Most small businesses don’t have a lot of money. And sometimes they have to run on fumes.
Good thing there are a lot of ways businesses can produce, collaborate, manage and market for free.
Here are just 7 free online tools we use that are essential for any business.
1. Google Analytics
If you have a website, you need to install Google Analytics.
It provides a staggering wealth of data you can use to understand your site traffic, including how they got there, what they’re interested in, where they’re from, and a lot more.
It’s easy to install on your site. Just visit their site, sign up for an account, add their code to your HTML, and check in often.
Not sure what you’re looking at? We can help you make sense of it.
You can do the same with an RSS feed and their awesome templates. Or you can design your own template and add RSS shortcodes to send branded e-newsletters whenever you update your blog.
They have a lot of impressive templates and tools you can use to make beautiful and impacting newsletters.
3. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn…you name it, they’re free.
Sign up for an account, use IFTTT to synchronize your accounts with your site so when you post a blog article, it’s pushed to all your social networks.
Reach out to new prospects, answer questions online, promote contests, and more.
Asana is a project management free for accounts with fewer than 30 users. That’s most small businesses.
It helps us complete big projects by focusing on individual tasks. And it gives us an easy way to track what people are working on, questions that need to be answered, and a lot more.
For more details, read Brandon’s great piece on why we use Asana to manage our workload.
5. Google Drive
Instead of spending over $200 on Microsoft Office, we use Google Drive. It’s a free and cloud-based office suite with a word processor, spreadsheets, presentations and forms.
We use it because it automatically saves everything, we can access it from any device, and multiple users can easily collaborate on the same file.
It saves time and money, making it a must for small businesses on a shoestring budget.
Cloud-storage is essential to our business. In Dropbox we have folders for our team and our clients so we can easily share large files.
Doing so reduces email clutter and the confusion of “Did you get the latest file?” The latest file is always the one in the folder, ensuring that everyone is current.
The first 2GB of storage are free, and that may be all you need at first. It’s a simple and effective tool that consolidates popular files to one spot.
LogMeIn is a free screen-sharing tool. It’s important because it lets you share your screen and see others’ without leaving your own.
Say you have two locations, and the other location calls you with a problem. They can’t describe the problem so you better just see it for yourself. Instead of wasting time driving to that location, you can use LogMeIn to see their screen and troubleshoot the problem.
Some of our team members travel and live out of the area, so it’s a very handy way to show them our screen and vice versa. As much as we’d love to meet with our graphic designer in person, Vancouver, BC is quite the drive.
Were these tools helpful? Do you use other free online tools we missed? We’d love to know!