Keeping up as a business owner in this present age of digitalization is as challenging as interesting. But no matter how challenging it may look, there are ways around getting the best out of what you have chosen as a way of life. With the hundreds of available digital tools available online, your work just got easier.
Here are 44 selected tools under different categories for your use:
From planning to financing daily management needs, starting a small business requires a steep learning curve. Use these free resources to gain the knowledge you need to develop your business idea in a successful business.
Searching for information about developing your business idea online can lead to conflicting information. Information and direct business training without a calendar can be found on the website of the U.S. Small Business Administration-SBA.gov. Here you will find information on writing business plans, tips for entrepreneurs and reliable information on financing your business and more. It is an amazing resource for beginners and experienced entrepreneurs!
For more than 50 years, the non-profit SCORE Association has offered education and mentoring opportunities to help small businesses get started and reach their growth goals. SCORE.org offers free online learning opportunities and confidential personal tutoring services across the country, offered by volunteer entrepreneurs with years of corporate ownership experience.
Be it that you are just coming with a new business or refining your existing business model, these free tools will pave the way for your business planning process.
Writing a plan for a new business does not necessarily mean starting in a total way different from existing ones. Take a look at Bplans.com to see examples of business plans that represent almost every industry, from Barbers to Digital companies and more.
Sometimes, even when you have a plan samples, starting with a blank word document to write your business plan, is often overwhelming. Use Enloop to easily create a business-related business plan with 3-year financial reports and even get a free business plan score that helps you shift your plan from good to excellent.
Note: Your first business plan comes free, with low subscription rates for additional plans and additional features.
As a small business owner, it is certain that you would be involved in developing a lot of contents, be it for your blog, email content, newsletters, Social Media contents etc. In the process of doing these, you need an App like Grammarly.com (a chrome extension) to take charge of your grammar, sentence construction, punctuation mistakes and other things that matter when writing.
Spreading the word about your business does not have to be expensive. Here are some free places to expand the digital visibility of your brand.
- Google My Business
The world’s most popular search engine gives businesses a free profile to connect with their customers. Use Google My Business to publish hours, location and price information, and share pictures and even a virtual tour. All this will be shown to your audience in Google search results.
Bonus: A complete profile of Google My Business can also contribute to the overall SEO of your website.
No, we’re not talking about the huge books you used to sleep with as a kid when you were not big enough to reach the table. YellowPages.com and the YellowPages App are a great free way to find your target audience online, and you can get reviews about your product or service.
You may not be on Yelp; your customers might talk about you there. Request your free business profile to see pictures and business information, see what customers say about you and respond as friendly as possible, all because of your reviews.
- Foursquare for Business
It’s possible that your customers have already listed your business on FourSquare and are already talking about you online. Fortunately, you can join the conversation by claiming your company profile and interacting with your customers immediately. FourSquare for Business is a free and instant way to advertise to a broad audience and interact with your customers, as well as to inform your target audience about the latest updates for your business by managing your own listing on the app.
To have a growth of your brand on digital atmosphere requires a lot of time, effort and investment. After all this information, you need to know if your efforts are generating the desired results. Try these powerful analytics tools to control your brand’s online traffic and look for ways to improve it.
- Google Analytics
To find out how your marketing efforts are converting potential customers, you first need to know how and where your audience is accessing your website. Google offers incredible free analytics tools that help small business owners determine what works in their marketing plan and gets information about their web traffic.
You may have looked up your numbers on Google Analytics and do not like what you see, Unbounce can help you. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to build optimized landing pages to increase conversions.
Marketing experts approve that content marketing (and blogging in particular) is essential to the brand awareness of small businesses in the digital age. Make the most of your blog efforts with some of these favorite tools.
We are always careful that the gold standard of blog management is absolutely free. Log in to WordPress through your webhosting service to create and manage a beautiful blog for your business. And with thousands of third-party add-ons that make managing your website easier, WordPress Digital Marketing benefits never end.
For companies with massive blog presence and multiple team members who write, edit, and publish content, this WordPress add-on is amazing in a nutshell. Schedule the content for the months in advance, train editors on future releases, and work seamlessly on creating, editing, and socializing from a single platform. Free for 14 days. If you like blogs, you will be addicted as time goes by.
With many free online tools, creating a professional and visually stunning digital presence has never been easier. Take a look at these free tools to make your brand impressive and effective.
Do you want to create professionally designed graphics for your blog or marketing needs without expenses or experience? Then, Canva should be your new pal. Use prepared design templates to create social media banners, blog graphics, marketing brochures, and more. Free and silly, Canva will do your amateur marketing efforts without a budget and make you look like a pro designer.
If only the idea of making your own graphic design tickles you, Pablo by Buffer is a good start. Bring your social networks to life with awesome images from your text in less than 30 seconds. Even your 6-year-old son can handle this. It is a promise.
