My top 10 FREE business tools I couldn’t live without.

Updated: May 31, 2018


Accountant, Graphic Designer, Web Developer, Content Writer, Juggler. Becoming a new business owner involves wearing many hats and you have to learn a lot of new skills outside of your comfort zone very quickly, so buckle up buttercup!

Luckily today there are hundreds of different apps and websites to help us keep all the plates spinning. But as it can feel overwhelming with so many to choose from and know which ones are worth learning how to use, and which ones are a waste of time. Here are my favourites to help you no matter which hat you are wearing today.

Canva

I use this website Every. Single. Day! From creating quotes for social media, presentations, business cards, app screenshots and more! If you don’t have the time to learn how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, Canva will help you produce beautiful graphics like a pro easily and quickly. There are lots of beautiful templates and free photos to use and you can load your own images as well. I don't like the App version as much though.

Alternative: also try PicMonkey if you didn’t like Canva.


Unsplash

Most start-ups can't afford high quality photography for their websites and marketing. But now there are many websites where you can get beautiful, high resolution images from professional photographers, for FREE! It is true that you might see your favourite images pop up in other places, including your competitors, but they are great to customize.

Alternative: other websites to get images for free include; Pexels, Pixabay, Death to the Stock Photo, Picjumbo, CreativeMarket (sign up to their newsletter to get 6 freebies every week!)



HemmingwayApp

We all wish and hope that what we write is interesting, engaging and useful for our audience. This website gives you recommendations to improve the readability of your text. Use it to check the copy for your website, blog articles, promotional materials or even social media posts.

Even though we know our audience is highly intelligent and has a better vocabulary than Donald Trump (well that wouldn’t be hard now would it?!) everybody is time poor and inundated with 1000’s of things to do, so make life easy for them, and they will love you for it!

Alternative: also check out Grammarly


Mailerlite

Sending personalised emails and using automated tools shouldn’t be the preserve large companies. I chose mailerlite due to the free subscription for up to 1000 people on your list and being cheaper than MailChimp and had more tools!


This email marketing tool helps you build and manage your mailing lists and easily create and send newsletters. You can also build and customise email templates and see who opens your emails, or not as the case might be! This information can help you send your customers more relevant emails.

Alternative: MailChimp, Infusionsoft (this is a more expensive option)


BeLive

Video generates 1200% more shares on social media than text with an image and can grow revenue 49% quicker. All the major social media platforms now have a live video option including; Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Periscope, Snapchat and now LinkedIn. It can feel scary, but it is a much more effective way to get your message to you’re audience. Keep practicing and don't stop because of one negative critic, pay 10 times more attention to all the positive comments instead. BeLive allows you to do live interviews or with the subscription you can create your own talk show with up to 3 guests and stream it live straight from your Facebook page. It is also saved for you so you can repurpose the content to create a podcast or YouTube video.


Alternative: I don’t know an alternative to this but if you know one please tell me in the comments below!


Zoom

For conference calls, webinars or recording interviews try Zoom. I have found it more reliable than other live video call platforms, and better than BeLive or Skype for sound quality. You can host up to 100 people in a webinar for free and unlimited 1 to 1 meetings, 40 mins group meetings. You can also choose to record them as video and audio files to use for replays or podcasts. There are also paid plans if you need more features.

Alternative: Skype, Fuze


Slack

Keep in touch with instant messages with your team, virtual assistants, developers or other people you are working with. You can organise your team’s conversations into separate private or public channels or send a direct message. The app also makes it easy to drag, drop and share images, PDFs and other files right in the chat. It automatically indexes and archives any message, notification or file, and there’s no limit to how many users your business can add. This is much easier to search than trying to trail through emails to find stuff.

Alternative: Ryver does the same thing, I have used both but prefer slack as I personally find it more user friendly.


Power Prompter

If you are creating videos but you’re scared of forgetting what you want to say, try this teleprompter app you can use on your laptop or your phone. You write your script and you can control the speed so you can create a smooth script for your videos.

Alternative: I haven’t tried any alternatives to this one, so if you have a better one that you love please let me know!


Planoly


Trying to demystify the little squares of Instagram can feel like a full time job. Planoly helps you to plan your Instagram feed in advance so that you can curate a feed that represents your brand and create a more consistent story. You can plan and schedule your content weeks in advance, track analytics and reply to comments, everything you need to manage your Instagram in one place.


Alternative: WhenToGram is an app to help you work out when you should post your Instagram pictures. Hootsuite and Buffer also help you schedule and automate your other social media posts.


Xero


When you have your account hat on this is a great tool. You can set it up to automate pretty much everything you need it to do, from sending invoices to paying your taxes, VAT returns and expenses. It also links to you bank account and you can manage you payroll as well. Giving you more time to work on your business rather than dealing with admin!


Alternative: FreeAgent, QuickBooks, Expensify

What tools for your business could you not live without? I love finding out new tools to make my life easier! Share them in the comments below.


Nicole Blyth

Founder RelocateGuru


l Iove discovering and supporting local businesses, and I want RelocateGuru to be a place where people can discover the best local businesses in their area, like yours. If you would like your business to be on the app download it on the App Store or Google Play today!


Do you know anyone who would like this article? Share it with them by clicking the social media links below.


#marketing #businesstips #growyourbusiness

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