A savvy entrepreneur can make the most out of free tools for small business. There are a ton of easy to use small business softwares and web tools that can get you a leg up in your industry without breaking the bank. Save your budget for important investments, like a t-shirt cannon or…something more practical.
A multitude of factors contribute to the success of your business. You’ll need something to help you manage your contacts. Clean design and branding will make your company stand out against competitors. Internal and external communications are essential to your growth, and so is the ability to manage projects wisely. And sure, there are plenty of pricey software programs to help you out with those things, but what if you could get the same results without paying a premium?
We’ve pulled together a list of completely free online tools to support your company’s growth. From marketing support to internal communications platforms, each of these systems is designed with your success in mind. Using these tools will help your business communicate better, finish projects, and make customers happy.
Photo editing or graphic design software for a business with just a few employees can run pretty high. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to get lost trying to make promotional images or social media graphics. That’s why Canva is a great free cloud based tool for small businesses.
For the novice marketer, Canva offers a multitude of graphic design templates. You’ll be able to create everything from Instagram stories to business cards to ebooks in minutes with Canva’s straightforward platform. Canva is fully online, and you can create a group account for your business so that all of your assets remain in one spot.
Even for someone with a more advanced background in graphic design, Canva is one of the best free options. Templates will save you a ton of time, but the customization options are truly endless. You can use color codes and a wide variety of fonts to make sure your branding is on point.
If your small business is customer-facing, you’ll likely need a good CRM sooner than later to manage your contacts and communication. HubSpot offers paid subscriptions for larger companies, but its free CRM software is nothing to scoff at.
With HubSpot’s free CRM, you can manage customer information, view your contacts’ activity on your website, and create tasks for salespeople or other employees to follow up on. HubSpot fully integrates with Gmail and Outlook, so you can create free email templates and workflows.
HubSpot’s free plan extends beyond the CRM software to offer you a full suite of marketing tools. And if you don’t know where to start, that’s okay! HubSpot has a robust content library to teach you everything you need to know about marketing, sales, and more. And if that doesn’t cover your needs, their 24/7 customer service team is super friendly and knowledgeable.
Email newsletters can be a huge asset to your small business if you know how to use them. MailChimp is one of the best free newsletter services for a multitude of reasons.
First, MailChimp allows you to send up to 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers without cost. Even if you’re sending out 3 emails a day, you won’t hit your cap for over a decade. Those are some pretty competitive stats when looking at other big email newsletter services.
Also, MailChimp’s interface is super user friendly. This applies to both its design features and its metrics. Rookies will find it easy to use their pre-made templates to achieve clean, professional email designs. More advanced marketers will be impressed by the high level of customization allowed by MailChimp. Additionally, MailChimp shows you a ton of analytics in an easily-digestible way so you can learn what’s working and what’s not.
Small business owners are often juggling a million tasks at once. You’ve got to think about your product, your customers, your employees, your finances…the list goes on. Having a clear and organized platform for internal communication will help you grow your business and avoid headache.
Slack is a Type A’s dream. It is a great tool for organizing communication. Slack allows you to create multiple channels in order to discuss various things with your team. So, for example, your team might have a slack channel dedicated to HR, one dedicated to website updates, and one dedicated to pictures of your employees’ cute kids and dogs. That way, you can navigate to a conversation about your site’s new landing page without having to wade through a million pics of Ana’s new corgi. Slack also offers private channels, so you can ping people individually or in small groups with messages pertaining just to them.
Slack is available as a cloud based app for desktop and mobile, so you can communicate in the office or on the go with ease. Slack also offers a ton of third party integrations. HubSpot is one of the many integrations offered with Slack, and you can use it to respond to customers through your site. So really, Slack is great for both internal and external communications.
Trello is a free online project management tool that every small business owner should know about. If you want to get all your eggs in one basket, or rather, all your projects in one place, look no further.
Trello is a very satisfying online business tool for a visual learner. With Trello, you can create various project boards that hold cards pertaining to different tasks. Tasks can be assigned to individual users, which will be notified via email. When tasks are completed, the users can physically drag the cards to another part of the Trello board. It’s honestly worth actually looking at, especially if you are the target demographic visual-learner that Trello appeals to.
And if your business needs some help understanding how to best use an online project manager tool, Trello offers a few avenues of support. At the top of Trello’s navigation bar is a button titled “inspiring boards” which will provide you with examples of how companies use Trello’s tools to support their business. Trello also offers free online webinars for the small business owner looking to expand their organizational skills and knowledge. Trello integrates with several other online small business software applications, like Gmail and Slack.
These days, social media can make or break small businesses. Having an online social media software for business like Hootsuite will help you stay organized and think long-term.
Hootsuite is a free online social media scheduling tool that allows you to plan your posts in advance and distribute them across multiple channels. So, instead of sitting there and typing out the same message four times, you can just tell Hootsuite to send your message to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram all at once. Or, if you want to go a little deeper and look at your analytics, you can schedule messages for different times.
Whether you’re a small software business, a brand new storefront business, or a fully online company, Hootsuite has tools to help your business streamline social media messaging.
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