Running a small business requires money, or so they say. Not with these free software tools!
We’ve asked Rajesh Menon, CEO & founder of Agencyonnet.com, to put together the most useful, free software tools that your business can use without the need to invest in costly add-ons.
The lifeblood of every small business entrepreneur. The new kid of the block; Wave Accounting is aimed at the below-9-employee business. It allows businesses to create their complete accounting online in the cloud for free. This includes double-entry book-keeping and accounts, payroll, and invoice creation, as well as an ability to integrate credit card payments into your invoices.
If you’re running a business requiring you to manage stocks – be it trade or manufacturing stocks, you could choose from either Inflow, POS Maid, or ABC inventory management. All three have free versions that are ideally suited for small businesses. The free edition in Inflow for instance, allows up to 100 products and customers, 15 reports and allows multi-users in read-only. It pretty much allows you to do everything that you would need from an inventory management perspective.
Now that you’ve got your accounting and inventory mapped out for free, it’s critical to partner that with the right sales CRM tool that will help you to manage your sales leads and relationships. Zoho CRM offers their CRM suite for up to three users, completely free. Free CRM on the other hand, offers their cloud-based CRM solutions free for up to five users and allows 5,000 contacts, compared with Zoho’s 1,000 contacts allowed. The downside? You have to endure banner advertising, though that is a small price to pay for free software. If you’re not fond of banners, try this other great CRM alternative.
Few businesses in the modern age can do without a website and, as a small business or a startup, there are plenty of options out there for those who are inclined to create their own website. My choice from among all of them is the Weebly platform. However, there are plenty of others who offer as good a choice, including Wix. Both offer stunning layout templates and easy “drag and drop” facilities to set up your very own website in a matter of hours without any technical knowledge making them some of the best free software tools for your business.
Now that you have your company website up and running, it’s time to prospect with potential customers. To do so effectively, you need to get your hands on a suitable email marketing campaign tool that allows you to create email campaigns, broadcast them and track the results. And all for free. Mail Chimp is by far one of the best email campaign management tools available online. The only drawback in the free version is that it allows you to send only 12,000 mails each month. A better alternative to use is MailKitchen which allows you to send up to 15,000 mails every month and hold a database of 5,000 subscribers.
Social media manager
Managing social media across multiple sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others can be troublesome and time consuming. Which is why I would recommend using Hootsuite, the leader by far. The complimentary version allows you to manage three social profiles and schedule one post at a time, across your social profiles. An extremely good alternative is the Everypost app that allows you to post simultaneously to multiple social profiles via your smart phone, including scheduling future posts. It’s available on both the Apple and Google Play stores.
Want to improve your business productivity whilst eliminating costs? Then you should try Skype for voice and video calling. You can have Skype on your smart-phone too, allowing you to make calls from wherever you are. Want to access your office PC while on the go? Install TeamViewer. This allows you to remotely access your office PC as if you were sitting in front of it. Use Dropbox or Google Drive to put your files in the cloud, allowing you to access them from wherever you are safely. You can even share files you want with others.
Though you may need additional software to do specific jobs, armed with these handy free software tools you should be able to get well on your way to running a successful enterprise.
Rajesh Menon is the CEO & founder of Agencyonnet.com, the world’s first B2B marketplace that connects businesses with the marketing communication industry service providers.