Most importantly as a business owner, it gets you involved with many emails. To make decisions, communicate with employees, communicate with customers, and more, you’ll probably spend your life in your inbox. Take a look at these free e-mail tools to make the life of your e-mail a little more manageable.
This may sound like a bias, but without mincing words, Gmail is the best email communication. Whether you use a standard free Gmail account or connect Gmail to your corporate email account, you will not be able to overcome the ease-of-use of the Gmail organization for archiving and managing Inbox.
Do you have a good idea in the middle of the night, but you do not want to blow up the inbox of your computer until morning? Or do you have to follow an email in a week, but you need a reminder to do it? This third-party Gmail add-on for scheduled and follow-up reminders helps you balance your emails.
It is free for the first 10 scheduled messages per month. Package subscription would give access to unlimited messages and additional features.
If you’re a small business owner and you’re new to the email marketing game, you will appreciate MailChimp for the beautiful and simple content of the bulk newsletter system. You can send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. You will appear to your prospects as one who values them, and you will love the incredible features of MailChimp, including beautiful templates, advanced analytics, easy mouse-click customization, and more.
Whether you work with a distributed team or are traveling a lot for work, these communication tools will help you stay in touch with your team no matter where you are.
Coming first (and probably the best) for Internet call service is Skype, the standard for video conferencing between computers and for Wi-Fi calls between mobile devices around the world. If you need this personal face-to-face connection with employees or customers, the free videoconference between Skype accounts is the perfect tool.
Between social media accounts, emails, texting, chat tools and more, the variety of ways in which team members communicate can be confusing and leave room for communications to be tampered with. Use Slack to manage conversations with your team members on various devices and accounts on a single platform. So you can send an e-mail, get an answer to the text and continue with a tweet, and nobody loses the pace.
Getting lawyers can be expensive. If you are a completely new company, the cost of hiring a professional to create basic legal documents can be atrocious.
From contract work to basic service contracts, you can save thousands of dollars in legal costs with Docracy’s open source document collection. Of course you need a specialist to check these documents as soon as possible, but Docracy is definitely one step closer than no contracts.
Tip: Docracy also offers free digital signature of legal documents, replacing expensive subscription services, signing contracts with clients.
From accepting credit cards to tracking fees, time monitoring and payroll, the internet is loaded with incredible resources to manage your business finances with minimum stress. But how do you know what works? Check out the free trials of these amazing tool to find the money management workflow that meets your business needs.
If you are familiar with completing a traditional expense reports, you would know how stressful that could be. And managers know how much time it costs to search for people with documents or other information. With Expensify, you can simplify the process of cost reporting with smart credit checks, mobile spending tracking and reimbursement options in one click. Expensify offers a free baseline plan and a free 30-day trial for team and business plans with all whistles and bells.
If to accept online payments is the one preventing your business from growing; Paypal offers easy online credit and debit card transactions as well as recurring payments without registration or direct fees.
As your business grows and you hire hourly staff, you’ll soon find it harder to keep track of the time you’re working. Enter TSheets, a GPS-monitored application that allows employees to track their cell phone time and add timecard reports from each team member with little or no effort input. Try this fantastic service with a 14-day free trial.
If you have followed up on the time of your employees, you still have to pay. ZenPayroll simplifies the billing process, giving employees access to online portal, updating their information and allowing them to run weekly wages, every two weeks or monthly the entire team in a few mouse clicks. Start with a free trial for 2 months.
You have great ideas, you have a business plan, your business is funded, you even have incredible graphics for your marketing efforts! But to keep your business alive every day, all you have to do is do things. Try these free tools to boost productivity and grow your business.
Many busy business travelers survive with Evernote because it helps them follow their thoughts, plans, and ideas from anywhere. With the free plan app, you can capture content from across the web, create your own notes, share with friends, and comment on documents together. And thanks to the perfect integration with all your devices, you can work from anywhere without losing your pace.
- Google Drive
Did you notice that there is a bit obsession with Google? That could actually be the best choice. Google Drive has nearly the same benefits as Microsoft Office, but you can access it from anywhere you can access online. Work with colleagues on documents, track changes in the edited spreadsheet, and share them quickly with customers without having to wait for the cost of installing compatible software. Google Drive is just a messiah for productivity.
Considering an increasing number of customers or clients and team members, to keep track of who does what can be overwhelming. Whether you’re planning conference calls, meetings, or shifts, try these amazing tools to align the process by saving time and brain cells for bigger and better things.
With the use of Doodle, you are saying bye to stress attached to trying to organize a meeting, dinner or other events with different parties who use various non-digital calendars. Instead, use Doodle to send a quick survey with the available date and time options. Jump back and forth, let everyone vote and think about your planned meeting!
