Startup costs, permits and licenses, inventory, employee wages, lease, construction materials, the list goes on. Running a small business can be a pricey proposition. Depending on the industry, your ROI or return on investment can take months up to several years before it materializes. And with bills starting to pile up, small business owners can’t afford to splurge on additional tools and pricey software.
Fortunately, there are free business tools for small businesses that can help speed up your operations without spending even a dime. From invoicing to content management, these tools are functional enough to keep your business running smoothly with the help of new technology. Moreover, with free versions and paid upgrades, you don’t have to worry about additional functionalities, as you have the option to unlock more features to continuously support the growth of your trade as your business scales.
Working in the cloud isn’t new for everyone, Google Docs has been in the business for quite some time, followed by Microsoft’s online office services. While these are great tools to increase your productivity, Zoho takes things to another level. Instead of giving you bits and pieces of everything, it offers a complete solution for your business, from basic productivity suites to more advanced functions aimed to improve operations.
The free Zoho Office Suite features free email, document creation and management, spreadsheet and presentation tools, free invoicing, cloud integration, mobile applications, and secured file collaboration. But for those who need more, Zoho has more than 40 applications designed for small businesses including accounting books, a project management tool, app creator, customer relationship management (CRM) integration, inventory tracking, and upgraded cloud storage.
Evernote is one of those free business tools for small businesses that come in handy when you need to take note of something special or important. With this tool, you can capture and remember ideas, moments, tasks, deadlines, articles, latest news, and more in one single location. It allows you to stay organized even when offline and there’s an option to collaborate with other team members to manage projects more efficiently.
While there are many note-taking applications out there, Evernote is a proven performer. With various functionalities like web clipping, multi-device synchronization, handwriting, tags, document scanning, and file search, reminding yourself about important things has never been this fun and easy. The free version doesn’t have integration and collaboration options, but shelling out $3.50 a month to unlock these features isn’t too steep.h.
If there is one business tool that is important to keep track of sales, it would be none other than one for CRM. The problem with CRM is that most – if not all – software is expensive and free versions are often limited in terms of capabilities. This is where Freshsales proves its advantage. It offers built-in lead management for contacts, accounts, deals, and call logs with customizable views and search features, all for free with its sprout plan.
Without spending a cent, you can automate your sales force. But if you need to share files or do time tracking, an upgrade is also available. What’s great about Freshsales is that there’s a wide variety of available plans to match the growing needs of your business. Starting at $12 monthly per user, it goes up to $79 for a more comprehensive list of functionalities.
Regardless if it’s a free or paid plan, Freshsales offers an Android and iOS application. The free version doesn’t have analytics features, and a standard report starts at a $12 plan. For those who need a report dashboard, this is offered for estate and forest plan users.
There are tons of free tools out there, but only a handful of free tools for small businesses will offer complimentary accounting software. Wave is a new breed of accounting software that allows small business owners to cut costs on accounting without sacrificing workflow. It allows you to connect your bank and credit cards, generate financial reports to get access to affordable payroll, use free receipt scanning, and do your invoicing.
Wave lets you run multiple businesses in one account and permits an unlimited amount of income and expense tracking. For payment processing, they offer a pay-as-you-go service, allowing you to control finances and set a budget.
Building a business website is much different from managing content. You can hire someone to build your site within three days but a Content Management System is a long-term engagement. There are many open source CMS options available today like Joomla, Drupal, and Magento, but the most popular amongst all of these is WordPress, accounting for 60% of users.
Just because it’s free, don’t underestimate the functionalities of WordPress. Even the most successful businesses such as Sony, BBC America, and Disney use it to organize content. Whether you need to organize articles, photos, videos, or music, WordPress is equipped with more than 40,000 free plugins readily available for download. Although a bit of technical knowledge is required, it is flexible enough to adapt to your business.