One of the great things about running a small business nowadays is that there are plenty of tools out there that are either free or come at a low cost. Here’s our list of some of the best currently on the market that could provide instant benefits to the way you do business:
Mailchimp – Online Tools for Small Business
Despite the rise of social media in recent years, email remains one of the most powerful tools in any company’s marketing armoury. Combine a carefully gathered and relevant list of contacts with a cutting edge online design tool such as Mailchimp and you have a recipe for success.
Not only does Mailchimp allow you to craft elegant emails and send them to multiple recipients, it also tracks how your marketing performs, producing a report on customer engagement. If you are on a limited budget and have fewer than 2,000 subscribers then you can sign up for free and send up to 12,000 emails a month without having to pay anything. Above that you have to pay but the cost is low and there are different plans depending on your budget.
Find out more about Mailchimp.
Zoho – Online Tools for Small Business
Zoho is an online sales and marketing suite that helps to bring all your business processes together under one easy to use tool. It contains applications like word processors, spreadsheets, presentation software and databases as well as a CRM system that helps you keep all your marketing, sales and customer service activities synchronised.
Zoho has a free edition for up to 10 users and is competitively priced for the upgraded versions starting from just $12 per month per user, providing enough power and versatility to make a return on investment highly likely.
Find out more about Zoho.
Prezi – Online Tools for Small Business
If you want a great online tool for creating fantastic presentations designed to wow potential customers then Prezi may well have the complete solution you need. At low monthly costs (free if you don’t mind your presentations being public), this cloud based platform allows you to work on presentations on any Wi-Fi enabled device which means that you can work collaboratively whilst on the move.
Find out more about Prezi.
A long-time favourite with many educational establishments, Survey Monkey is the easy way to put together online surveys and questionnaires. Not only does it give you access to excellent software but it also has a database of millions of subscribers who can be broken down into various demographics to suit your needs. You can set up small surveys for free or elect to pay a monthly fee with their more comprehensive Selective and Gold options.
Find out more about Survey Monkey.
WordPress – Online Tools for Small Business
One of the most popular web design platforms in the world, WordPress is used by many of the big companies and is the content management system of choice for a wide range of businesses. Prices are extremely competitive and benefits include its ease of use and the fact that you can access your site from any computer. You don’t need specialist programming or web design experience to set it up and there are hundreds of templates, both free and paid, to get the look you are after.
One of the major benefits of going with WordPress is that search engines such as Google love it and your chance of being noticed is greatly increased. Combine that with a whole host of plug-ins that are generally free to use and you have almost everything you need to make a good impression online.
Find out more about WordPress.
Hootsuite is one of the most valuable social media tools out there, allowing businesses to run multiple accounts across a variety of platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Google +. It also lets you schedule messages in advance and measures your ROI with enhanced analytics tools. The great thing is that Hootsuite can grow with your business and you can have multiple users who can manage specific accounts whilst all on the same, innovative platform. Hootsuite has free, pro and enterprise versions, for a small business with limited social accounts free will do you just fine!
Find out more about Hootsuite.
Gmail & Google Docs – Online Tools for Small Business
Google’s cloud based document management software compares favourably to other systems such as Microsoft 365, with word processors and spreadsheets that can be shared amongst multiple users and accessed on any Wi-Fi enabled device. Combine this with the power of Gmail and the benefits of networking platforms such as Google + and you have everything you need for your business and staff to operate online.
Find out more about Google Docs and Gmail.
Dropbox – Online Tools for Small Business
Dropbox is a great, easy to use cloud based file sharing system, that also has the potential to revolutionise the way your staff work. Being more connected, wherever you are in the world, is one of the biggest changes to our IT systems in the last few years. Dropbox offers over 300,000 apps all provided within a secure environment which means that you can control the way your data is processed and reduce the time spent on costly IT issues.
Find out more about Dropbox.
Serif – Online Tools for Small Business
Image editing, video creation, desktop publishing and web design lie at the heart of Serif’s collection of design tools. You can download starter editions free and begin using the straight away or opt for the reasonably priced professional editions for full functionality.
Find out more about Serif.
Alexa – Online Tools for Small Business
Alexa is a web page ranking system that allows you to see how you are performing in comparison to your nearest competitors. It uses competitive intelligence tools to discover how you can perform better and what strategies your rivals are using which could be of benefit to your business. You can measure your own traffic and take advantage of numerous tools to improve your SEO which can increase the online value of your site.
Find out more about Alexa.
Canva – Online Design Software
Number 11 – no it’s not because I can’t count! After publishing this article and sharing it on various social accounts, I received an email from the folks at Canva asking me to take a look at their free design resource. How could I resist? This is what the lady from Canva had to say:
Canva is a simple, drag-and-drop, design software that’s completely online and free to use. People seems to like it: We’ve been around for just slightly over a year and already has 2 million users. 🙂
Now that is impressive and so is the design software! She is right, easy to use click and drag functions allowing you to create: professional looking social images, presentations, poster, cover images and even your own custom dimensions. I have had a short play in my new account and I am already hooked! I think Canva is going to become a firm favourite.
Find out more about Canva.
Hopefully you will find and fall in love with a couple of our Free and Low Cost Online Tools for Small Business – we have been using some of these like Zoho and WordPress since we founded the company in 2011, others we have come to know and love and more than a few we have upgraded our packages as the company has grown and that is the reason why I decided to write this article. If these online tools have helped to grow our business, I am sure you will find considerable benefit from them too! Are you using any of these? What do you think? Do you have others you would recommend? Do share!