Our team at PSHQ consists of five people who wear several different hats. Without tools to save time and simplify tasks, we would be unable to accomplish all that we do in a day. When people ask me how I am able to work through my daily “To Do” list, I have to give credit to the small business tools that I use. Although the adage “Work smarter, not harder,” may seem trite, it is true. Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products that I highly recommend and that the PSHQ team use regularly.
And here are a few of my favorite FREE small business tools that help my team to work smarter.
One of the first tasks that a small business should focus on is creating an email list. Whether your list is created through contests, social media sign up boxes, or a pop up box on your website, all roads should lead to an email management program. There are lots out there and I have tried a few. My favorite is Mailchimp for a few reasons:
- It is free forever up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
- The drag and drop email design is simple and clean.
- It allows for email automation. You can easily schedule emails to resend to recipients who never opened them the first time.
- It integrates with all of the best platforms.
Whether you send one email a month or dozens, Mailchimp is the best option out there for maintaining a small business email list.
You can sign up for free by using this affiliate link: http://www.problemsolutionhq.com/recommends/mailchimp/
If you are not a designer, but need to design stuff, Canva is your new best friend. And, it is FREE! Another drag and drop platform, Canva provides access to professional layouts and aids with the creation of social media graphics, blog images (like the ones I make for all of my blogs), sales letters, presentations, anything really. Here are my favorite things about Canva:
- They have templates that are already perfectly sized. For example, if you are making an email header, you click on Email Header. Same goes for Facebook ads, gift certificates, etc. Everything you want to create will be the perfect size.
- There is virtually no learning needed. It is so simple to use (unlike Photoshop or Powerpoint) that you can create an image in a minute or two.
- The pre-selected fonts are awesome, too. They professionally combine fonts that give your graphic impact! No more scrolling through endless fonts trying to figure out which ones look the best together.
Another great feature is that Canva saves all of your created graphics. There isn’t a single thing I don’t like about Canva.
You can sign up for free here: https://about.canva.com/
I am a huge fan of Creative Commons projects, and this is one of my faves. Pixabay is a clearinghouse of stock photos, vectors, and illustrations that are free of copyright. This is what I love about Pixabay:
- Everything is royalty free.
- They can be used for commercial applications.
- No attribution is needed.
Pixabay finances their site through sponsored images and donations. They currently offer over 850,000 free images. And, again, their site is completely FREE to users.
Dropbox is the easiest way I have found to store all of my files in the cloud from any of my devices and share them in seconds at will. Although they offer Dropbox Business for a low monthly fee, I have had the free plan for years and haven’t had a need to upgrade. Here is what I love:
- It can upload very large files (like videos) that email providers can’t handle.
- You can create hidden folders and decide which people you want to allow to see which files.
- You can back up the contents of your devices so if they explode, you still have your files.
The coolest part is that you can earn more storage space for each person you refer. I am up to 77.88GB of available storage because I have signed up friends and family.
5. Google Analytics
If your business is not using Google Analytics for your business website, leave this blog post and sign up right now. Seriously! Understanding your website, such as who is visiting, where they are coming from, what they are checking out, is extremely important to small business success. Here are some of the insights that I use from Google Analytics:
- Bounce Rate. This number tells you how many users are traveling to your site by accident.
- Conversion Rate. You probably already know what action you want your website visitors to take. This number will tell you if that is happening.
- Visit Duration. Getting visitors to your website is the first challenge, but getting them to stay and engage with your site is the main objective.
- Demographics. When you understand who is visiting your site and why, you can market your product better.
Google Analytics is simple to add to any site. Use a simple plug-in for WordPress sites or add a short string of code to other websites.
BONUS: Google Analytics Academy is also free and is gold to a small business owner.
No excuses. Even with a small budget, small businesses can benefit from a few free small business tools that will help them to operate more professionally and efficiently.
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