It’s an acquired skill every business owner develops.
Business owners (especially small businesses and the mom and pop types) know how to make each dollar go as far as possible. It’s uncanny, every small business owner I have met has this ability. It’s something we internalize, to maximize the goods and services we can get from our budgets, without sacrificing quality.
Luckily, there is an army of companies providing generous free services to business owners. The proper use of these services can save your business money, and improve your sales growth and operations at the same time.
11 Free Small Business Tools
Here are 11 free online tools and resources you can use to accelerate and enhance your business today.
A Full Suite of Online Services
Google offers a suite of services for free under your Gmail account. You can use email, make calls using Hangouts, write documents in Google Docs, maintain spreadsheets in Google Sheets, and much, much more. With the attached Google Drive account you also get a generous 15 gigabytes of storage across these services, for free. This is a great deal and most small businesses can make do with a Gmail address. Get your free Gmail account today.
Monitor Your Reputation Online
For reputation management and social monitoring, consider using Google Alerts. You set up search terms to monitor (for example, your business name and location) and then this tool watches the internet for discussions and reviews of your business. It then alerts you right away when dissatisfied customers comment online, or any other issues pop up. You can then resolve complaints and issues promptly. Set up Google Alerts for your business here.
Measure Your Website Performance
You can analyze one of your most important customer touch points with HubSpot's Website Grader. It takes a look at important criteria like SEO, mobile optimization and security, then delivers a grade from 1-100. All in just a few seconds. It will let you know what you’re doing right and which areas of your site need some attention. Check out your score at the Website Grader website.
Create Your Own Professional Looking Designs
You can use Canva to design visuals for your online marketing assets like your website, blog posts and ads, but also for offline marketing like brochures, posters and flyers. There are thousands of free templates, and it’s easy to use. It takes care of the heavy lifting so you can create beautiful designs with ease. Get your free Canva account today.
Find High Performing Keywords
If online advertising is part of your marketing plan, Google Keyword Planner is designed to help analyze and research keywords and optimize SEO. It gives insight into keyword trends and search volume, allowing you to predict which keywords might perform best for your business. Although Keyword Planner is available at no cost, you’ll need to set up a free Google AdWords account to access the tool.
Automated Social Media Scheduling
If your business has multiple social media accounts, you can simplify the way you manage them by using Buffer. The free version of this tool includes useful features like a scheduling and posting tool, keyword tracker and more. Try Buffer’s free account by signing up here.
Amp Up Your Local Marketing
If you have a local business, Yelp for Business is a great resource to help you make the most of crowdsourced reviews, engage new and returning customers, and offer exclusive deals. With over 90 million people using Yelp each month, you can’t afford to ignore this popular gathering place. Start today at Yelp for Business.
Uplift Your Business Development Knowledge
The U.S. Small Business Administration website is a treasure trove of information for business owners. You can’t beat it for information on grants and loans, working with the government or how to capture local engagement. Access the Small Business Administration website here.
Develop Your Digital Skills
Grow with Google is a great source of tools, skills, stories and resources to help business owners, especially with developing digital skills. The best part about Grow with Google is that it is localized for most markets, so you will get information and tools that are tailored to the challenges and issues you face in your country. Access Grow with Google here.
Free Online Learning (Beginner to Intermediate)
Savvy business owners know that the key to success is to keep learning. The free online courses at Alison let you learn at your own pace and on your own time. Whether you want to brush up on IT skills or dive into the newest marketing and sales techniques, you’re sure to find what you need. You can browse the courses Alison has to offer here.
Free Online Learning (Advanced)
Learn finance and managerial accounting from the ground up with a series of no-cost online courses from MIT Open Courseware. Pick and choose the coursework that benefits your business the most or work through the entire curriculum, up to and including graduate-level courses. You can browse the courses MIT Open Courseware has to offer here.
The 11 free online small business tools and resources listed here can help you run your business better, increase your sales and improve your operations, and they come at the right price. Let me know if I’ve left anything valuable off the list.
Before you go...
We all know that small business is about doing the little things right.
The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.
I have interviewed 500+ business owners, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to improve their business. There are three that stand out above the rest and I want to share them with you.
Join my email list for free and I’ll send them to you right now.