For a small-time business owner, there’s nothing more appealing than free digital tools. Why not? You get to use a high-end and cutting-edge service without having to spend a ton of money. And the good news is that the Internet is blessed with all these tools.
Although most of these tools have a premium version, the free version almost always does the job. Even if you feel the free version is inadequate, it’s easy to switch to a premium version anyway.
But what’s important is that these tools help you get your business oiled up. They take your headaches away and make your life more efficient.
So follow along as we present the top eight free tools for small businesses:
It goes without saying that every business, no matter the size, should have a working logo. Of course, through a simple icon or a wordmark, logos encapsulates everything about a business
It’s simple to make one. Hop on to BrandCrowd logo maker and craft a custom logo. With hundreds of logo templates to choose from, there’s sure to be one that best describes your brand.
BrandCrowd offers more than just logos. It offers tools to help you design your next marketing needs: Facebook covers, Instagram stories and posts, Youtube thumbnails, business cards, etc.
For business owners without design experience, creating these materials often takes considerable effort. You would have to spend hours learning professional tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustration. But thanks to Brandcrowd, marketing collaterals can only eat up minutes of your precious time. And the end results are as marvelous.
Bonus: BrandCrowd offers a variety of completely free logos – the only thing you need to do is register.
Trello beats other collaborative tools. The learning curve is not steep, meaning you can learn your way around with ease.
Trello has a paid and a free version. But almost always, a free version gets the work done. It has the right amount of boards and lists. However, a premium Trello gets you automated features, unlimited boards, and multi-people collaboration.
Trello mimics the idea of a workflow. First, you will have to create some list actions. Those could be your main tasks. And under the main task are specific ones you can move around. Those are called boards.
For example, if you’re a writer then your list actions could be: to research, to write, and to edit. Under those actions, you can entitle the boards as article #1 for X website. Then you can provide additional information on the description space. When done with the research part, you can transfer the board to “to write,” then to “to edit” and so on. You get the idea.
But what makes Trello an efficient collaborative tool is its ability to invite co-workers and collaborators. Then they will get reminded of every action done on the board.
Say you move the board to “published,” all collaborators get notified. Or say you created a new board entitled “brainstorming,” collaborators can comment down ideas on the activity section.
3) Google Analytics
If you have a website, Google Analytics is a must! As the website’s eyes and ears, they help you track almost everything that happens on your site. They understand the customers, where they come from, their age, and their gender. Analytics also know how long they stay on the website, which pages they stick longer, and which ones they bounce off.
Using these data can point you to what aspect of a website needs improvement. For example, Google analytics generated reports on website visitors. Through this, you can understand their age, and therefore you can tweak your brand voice to suit the millennial taste.
When Analytics reported you that you have an 80 percent bounce rate on the landing page. It tells you to revise the landing page, to tighten the wordings, and to place at the top the most asked information on your service.
Google Analytics is a partner tool for every business owner who’s looking to level up their business online. It can leverage social media success. It can optimize your marketing copies. It can suggest vital information about the customers purchasing behavior, and so on.
4) Google Drive
If you have been a small business owner for so long and you haven’t used Google drive, you’re missing out on its great offerings. There’s nothing more appealing for small-time entrepreneurs than savings. And Google drive lets you save a lot. A free email account can get you 15 GB of free storage.
G drive houses some of the best digital tools. There is Google Docs for writing, Spreadsheets for tabular worksheets, Slides for presentation, and more. Not only that, but with a free Gmail account, you get access to other Google tools such as Google Meet, Keep, Calendar, Translate, Shopping, and more.
The best part about Google drive tools is its collaborative features. You and your workmates can inject ideas simultaneously in real-time. For example, you’re thinking about the next blog post. You can write the working topic on a Google doc and everyone can jump right in, place their thoughts, and you can see suggestions in real-time. That works for all G Drive tools.
5) Toggl Track
Toggl Track is one of many time-tracking tools. But what’s good with Toggl Track is it offers a free version. So they can be a handy dandy tool for small-time business owners.
The idea is simple. It tracks how much time you spend on an activity. How? You can pause and play the timer. When you work on a specific activity, the timer runs. You can pause the timer while you work on a different project or while you take a rest. In the end, it will show the time spent working and the time spent at rest.
Toggl Track offers a paid version for both website and mobile apps. But the lite version is effective enough for normal workers. So for business owners who want to manage their time but are not willing to spend money, Toggl Track is the best option for you.
After some time, the software will have generated comprehensive information on your working time. This includes how much time you spend working and resting for weeks, months, or years. Which work takes so much of your time and which ones are easy to do. All these are available for free on the Toggle Track website.
6) Social Media Analytics and Chats
Social media is full of tools that are free. For one, it helps you establish a social media presence with free accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — name it, they’re all free to set up, and also fast.
But the best part with social media is its analytics and chats. Once you gain traction, you can use their analytics platform to view audience behavior. Which among your posts garners the best engagements? Which audience pool is more likely to buy your products? How many people jump from Facebook to your website? And so on.
All these give you vital information on how you create content on social media. Ultimately, the goal is not only to reach a bigger audience but also to have that audience as paying customers.
Then there’s chats. In business, customer service is key to customer retention. And sadly it’s also expensive to have a paid customer representative answer all queries.
Social media’s chat tools are free and efficient. Both you and the customers don’t need to shell out mobile load fees just to complete a transaction. In fact, you could also allow chatbots to take over in answering some usual questions. You can customize the responses based on how a real live conversation will go on.
For easy invoicing and payments, Paypal is your best buddy. Paypal has been in the financial technology industry for years. And it has become stronger even with the rise of other digital wallets.
That’s also the reason why as business owners you should use PayPal. It is used in 200 countries, and it’s mainly accepted everywhere online.
So how does that work? Simple. You can set up your PayPal by logging on to your email and putting in your bank account or card number. Once done, you can use PayPal to send and receive payments.
How do you send money? First, you’ll have to load up your PayPal wallet, or you make sure your registered bank account has enough reserves. Then, you need to know the email address or invoice number of the receiver. When paying for things online, you just need to log in to your account and pay.
To receive money, just send the payers your email address or your PayPal account link. Another option is to use an invoice. Just hop on to the invoice tab and you’ll be able to create one. Then send it over to the payors and expect their payments.
8) Hello Sign
Hello Sign is a tool that lets you sign a document or have others sign a document. As a business owner, you will have to legally transact with clients using contracts. And Hello Sign is an efficient software that enables you to easily send, receive, and track documents and signatures.
Hello Sign is very easy to navigate. If you have a contract ready, just upload it on the platform. Then you can place the signature tab anywhere you want. You can also place other information such as dates, names, etc. When ready, submit the document to your clients. The client can then use their digital signature and click on the tab you provided, then it will automatically place their chosen digital signature in its designated place.
Hello Sign lets you know when the client received it, when they signed it, and when they are done submitting it. It’s fast and easy. Plus, they offer a free version. In it, you can only submit up to three signature requests.
It’s easy to get tricked into thinking you can do it all on your own. As a business owner, it’s right to know when you need help. And when talking about help, not only people can provide that. Some software nowadays is intelligent enough to work around a specific problem with less human intervention but with better results.
The goal of these tools is to free up some time on boring and automotive tasks on running a business and making that time a more creative and productive aspect. That time can help you develop better products and services and ultimately, a better business.