We’ve been checking out some free resources for small businesses, and we’ve uncovered some great online resources and services that won’t cost you a cent. That’s good news for small business! Why spend time and money on something you could get absolutely free? Read our reviews and find out whether you’re missing out on free tools that could help you in your business.
As with most free service offerings, there’s also a paid option that you can use to get even more information. All the same, the free offering is pretty good on its own as long as you’ve got a good way to get people to respond to your survey.
If you’ve got an e-newsletter, you can include a link to your survey and motivate your clients to respond by offering a discount or lucky draw. If you’d like to hear from people who aren’t your clients (yet) you can use the paid option to buy respondents within your targeted demographic.
The free option allows you to create survey questions and guides your respondents through the survey. Once you’re ready to view your results, SurveyMonkey will sum up the responses for each question.
Sending out a regular newsletter is a great way to remind your clients of your business and its products or services. If your mailing list consists of less than 2,000 email addresses, you don’t even have to pay in order to use MailChimp.
Cute features include the ability to prepare your newsletter in advance and choose when it should be sent out as well as for analytics on any embedded links. What did your customers find most interesting about your newsletter? Use your analytics to determine what information they’re finding most useful.
3. FreshBooks and DataBooth
Creating and tracking invoices and following up your business expenses can be a real drain on your time, and if you don’t love accounting, it can be downright annoying.
FreshBooks allows you to get your accounting work done even if you’re not an accountant. However, the free package is very limited. For the first month, you get unlimited access, thereafter, you will have to upgrade if you employ staff or have more than three clients to invoice every month. We like this resource since even the paid option isn’t all that pricey.
DataBooth allows you to create and track as many branded invoices as you like for free. You can also upload images of your suppliers’ invoices for free online storage. However, if you would like these to be captured and see analytics, charges (relatively low) apply. DataBooth doesn’t give you a full accounting service, but it can be used for income and cost tracking.
You only get a free trial with UserVoice, but you can gather valuable market information during that time. User Voice is a platform that allows you to collect comments and suggestions on your products and services. You can also use it to manage client support requests and inquiries resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction.
If you want to use it for longer than 14 days, you’ll have to get a paid-up subscription. If you’re only interested in the possible free benefits, we would suggest that you use it as a means of getting answers to product development questions.
EverNote’s free package is still mighty handy. You can use it to capture your data on the run and synch it between your computer and mobile phone.
Use EverNote to record your ideas, interesting things you saw online and to track your tasks and work lists. Yes, you can do something similar without the app, but EverNote ensures that everything’s in one place and easy to keep organized.
Once again, there are more and better features on the paid version, but the free version is still useful and versatile.
With WordPress, you can create a business website or blog for free. There are paid options that allow you to buy your domain name for a more professional look and you can do more to personalize your WordPress template if you’re willing to pay up, but you can still create a neat and functional website yourself without having to spend anything or know a great deal about website design.
WordPress is mobile friendly, an important consideration in today’s SEO landscape where your website will incur search engine penalties if it isn’t mobile friendly. Search engines like a WordPress website. You may still need a bit of help in getting a top ranking listing, but it’s easier with WordPress.
Facebook needs no introduction, but many businesses still aren’t using it to their best advantage. Setting up a business page (as opposed to a personal one) gives your business a more professional look and allows you to interact with your client base.
If you want to grow your following beyond people you already know, you may need to promote your page. That costs you something, but you can do targeted advertising to people in specific areas, age groups and interest groups at a very reasonable price.
Don’t embark on using Facebook if you’re not ready to spend some time interacting with your public, though. Decide on a strategy before you begin.
There are times when we need to share files that are too big to send by conventional email. That’s where DropBox comes in handy. You can upload your documents, images and so on and invite specific people to view them.
You can also use DropBox to back up important files so that you’re not completely reliant on your hard drives and computers. That’s handy if you’re still not using cloud computing services for your business. If free cloud storage is one of your primary needs, you can also check out these resources.