Small Business Tools: Saving Money and Increasing Efficiency
For small businesses all around the country, saving money is a huge deal. Monthly budgets often come down to just a few hundred dollars of leeway, which means one step in the right or wrong direction can mean the difference between staying afloat and crashing down. Thus, affordable tools can be a huge asset.
Here are five small business tools that you’ll want to try.
1. Website Builders
If you don’t have any experience or background in web development and design, then building a website from scratch can seem like an unrealistic proposition. Where do you even start?
The good news is that there are lots of website builders available online. According to an expert review site, the three top website builders for small businesses are Weebly, Wix, and Webs. Each has their own pros and cons, but they’re all cost-effective and highly intuitive.
With these website builders, small business owners can create their own professional-looking websites without any coding knowledge. They offer a wide selection of templates that are easy to customize so you can add your own branding, images and text. Plus, most of them are mobile-responsive, which is essential for businesses as more people are using their mobile devices to access websites.
2. Social Media Automation
Social media is a critically important component of many small businesses, but it’s also highly time-consuming and frustrating. There simply aren’t enough resources to successfully manage all of the responsibilities that come with social media. This is where automation tools come into play.
With free social media automation tools, you can put some of your responsibilities on autopilot while tending to the tasks that need your full attention. Some of the top time-saving tools include Socialoomph, Post Planner, and Buffer.
These tools do things like help you schedule social media posts ahead of time, track keywords, automate following, identify social influencers, and more. When properly optimized, you can achieve the same results as manual social media management with much less time.
3. Business Planning
Trying to conduct business planning without a formal department dedicated to the tasks and responsibilities can seem impossible. However, if you have the right tools at your disposal, it can instantly become easier.
The first tool you need to know about is Bplans. With Bplans, you can download free business plan templates, pitch presentation templates, SWOT analysis forms, and other related guides on starting, funding, and scaling businesses. The second tool is Enloop, which allows you to write detailed business plans without much knowledge of the process. It also gives you a three-year financial forecasting report and free business plan grade.
Both of these tools make business planning accessible for small business owners without a background in finance or business development. They make it easy to create a professional business plan that can help you secure funding or attract new clients.
4. Graphic Design
Not a graphic designer? Don’t worry. There are a ton of free graphic design tools online, but there are two you really need to know about: Canva and Piktochart.
Canva is a free tool that lets you use preformatted templates to create a variety of marketing materials that look like they came straight from a professional designer. Whether it’s brochures, marketing flyers, social media banners, or anything in between, Canva has you covered.
Piktochart lets you design immersive infographics with no knowledge of the design process. Simply use beautiful templates and drag and drop various elements to create a shareable piece of artwork that draws people back to your business.
These graphic design tools make it easy for small business owners to create custom designs for their branding and marketing needs. With their user-friendly interfaces and pre-made templates, you can design professional-looking visuals without having to outsource to a designer.
5. File Storage
What do you do with all those pesky files? Well, there’s no longer any reason to e-mail files to yourself or to use an inconvenient floppy disk or USB drive. All you need is the right cloud file storage solution. According to one review site, the best options include Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box. Each has its own storage limits and requirements, so find one that works for you.
Cloud file storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box make it easy for small business owners to access their files from any device and share them with others. With their free plans, you can store up to a certain amount of data and upgrade to a paid plan if you need more storage space.
Arm Yourself with the Right Tools
Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to spend thousands of dollars on small business tools in order to be competitive. All it takes is some patience and a willingness to search for the right solution. There are plenty of opportunities to find free tools, and you should use as many of them as possible. Once you find a handful that you really like, you may even be able to spend a few dollars per month to unlock premium features. Not only does it help you make better decisions in choosing business tools, it also allows you to control your expenses.
With these five tools in your small business arsenal, you can save money and increase efficiency. Whether you’re designing graphics, managing social media, or storing important files, these tools can help you to work smarter, not harder. By using user-friendly and cost-effective software, you can focus on your core business activities and grow your small business.