- When I Work
Undoubtedly, the favorite tool for companies with shift workers of all kinds. Instead of endless emails, sticky notes, and phone calls to organize your weekly or monthly shift schedules, When I Work checks for staff availability, balance the schedule changes, notify employees when you work and allow them to exchange shifts. All you have to do is set your needs and approve the final schedule.
Sign up for the free 30-day trial. You’ll probably find that the time you spend on programming employees on When I Work is worth every penny of the nominal monthly subscription.
Consultants, therapists, hairdressers, lawyers and other service providers rely on YouCanBook.me for fast and easy scheduling of clients. Integrate this tool into your commercial website so customers can book online services. You can set settings and session times for different services, and the app integrates directly with your Google Calendar to automatically resolve any scheduling issues or conflicts.
Every business owner knows he has to be on social media. But in reality, it’s a very different question to keep up with the strategy of social networks. Try these great free tools to streamline your process and maximize the return on your social networks.
Sending individual messages on social networks in real time is a waste of time and a recipe for little commitment. When you register with HootSuite, you can manage multiple social profiles from a single panel. Schedule publications, track mentions, interact with subscribers, and measure the effectiveness of your social media content for free. It’s the reference tool to keep your social networking accounts in line.
If Twitter is a big part of developing your brand, ManageFlitter is an amazing tool to improve your results. It will set aside non-responsive accounts, track useful analytics, and enhance relevant followers with the free Plan from ManageFlitter.
Want to know what your online audience is talking about? Use Topsy to search for keywords and hashtags for your business. Look at the number of conversations on this topic and find out what your audience is saying. With Topsy, you can identify the hashtags and keywords you need to use in your social media content to reach the largest and most relevant audience.
Beautiful pictures are important for your brand to attract attention online. But if you are not a professional photographer and your product is not visually appealing, how can you use images in your marketing efforts? Try these free image websites to search for images that you can use on your blog, social media, and other marketing uses.
This user-created photo sharing site offers a large selection of free or unassigned images. Take a look at Flickr’s Creative Commons section and read the terms of service to make sure your photos are working.
A great source for business related pictures, FreeImages is a popular bookmark for content marketing for a quick generic blog or social media graphics.
If you get bored with the typical online picture series, Pixabay is a great resource for getting things moving. The images here have a slightly more independent feel compared to the more general environment of traditional images.
Unsplash is an incredible resource for images that do not feel like images. Updated every 10 days, the free attribution collection on this page gives you the impression of a mild benefit and creates a personal connection to your audience that cannot match typical images.
Storage and File Sharing
The complicated networks of computers and external hard drives are out of time for more than a decade. Try these cloud storage resources, share files, and collaborate on documents without having a drawer full of USB cables and fifteen phone calls to your IT guy who keeps coming back to get tips for normal things.
Modern companies use Dropbox to share files between employees to collaborate on documents from multiple devices even in different locations. Store all your documents in the cloud to access them anywhere and email them to colleagues, customers, prospects, or anyone else who needs access. Your first GB data is always free, which for a very small organization can be everything you need.
This is another cloud storage and file sharing service similar to Dropbox. In Box you can store up to 10GB of data for free but have to pay for more users. If you’re a solo leader looking to make the most of the free cloud storage, Box may be the answer to your worries.
- Google Cloud
If you already use a variety of Google Apps (which you should see above), Google Cloud is an obvious choice for backing up files, documents, pictures, and other content. Seamlessly integrates with other Google apps to keep track of your files.
In order to monitor the input and output of your marketing strategy and dedicated funds, you need applications that would generate results in terms of marketing and also take charge of your marketing activities in general.
This tool is considered to be the best known marketing automation tool. It has a full suite of features that not only work for marketers alone but also helps with managing email campaigns without neglecting the main purpose of serving as a good tool for your sales team or department. To spice it up, it has a marketplace, called LaunchPoint, that has dozens of integrations.
- Constant Contact
It is well known as an email marketing tool for businesses. It performs a great job of providing basic functionality in such a way that it is very easy to use by non-technical users. And another attraction it has is its affordable price.
This glorifies in its system’s ability to target communications over multiple channels in the place of most marketing automation tools that focus on email. It goes beyond that and allows you target mobile app notifications, or even messages to the dashboard of your customers.
Customer Relation Management
You cannot do without CRM as a small business owner, it is important to you as your business funding. A smiling customer is a moving business in turn. Therefore, you need to make use of CRM tools to help you keep track of your relation activities.
- HubSpot CRM
Starting with the best and free CRM Software, 2017 by FinancesOnline. HubSpot packs loads of effective features when it comes Customer Relation Management. From Social Media to customized views, company database, drag-and-drop communicator, and website, phone, and email integration. Starting with this does not need you to change your existing workflow. It is easy to use as it provides essential basic features without confusing users with complex bells and whistles.
With these highlighted digital marketing tools, we hope you get enhanced with your career as a Small Business owner this year and be more productive enough to etch smiles on the faces of your existing and prospective clients.