Every small business owner needs to know about the free online tools they can access as they grow their business. When a small business is in its first few years, expenses are high, and a matching revenue and income isn’t always available. Pouring your hard-earned savings into a business that needs time to get off the ground can be risky. As expenses pile up, so do your stress levels. However, there are plenty of online tools business owners can access for free.
Here are some examples:
Wix is the ideal tool for a business to develop an online presence. A website is essential for any business today. Without a website, a business is missing out on accessing a broad market of potential customers. Building and developing a website can be a costly process, especially if you hire an expert to do it for you. A tool like Wix can help you with its free plan.
Wix offers a lot of design features, and you don’t need to be an expert to set up your website. There is a paid premium option to investigate later. Should you need assistance, Wix offers telephonic and online chat support. Wix also helps you to create a website optimized for a mobile phone by default.
Being in touch with customers and knowing what they are saying online is vital. This information provides invaluable feedback that can help to grow your business. Aside from hearing from your customers, you also need to have a way to interact with them. Hootsuite is a social listening platform that allows a business owner to get an overall picture of what’s happening online. The tool provides you access to a dashboard that provides statistics about your online presence such as how many followers you have. Determine how many clicks, likes, and shares your posts get to see what’s working and what isn’t. Manage your online presence by scheduling the posting of material and interact with your customers.
3. Microsoft Power BI
For a small business to succeed, decisions based on gut instinct may not necessarily yield the best results. The name of the game today is data-driven decisions. Instead of trying to collect and analyze raw data manually, business owners can make use of intuitive analytics tools. Microsoft Power BI shows the business owner data represented visually. The tool allows the user to connect to many data sources and analyze them. The analysis can be prepared and published. What makes Microsoft Power BI so handy is that it integrates with other Microsoft tools such as Excel where many business owners capture data. The tool generates dashboards based on the analyzed data.
Making use of an organizational tool is essential for a small business as it grows. There are so many tasks that need to be done daily. Often, the owner must do these tasks themselves. In this instance, it’s easy to lose track of what needs to be done. Trello is a tool that allows the business owner to set up tasks with individual steps or milestones along the way. Due dates for tasks or steps can be assigned together with additional notes. Trello allows for more than one user, so a business owner can set up tasks, delegate them to others, and monitor completion. Trello is free for individuals and small teams although the paid options offer more features.
A business owner needs to be able to scan documents and store them electronically. This makes them available for emailing and sharing across different platforms. Sometimes scanning needs to be done offsite when no scanner is available. Scannable is an app from Evernote. It allows the user to scan multiple documents using their smartphone’s camera. Notes from meetings, business cards, or presentations can be shared by scanning them instead of only one person having the hard copy. All important documents can be scanned anywhere, anytime, and added to Evernote. Each document is added to Evernote as a separate note. From there, the user can download, store, and use the documents as needed.
Small business owners want to create good jobs and do right by their employees. At the same time, small and growing companies may not be able to afford full-time employees right out of the gate. Even later, the owner might need certain services only occasionally. The answer is to hire a freelancer. Upwork is a platform that allows business owners to find freelancers. An advertisement is placed for the services required. Upwork will match the job description to a shortlist of suitable potential freelancers. Freelancers that use the platform have a work history record, and the business owner can access feedback from previous freelancing activities. The Upwork Payment Protection feature allows the employer to authorize payment which Upwork delivers to the freelancer. Upwork has more than 16 million freelancers so the business owner will find the perfect freelancer.
Sharing large files with others can be difficult via email. Many email service providers cap the size of files that can be shared. Larger files cannot be transmitted unless it is done in installments. Dropbox allows for the sharing of bigger files across multiple devices. Documents are saved to the cloud for storage or sharing. Once a document or file has been uploaded, it syncs with the other devices and users who have access to the account. Dropbox allows the user to send larger files via email by proving the recipient with a link to access the files. The first 1GB of storage on Dropbox is free. After that, charges begin to apply.
Small business owners have access to tools for functions such as advertising, analytics, blogging, business development, design, communications, legal, money management, productivity, and social media. A quick search online will provide the business owner with options to choose from. Each has its own unique characteristics. The business owner can make the final decision based on what suits the needs and budget of the business.
About the Author: Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at ProEssayWriting . She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking. Follow her on Twitter.
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