You get what you pay for? Well, not always. Turns out the web is packed with excellent, free services designed to help you run your business. And contrary to what you might expect, the fact that these services are available at no cost doesn’t mean they’re not super high quality and worth checking out.
Whether you’re a tattoo artist who needs help creating a website, a boutique winemaker looking for financial management software or a small NGO wondering how to host conference calls, here’s a list of 11 free business tools to make your life a little easier.
Your business needs a website – there’s no doubt about that. But if you think creating a beautiful, professional website requires hiring a web developer and dishing out huge sums of cash, think again. At Wix, our free, drag and drop website builder makes it easy for anyone to create their very own site, without needing to know code. Best of all, Wix offers specialized tools, apps and templates tailored for every industry imaginable. Be sure to check out Wix’s customized solutions for Hotels, Restaurants, Musicians, eCommerce and More.
Email marketing is a powerful way to reach out to past and potential customers and let them know what’s new in your business. Whether you want to promote a sale, advertise an event, solicit donations or just say “Happy Spring,” an email newsletter is a great way to stay in touch.
With Wix ShoutOut, you can quickly create newsletters that match your branding and your website, and then send them out (for free!) to everyone on your contact list. In fact, in addition to being an amazing website builder, Wix also offers a contact management solution, meaning you can manage your entire online business straight from your Wix account.
You know you’re supposed to use social media to find new clients and keep up with your former ones, but you just can’t seem to carve out the time to do so. Enter eClincher! The social media tool (conveniently available for free in the Wix App Market) is designed to make it easy for you to manage up to 10 social media profiles. A killer time-saver, eClincher lets you publish, schedule, auto post, monitor, engage, analyze and generate new leads.
You created a gorgeous website, but you have no idea how many people are visiting it. Are new clients really checking out your online store? Or are they clicking on your homepage and then quickly browsing to another website? With Google Analytics, you can unearth reams of detailed data about who is visiting your website, how they are finding you and what they are doing once they’re on your site. The tool offers priceless information to help you understand your site visitors and improve your website to better serve their needs.
Want a new logo or a gorgeous image for that tri-fold brochure you’re creating? Before you start scrounging around for an affordable graphic designer and collecting price quotes, check out what’s going on over at Canva. Their free, user-friendly software is great for both designers and the rest of us, and it’s bursting with free icons, shapes, fonts and more. Use their templates or drag and drop tools for pretty much any design need under the sun. Interested in learning more about design? You can take free design classes at the Canva design school!
There’s no doubt about it – it’s a global world. And from time to time, almost any business needs to hop on a call with partners or clients who are thousands of miles away. With Skype, you can set up free conference calls with as many as 25 people, and as long as they have an account with Skype, the service is completely free!
Think LinkedIn is only useful if you’re looking for a job? Think again! The professional social networking tool is not just a great place to look for candidates to fill that new job opening, either. You can meet other professionals in your field, network with industry experts and get valuable insight and advice using LinkedIn groups. Plus, the platform can help you gain exposure for your business. Invest a few minutes in creating a profile for your business (in addition to your personal profile), chime in on some high-level discussions, post the latest news from your field and uncover amazing business opportunities.
The cost of legal aid and advice doesn’t usually come cheap. Just an hour with a lawyer can run for hundreds of dollars and drafting up contracts and legal agreements can quickly ring up a hefty price tag. That’s one of the reasons that Shake is such a remarkable business tool! The website is full of free legal documents that you can use for your business. From NDAs and loan agreements to freelance contracts and bills of sale, just find the document you need, customize it for your business, sign it and send.
If you’re looking for a place to safely store and share files, DropBox might just be the answer to your prayers. Rather than dishing out dollars to pay for a server, you can use DropBox’s free service and store your files in the cloud. Grant remote access to several employees, set sharing preferences for specific files and take advantage of real-time file syncing. DropBox is also a great tool for businesses who need to send and share large files with clients. Web developers, graphic designers and photographers can easily upload photographs and documents using the tool.
If your business requires overseeing several employees and juggling a variety of projects simultaneously, Trello can help you stay on top of it all and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.
A sort of virtual bulletin board, the free project management software makes it easy for managers to set and track deadlines, check on employee task lists and delegate responsibilities among team members. If the status of a project is updated, everyone on the team will be notified, so no one is left in the dark and uninformed. Trello also lets you create checklists and upload relevant file attachments, so everything you need for a specific project is organized and accessible in one place.
When tax season rolls around each year, you probably wish your finances were just a little bit more organized. And if you’re like many small and medium businesses, the price of hiring an accountant might just not be feasible. Wave is a secure, free online software that can integrate with your bank accounts to help you do everything from manage payroll and take credit card payments to generate financial reports. (If, by the way, what you need is a simple tool to create invoices, you can do that straight from Wix!)
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