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Running a small business is no easy feat, especially when it comes to knowing what kind of products and services to invest in to help your business grow.
That’s why it’s important to save as much money as you can where you can.
Costs can add up pretty quickly.
From email marketing services and CRMs to social media publishing tools and content creation tools, there are all kinds of things you need to think about if you want to see any real business growth.
While you might not have the budget of a Fortune 500 company, you can still find tools that make it easier to run your business.
Check out my picks for the top 20 free resources for solopreneurs and small businesses.
Project Management Tools
Asana is a great project management tool that won’t cost you a dime so if you’re currently building a team for your business, you can use Asana to keep track of any projects your team is working on. Asana makes it easy for remote teams to collaborate by allowing them to organize projects, manage priorities, stay on deadlines, and get more work done.
Trello is a more visual tool that allows for better collaboration among remote teams. The app gives you real-time updates about projects and a big picture view of everything you have going on. It helps you manage to-do lists and organize essential information so everyone’s on the same page at all times. Trello is available on both desktop browsers and mobile devices even when you’re offline. It can ensure you never miss important notifications again.
Slack is a business communication tool that brings your teams together using channels. In the program, a channel refers to any and everything related to a team, topic, or project, meaning better organization for everyone. With Slack, everyone in a channel sees the same message, allowing them to stay on the same page. Slack allows teams to share files, connect on a call, and collaborate with partners.
Canva’s popularity is exploding and for good reason. Canva is a great tool for any small business or solopreneur looking to create eye-catching graphics for Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter. Canva is completely FREE to use, however, upgrading to their Premium membership sweetens the pot by giving you access to exclusive images and icons you can use to spice up your content. It’s only $12.99 a month, but the free version is great when you’re just starting out.
Crello offers tens of thousands of templates for all of the major social media sites, as well as for blogging, and other marketing projects. With Crello, you can create images, videos, and animations and you’ll have access to an image library you can use to find the photos that help you build your brand. They have an app you can use to create content on the go, unlike our next choice.
Snappa is similar to Canva in that it’s an easy-to-use graphic design tool that’s pretty self-explanatory. You don’t have to know much to get started. As long as you can click, drop, and drag, you’ll be able to use Snappa with no experience at all. Saving and downloading your designs is easy too. While there’s no app on the App Store, Snappa is still a pretty great tool to use on a laptop or computer. I use it all the time to make blog graphics and Pinterest graphics for my blog and social media sites.
One of the most popular stock photo sites, Unsplash is a great source for stock photos when you just don’t have the budget to create your own personalized photos for your blog or website. Unsplash has thousands of photos to choose from and you’ll be able to find images no matter what industry you’re in. Of course, you’ll want to personalize your images with one of the graphic design sites we just discussed so that you differentiate yourself from others who might also be using the images you choose.
Similar to Unsplash, Pexels is a great source for stock photos and has images for just about any kind of topic you can imagine. Simply search using a keyword related to your content and you’ll see hundreds, if not thousands of options, each unique in its own way.
Pixabay is another popular stock photo site that allows you to download images for whatever you need. If you want access to over 300,000 high-quality images, Pixabay is one site you can count on for illustrations, photos, and vector graphics.
10. Google Drive
Owning a business means finding a safe and secure method for storing certain files and Google Drive is a free option for business owners that might not have it in their budget to pay for cloud storage at the moment. With Google Drive, your teams can collaborate in real-time. Another plus is that it integrates seamlessly with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides so file-sharing is easy on any device.
DropBox is another great free cloud storage solution that you should consider if you don’t want to pay for cloud storage at the moment. It can bring your team’s content together on one platform so that everyone stays organized and on track. Staying in sync with your team is a breeze. DropBox is more than just online storage, however. It offers features that allow you to share files and collaborate on content and offers productivity tools that support a much more productive work day.
If you’ve got a Microsoft account, you can get OneDrive for free. OneDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere at any time from any device. Your files are always protected and you can easily share them when you need to collaborate with your team members. With features like document scanning, files on demand, and a personal vault, you’ll be able to save files without taking up space on your computer, scan and store files right from your phone, and store files with an added layer of protection.
13. Google Forms or WP Forms
Need to create a form for your website to collect contact information from your site visitors? Google Forms can help you do just that. However, you can’t change the design of the forms. Regardless, it’s still a great option for creating quizzes, contact forms, and surveys. WP Forms is another great option for building forms and you can get it by downloading it from the WordPress plug-in dashboard and activating it.
HubSpot has a free online form builder that combines form creation with cutting-edge technology. With HubSpot’s free online form builder, you can use drag-and-drop capabilities to create forms that help you generate leads. You’ll be able to create unlimited forms, submissions, and fields, making it easier to personalize each form for your specific needs. Once someone fills out a form, they’re automatically routed to HubSpot’s CRM and you can set reminder tasks, send them personalized emails, call them, and nuture your relationship with them.
If you’re looking to grow your email list, but you don’t quite have the money to shell out for email marketing services, which can get pretty pricey, consider using a free one for right now. You can always upgrade and transfer your contacts once your business starts growing and making a profit. But Moosend is a great free tool when you’re just getting started.
Growing your audience is a breeze with a platform like Benchmark. With it, you’ll be able to create professional-quality emails that help keep your customers interested and engaged. Benchmark makes it easy to focus on growing your email list by giving you the tools you need to make the most of your email marketing strategy. You’ll be able to do more than just create stunning emails. You can edit photos, customize your colors, and use A/B testing. Upgrade for even more features.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms and offers a Forever Free plan. As long as you send fewer than 12,000 emails to less than 2,000 people, you can use MailChimp to start building your email list. The free plan lets you create built-in signup forms to gather subscriber information from all across the internet and you can even see your open rates. Use their templates and drag-and-drop feature to create stunning marketing materials. Below you’ll see just what you can get with the free plan.
Proofreading & Writing Software
Hemingway is an online writing tool that helps make your writing “bold and clear.” While it doesn’t check for spelling and grammar issues, it does do things like showing you what grade level you’re writing for, as well as how easy or complex your sentences are to read. Hemingway can help tighten up your writing and keep you in line with different writing styles. It’s free to use online, but they have an upgraded version that requires you to download it onto your computer. The upgraded version is $19.99 (for lifetime access), but the free version is still a great tool to have.
If you’re going to be putting out lots of content, Grammarly is a useful tool to keep around, especially if you’re not great with English grammar. Grammarly can help suggest word replacements and scans your work for common grammar mistakes (such as misused commas and misused modifiers). Grammarly has a free version you can install on your web browser so that no matter what you’re writing online, you’ll be able to write error-free content. However, if you’re serious about creating great content, Grammarly’s premium version is certainly worth considering.
Every small business or solopreneur needs an effective way to manage their finances. And if you’re not able to spend the money on accounting software like FreshBooks, you’ll need an affordable option. That’s where Wave comes in. It can help you keep your books balanced and allows you to create and send invoices. You’ll also get accounting and reporting functionality with the free version. It might not be an all-in-one solution, but it can cover the basics of small business accounting while you’re in the early stages of building your business.
Tools to Help Your Business Grow
Now that you’ve got some free tools under your belt, you can start thinking about which ones you need to help your business grow. What are your business goals? And what tools do you need to help you reach them?
What are your favorite free business tools to use?
Let me know in the comments. Feel free to share this post with your network if you think it’ll help anyone who’s thinking of starting a business.