14 Oct Top 12 Free Tools for Small Businesses
There are a LOT of things that need to be taken care of in a business. And if you’re anything like me, you probably struggle to get even half of these duties done before the end of each day! It can be a lot to take on, but luckily there are several great tools available that will help sift through the chaos. The following tools aren’t just free to use, they are also guaranteed to save you time by simplifying tasks and keeping things organized.
Forget about the expensive time tracking software you’re used to. Toggl lets your team members log working time from their own devices, allowing you to see what’s being completed both in and out of the office. Customizable options make it easy to search and filter time by project, group, team member, department, tag, and timeframe, so you can get accurate reports on exactly how much time each person- or your entire team- is spending on each specific task.
Toggl is free for up to five users, and then starts at $5/user/month. Learn more about pricing and features on their website: https://www.toggl.com.
Teamweek is a time-management app that uses Gantt Charts to display a team’s long- and short-term tasks. Color coding by project makes the chart easy to read, while IOS & Android apps make it possible to use from any device. Even better, Teamwork integrates with several other project management apps, so you can keep all team members on the same page across the board.
Teamweek is free for up to five members, and then starts at $29/month. Get a free 30-day trial of any team size first!
A project management software, CRM, and Intranet all-in-one. Bitrix24 offers a variety of functions to help support your business inside and out, including lead tracking, storing documents, instant chat, human resources management, company announcements, integrated calendars, and so much more!
Bitrix24 is free for up to 12 users. It can be purchased at a monthly rate for the Cloud version, or at a one-time rate for the Self-Hosted version.
Founded by the creator of Flickr, Slack is more than just an internal chat software. Not only does it allow your team to communicate via private messages and work groups, but it will integrate with several other apps (such as Twitter, DropBox, and Google) to cut unnecessary time out of their day. As if that wasn’t cool enough, you can also ask Slack to remind you of tasks at a specific time- just like having your own assistant 24/7!
Slack is free for small teams, then starts at $6.67/user/month. Paid features include unlimited service integrations, guest access for external collaborators, and email forwarding into the chat.
Even though social media is necessary for any small business to spread the word, it can be very time-consuming to post on multiple accounts throughout the week. Luckily, scheduling apps such as Hootsuite let you plan these posts in advance! Set aside one day a week (or less) to focus on social media, and save yourself from the time crunch.
Hootsuite’s free plan allows for up to 3 social profiles, and covers all the basic tools you need to get started.
If you have more than a couple social profiles, then IFTTT is your new best friend. Standing for “If This Then That”, this website allows you to automate actions between different social profiles, programs, and apps using “recipes”. For example, you can add a recipe for all Instagram posts to immediately post on Twitter. Or get emails from Craigslist whenever a new post is added with your criteria. However you choose to use it, IFTTT can save you a lot of time and hassle!
IFTTT is free to use, period. Sign up for a new account to start browsing hundreds of recipes.
There are a lot of newsletter options out there, but MailChimp is the best of the free. It lets you do everything a newsletter tool should- design & send newsletters, separate recipients into groups, track open rates, and customize signup forms- but it also integrates with several other online tools like Twitter Ads and SurveyMonkey.
MailChimp’s free plan covers up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Paid accounts offer additional features such as automated release and delivery by time zone.
While having a good graphic designer is important, there are situations where you simply don’t have the time or money to hire one. PicMonkey is the solution for that! Easily create social media or newsletter images with their drag-and-drop interface, and download it straight from their website into the format you need. The only downside to this platform is that it’s built on Flash, so it may not be accessible on every computer.
PicMonkey comes in two versions: Free and Royale. The Royale version offers more styling and editing options at $4.99/month, but the Free plan truly has everything you need.
If you’re always juggling a million things at once (and what small business owner isn’t?!), chances are that you have trouble keeping track of it all. Trello is marketed as a project management tool, but it really is more of a personal planner/mindmap/collaboration/post-it wall hybrid that will help keep every aspect of your life organized. Create unlimited boards & lists, assign team members to tasks, set due dates, color code labels, and communicate with collaborators all in one place. It even works perfectly for personal tasks and grocery lists!
Trello is free for unlimited members, boards and lists. Upgraded versions start at $8.33/user/month for those businesses that need extra integrations and security control.
Overall, Voxeet is your mobile conference table. With clear, high-definition 3D voice audio available for smartphones, tablets and desktops, you can reach anyone and everyone on your team despite physical location. When on a call, each user is displayed as if sitting around a conference table. The speaking person is highlighted within the app and users can be moved around the screen to adjust their volume. Instant messaging is included as well.
Voxeet is free for all users and allows for unlimited calls! Check them out on their website: http://www.voxeet.com
An easy way to track cash flow and monitor budgets, Mint connects to your bank accounts to provide real-time reports on the financial issues that matter most. Plus, they have IOS & Android mobile apps so you can check your finances at any time.
Mint is free for all users. Sign up for a new account on Mint.com!
12. Google Suite
Everyone knows about Google, but most business owners don’t know that they offer several apps for the workplace. Here is a short list of some big things you may not have considered:
Calendar- A scheduling app that can be integrated with other team members. It also supports meeting invites, pop-up reminders, and device syncing, so you’ll never miss a beat.
Analytics- One of the most comprehensive tracking softwares available. Just create a free account and install the tracking code on your website pages, and you’ll be able to see real-time data about your website traffic.
Gmail- A free solution for hosted email, when a custom email address ([email protected]) isn’t possible.
Forms- Create unlimited surveys and send them to unlimited responders. Google Forms also organizes the responses in an easy-to-read spreadsheet.
Hangouts- Instant messaging, video conferencing, screen sharing, and voice calling in groups up to 15 people.
Fawkes FX is a digital design studio based in Portland, OR, specializing in responsive websites, graphics, branding, animation, and photography. We partner with businesses of all sizes and industries, helping them build, adapt, and change their digital marketing strategies over time. If you’re looking for a team you can rely on as your business grows, give us a call!
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