10 Best Tools for Small and Start Up Businesses

When it comes to starting or owning a business, every penny counts. Finding the best free or cost-effective tools can make all the difference in allowing you to focus on what is important, actually growing your business.

Being an entrepreneur is hard enough, find tools that allow you to work smarter, not harder.

With so many tools out there, it can sometimes feel like information overload. This is why we have put together a list of the best free and/or cost-effective options available today.

1) Slack

Slack is a communication tool built for the 21st century. No more group messages with hundreds of annoying notifications, missing direct messages or various groups getting mixed up. Slack serves as the main hub for your entire team and work.

When your team needs to kick off a project, hire a new employee, deploy some code, review a sales contract, finalize next year’s budget, measure an A/B test, plan your next office opening, and more, Slack has you covered.

Additionally, Slack offers file-sharing, phone calls, message search, and other neat features.

Best of all, this platform is free for small teams and is extremely cost efficient for teams and businesses ready to make Slack the hub for their projects and communications.

Related: Starting Your Own Small Business

2) Google Analytics & Google Console

These free tools from Google give you all kinds of amazing insights into the performance of your website, how much traffic you are getting, and where your traffic is coming from.

Essentially, if you are spending any effort on marketing, Google Analytics will tell you how well you are doing in converting potential leads while the Google Console tool helps you measure your traffic and site performance.

The purpose of Google Search Console is to help you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google search results.

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3) ConvertKit

This is the best email marketing platform out there right now, and we’ve tested a lot of them. ConvertKit helps you connect with your audience and make a living doing work you love. The tools is incredibly dynamic and allows you to easily understand your audience using tags and segments.

Say you have a blog about cars and you want to segment your audience as they funnel in through your subscriber form (which you created with ConvertKit). Once a reader subscribes, they automatically get sent a welcome email or a newsletter with different links. You can then tag each user depending on the link they clicked. For example, if a subscriber clicks on an article about vintage cars, you can tag them “vintage cars” and send them more content related to that topic vs. if a subscriber clicks a link about concept cars who you may tag then as “concept cars”. If you are a car enthusiast, you know that these two types of car lovers are usually very different.

ConvertKit has so many unique features, making marketing to your readers easy and efficient. Start with a free 14 day trial.

4) Fiverr

Need help with website design or development? Need someone to create a logo for your new business? What about general administrative support or customer service? Fiverr allows you to hire contractors on the fly for a specific project or for an extended period of time.

Wages start at as little as $5 per hour for a contractor to create animations, do professional voice overs, help you with your SEO or site speed. You can find contractors for pretty much anything so there is no need to take on the cost of payroll with employees. Try Fiverr today, as an employer there is not cost. 

5) Canva 

Need to create really beautiful images for your website or posts for social media? Canva allows you to create Instagram posts, Pinterest posts, backgrounds, featured images, ads, and so much more.

They have tons of templates for you to use and can even post directly to your social media site. The best part, this tool is absolutely free to use and it is super easy!

6) Calendly

Are your days packed with potential vendors or customers needing to schedule time with you? This tool is awesome at helping to organize your busy schedule. The tool essentially allows you to set your availability and allow people to schedule time on your calendar without all the back and forth emails.

You can easily integrate the tool with Google, Outlook, Office 365 or iCloud calendars so you are never double booked, and it works with existing applications. It also offers time zone detection, allowing people to schedule meetings in their own time zone, preventing any confusion and wasting time with missed meetings.

Related: Best Tools for Recruiters

7) Asana 

This is a great and necessary tool to help with project management. If you have multiple team members seeing a project through to completion, it can be tough to keep track of the projects status. This platform allows you to coordinate all the work your team does together.

With Asana, everyone knows what needs to get done, what their role is, and the timeline for finishing. The best part, it’s completely free!

8) Skype 

Skype has been around for a long time and it has yet to let us down. This is a great tool for communicating with colleagues or clients. Talk, chat, collaborate, share screens, and more. Best of all, not only is it free but you can talk to people from around the world for free. There are no international rates for chatting or calling. If you have a developer in India, no problem, chat, call, share documents, and screenshots back and forth all day for free.

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9) PayPal 

Another amazing and free tool for making payments or getting paid. With PayPal, you can connect the platform to your ecommerce site for easy payments or pay contractors for work completed. Even if those contractors are your developer in India.

Need to get paid? No problem, PayPal has invoicing, credit card processing, mobile card readers, and even offers business loans. They have a whole suite of business products to run and manage your business either for free or at a very low, reasonable cost.

10) Hootsuite

This is a great social media marketing platform to help you manage all of your social media accounts in one place.  From finding prospects to serving customers, Hootsuite helps you do more with your social media.

You can save time by logging into all of your accounts in one place, scheduling posts, and keeping up with mentions and content. The platform also allows you to track your ROI and measure the impact of your social media campaigns through comprehensive reporting. Pricing starts at $29.00 per month but also allows you a 30-day Free Trial.