When starting a business, there are a lot of things to consider, almost to the point that someone can feel overwhelmed. But don’t worry, there is ample support for small businesses and people aspiring to start a new one.
As an example, here is a list of some excellent resources. These resources are completely free or offer a free trial for you to take advantage of.
Google My Business
We all know Google of course, but what people might not be so familiar with is Google My Business. It’s a tool that essentially serves as a free profile that’ll help customers connect with you. It’s at least more handy than a Google plus account.
Google My Business is specifically designed for you to post opening hours and location (if you have a physical store), pricing information, pictures, and even an opportunity to give people a virtual tour. All of this information will show up in a Google search result.
On top of that, having a complete Google My Business profile is a good SEO rank-boosting tactic.
Yelp is a tool to help you figure out what people are saying about your business. On top of that, it can be a great place for people to uncover a new and exciting place. Here is a step-by-step guide for getting found via Yelp.
Analytics tools are a must in any kind of business and the best thing is that Google tools tend to be free. This is incredible as you’ll be able to get in-depth information about your audience and especially your buyers. Furthermore, you can determine whether a marketing strategy you’ve been running is effective or not.
Google Analytics is of course one of the highest rated tools as it provides smooth navigation, good overviews on each tab, and can be easily integrated into WordPress sites.
Hubspot’s Marketing Grader
Marketing can be extremely hit or miss, and sometimes Google Analytics can’t give you the precise answers you are looking for. This is where this free tool comes in. Hubspot is a fantastic site that knows marketing inside and out. They created this free tool to grade your blog, social media posts, or any other digital efforts and grade you based on their ability in generating you leads and then compare that to your competition.
Of course you need a site, and we have a bias towards WordPress and for good reason. There are so many companies who use it and best of all, making a site on WordPress is absolutely free.
All in all it’s a great source for creating content that will only help your business gain exposure. A blog post just like this one is still an effective marketing tactic.
One other site to consider that could help you is Medium. Medium is stricter than WordPress in that you can only create blog content. For example, it’s not really a site devoted to building a portfolio.
That being said, this can be helpful starting out as it’s a way for you to grow an audience faster than a traditional site. Medium already has a massive readership and even getting a small amount at the beginning can be helpful for you.
Best of all, Medium is absolutely free and they even have a partnership program that’ll allow you to earn money based on engagement. It might not be much at first, but free money is still money.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
Another great tool for blogging is CoSchedule, a headline analyzer. Why do you need this? Headlines are typically the very first thing that people see and there is plenty of science behind it.
No doubt if you clicked onto this page, it’s because the headline included something that caught your interest.
Anyway, this particular tool will give you the chance to input a headline for a score of 0-100. It’ll also provide you other detailed data and tips to improve your headline. CoSchedule also offers a wide variety of other products if you are into blogging. The headline analyzer is a solid tool in of itself if you need suggestions or to see how strong a headline is.
There are many ways for individuals to raise funds and kick off their business. You can consider applying for loans, or maybe picking a business that won’t break the bank. One other alternative you can consider is through Kickstarter.
Signing up is free and the whole idea is to raise funds through other people through micro-donations. If you manage to hit your goal, you get the funds. The only kind of real cost to this is through the incentives that you provide to those who donate.
Patreon is another free platform to help you in raising money. The idea behind this is to create a more sustainable source of income than a one-time cash injection like Kickstarter. Patreon takes the Kickstarter model and tweaks it.
For one, you do not have to hit specific goals over an allotted time. But you are still expected to provide incentives for people to pledge to you, since this is a monthly subscription rather than a one-time payment.
Regardless, this is a great site for any kind of creative venture. It’s a good place to showcase your work and provide perks to individuals who want to support you.
I’ve talked about this app before, and it’s well worth revisiting. Canva is amazing for the creative and the not-so creative individual who has no budget for marketing and wants to create amazing ads, posts, thumbnails, cards, and more.
Canva is an excellent free designer tool that even someone artistically challenged can use and create stunning marketing material.
If you ever have the desire to manipulate or photoshop an image but don’t want to cough up the money for Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr Editor is a great free alternative. It’s not as intuitive as Adobe Photoshop of course, but it has the basic tools and can do some advance things as well.
The only catch to this tool is that it uses flash and it can be a little tricky to get to the actual tool. Don’t worry though, refresh the page and try again.
Are you planning on building a team for your business? If that’s the case, having a more sophisticated place to chat can be a smart idea. After all, Facebook group chat, emails, texts, and most other chat tools can get incredibly cluttered if you have an engaging group.
Slack is a great (and free) platform as it allows you to manage your conversations in tabs. It also centralizes conversations which any member can access via their computer or phone.
PayPal isn’t just a personal digital wallet. There is a business section that you can take advantage of for free. It doesn’t exempt you from paying fees on receiving transactions, however the overall business aspect is a good way to keep your finances straightened out.
Setting it up is easy and setting up the types of payments are also really easy as well.
There are plenty of royalty free image sites around. Similar to sites like Flickr, Pixabay, and FreeImages, Unsplash makes this list as a great tool because the stock images don’t feel so much like stock photos.
While Unsplash definitely has a smaller pool of images to choose from, you’re bound to find the image you need very quickly. On top of that, it doesn’t really look cheap or fabricated which some royalty free images tend to give off.
Images are updated every 10 days, giving you a wider selection to pick from.
The last tool I want to discuss is a productivity app called Evernote. Known as a fantastic productivity tool, Evernote is for people who are always on the go. This is great for writing out thoughts, ideas, plans, or even creating to-do lists.
But what’s interesting about Evernote is the fact that you can clip things from any content on the internet and place it into Evernote. From there you can make your own notes, share the note with friends or your team.
Free tools for days
The list of free tools available for small businesses is vast and companies continue to introduce more every day. It’s to the point now that if you have a particular problem with your business, there is probably a free tool or two to help you.