimp – Mailchimp can easily help you promote your business in a number of ways. Mailchimp offers appealing templates, advanced analytics, and easy one-click personalization’s that can adapt to your business needs. Their free plan includes 2,000 contacts, with 10,000 sends per month and a daily limit of 2,000.
12. Hubspot – Hubspot provides a suite of free and paid tools that help you manage your customer relationships, develop your inbound and outbound marketing, and other digital efforts like generating leads and seeing how you stack up to the competition.
13. Survey Monkey – Survey Monkey is a simple way to find out what your customers think of your business, your ideas, and general thoughts.
14. Canva – Canva helps you create professional designs for your small business. Using pre-formatted templates to create social media posts, blog graphics, marketing flyers, website banners, and more, Canva gives you lots of free options for those on a tight budget.
15. WordPress – Once you sign-up for WordPress through your web hosting service, you can create and manage a blog for your business, for free. There are also thousands of third party add-ons to make managing your website even easier.
16. Google Analytics – This tool tracks how people use your website or mobile app. It will show you where they’re coming from, what pages they visit, and if there are any errors on those pages. You’ll know which content works best so you don’t have to guess when it comes time to create new posts!
17. Buzzsumo – Compelling content always sells and putting out the right content is a business necessity. Buzzsumo helps you determine what content to produce and gives you the knowledge you need to forge content partnerships. You can explore high-performing content, conduct data analysis, identify influencers, and monitor social activity.
18. Hootsuite – With Hootsuite’s free service, you can manage multiple social media profiles from a single dashboard, schedule posts, track mentions, engage with followers, and measure the effectiveness of your social media content.
Accounting and cash management
Managing your finances effectively can be the difference between keeping your small business afloat or closing your doors. Small business owners benefit from accounting solutions because they help track accounts receivable and accounts payable, while providing insights into their profitability, and preparing them for tax season. These tools can help you better manage the financial side of your business and even predict your cash flow.
19. Checkrun – Checkrun is the all-in-one accounts payable solution for managing and paying business bills. Checkrun simplifies the entire accounts payable process — faster payments, reduced risk, easier reconciliation, and the handy mobile app means no more chasing payment approvals or signatures. Get a better view of your cash flow and take control of your payments with Checkrun. Say goodbye to outdated and inefficient payment practices, and say hello to the simple, fast, secure bill pay solution for your business payments– Checkrun!
20. QuickBooks Online – QuickBooks Online is a leading cloud accounting software system developed by Intuit. With millions of users world-wide, they provide users and customers with software to run their small business accounting.
21. Expensify – Expensify is a tool that automates expense management and receipt tracking. It streamlines your entire pre-accounting process with easy mobile tracking of expenses, and one-click reimbursement options. Expensify offers an always-free basic plan, plus a free 30-day trial for team and corporate plans with all whistles and bells.
22. TSheets – TSheets is a GPS monitored app that lets employees track on-the-clock time, right from their cell phones. It aggregates timecard reports from every member of your team with little to no effort required from you, So it’s an effective way to track and monitor your hourly employees.
23. Cash Flow Frog – Cash Flow Frog is a simple cash flow forecasting and scenario planning tool that lets you make educated decisions about your small business’s financial position.
Growing your business doesn’t need to be stressful. Armed with the right tools, you can accelerate your growth with less hassle, headache, and cost. Plus, you can multiply your productivity exponentially and eliminate human errors.
So, there you have it. 23 affordable tools for your small business. We hope you find this list useful. What tools do you use in your small business? Let us know we’ll add them to the list.