Maintaining a small business can be a daunting task. Not all businesses have the necessary venture capital to achieve all the prerequisite tasks. In such a scenario, free apps and software prove to be invaluable tools. However, there is an abundance of mediocre small business free tools in the market and identifying a good tool is rather difficult.
We have compiled a list of the top free must-have tools for small businesses to solve these issues.
- Website Builder from Wix
Globalisation has revolutionised business, and e-commerce has grown exponentially. However, to fully leverage the benefits of e-commerce, every business needs a dedicated website. However, it can be a costly affair. Wix is a great resource for those that wish to get a full-featured, mobile-friendly website on a tight budget. The preliminary plan is free of cost, and it is advisable that you use it; if it suits your needs, you can opt for a paid web hosting service. HostGator Web Hosting is a great alternative.
Cyber-attacks have been on the rise for the past decade. Invaluable individual and business data are sold freely on the dark web. In such a case, it is imperative that businesses implement at least basic if not fully dedicated security protocols. Getting a personal VPN is a great start for businesses. It prevents anyone from snooping on your online activity and limits access to network content. Unfortunately, most VPNs are very costly. However, the CyberGhost VPN offers two months of free protection with a subsequent nominal fee of $58.50.
The VPN service offers excellent reliable connection speeds with considerable network security with modern OS connectivity. It can be slightly difficult to configure but once set up, and it is a great option for small businesses.
- Endpoint Protection with Avast
Talking about security, it is imperative that we discuss about protection not just from trespassers but also from viruses and malware. The extensive increase in internet usage has made us more vulnerable to online threats. Hence, anti-virus software has become a necessity. Avast is one of the most reliable and widespread free anti-virus software available in the market. Avast’s endpoint protection comes in a free and premium version, which can be available based on your needs. The free version has limited access, and proactive controls are disabled. Extensive firewall protection and data shredding options are also not available. However, other nifty features such as malware blocking, security scanning, and rescue disk functionality are available. Hence, Avast is a must-have free business tool.
Project management is also an important aspect of a business. Organisation and business growth are somewhat predicated by the business’ efficiency to manage their projects. Wrike is a great project management tool that is applicable for businesses on any tier. Wrike’s free version supports five users with unlimited collaborators. 2 GBs of storage is provided, which lets you manage tasks, share files, and monitor group activities in real-time. The dashboard is highly simplified and interactive, with customisations and reporting features available at higher tiers. However, the tool will be a great addition for your small business if you’re just starting out.
- Video Conferencing with join.me
The pandemic has put a lot of pressure on small businesses to pick up digital solutions. As a result, video conferencing has become an integral part of the business world. As a result, video conferencing solutions have become necessary to get the job done. Join.me is an excellent solution for this problem. It lets the user add ten video participants, share screens, and supports video feeds.
Though it might not be the most popular or the most recognised app in the market, it is a worthy contender among the free solutions. It is a must-have free tool for small business owners. Join.me is an excellent choice for businesses that do not primarily rely on video conferencing but need the feature occasionally.
- Application Tracking Solutions with Zoho Recruit
The small business that does not need to hire often absolutely loves Zoho Recruit. It is an excellent applicant tracking tool that allows access to one recruiter and up to five positions at once. The tool allows users to input, publish, and track jobs until they find the right candidate. Dedicated filters only refer your openings to the best-suited candidates that align with your company goals. Generating email templates will also not be an issue as the tool allows five free email templates. Hence, sending similar emails will not be an issue. It is a great option if you wish to get temporary hires in a short period.
- HR Solutions from Deputy
Zoho Recruit will help you find the right candidate, but what about managing the current hires? Small businesses are especially vulnerable to not having a dedicated human resource department. In such cases, employee management falters, and efficiency is affected. However, getting a full-fledged HR department can be rather expensive. So, Deputy is an inexpensive tool for small business owner’s HR needs. The starting plan is placed at $1 per employee per month. Though it might not be a free tool, at $1 per employee, the amount is a very small value compared to the solid returns.
The tool allows you to schedule employee shifts, make announcements, and manage tasks all from one interactive and impressive interface. Premium features, available at higher packages, include timesheet addition and payment integration. The premium package is rated at an additional $2 per employee per month.
- Accounting Solutions from Wave
Balancing the books can be an ordeal for small business owners as they have an abundance of other tasks to tend to. As a result, accounting remains a neglected sector till the business grows to a significant size. However, keeping the books on track will provide esoteric long term benefits. Wave is an excellent free tool for small business owners’ accounting needs. The free version provides accounting and reports functionality. Creating and scanning invoices is also highly simplified. Though the basic free service will not meet all the business accounting needs, it will help you get far if used properly. Additional features are unlocked at $19 per month.
- Business Planning with EquityNet
Businesses require a substantial amount of capital to operate. Most of the time, this capital is obtained from investors and venture capitalists. As a result, easy means of procuring investment is imperative for business growth. EquityNet is specially designed to achieve this task. It is a crowdfunding platform that allows users to plan, analyse, and share their business plans with investors. The plan can be generated using EquityNet’s plan and analysis software, which will be published on the website and will be available to anyone who is willing to read it. As a result, the platform might also attract some deep-pocketed investors.
- Social Media Analysis with HootSuite
Small businesses have never required dedicated social media marketing in the past. However, the scenario has changed dramatically over the years. The pandemic has further exacerbated the situation. Nowadays, everything is online. As a result, social media analytics have become a necessity for small businesses. HootSuite is a must-have tool for small businesses willing to expand their social media presence. The free, easy-to-use interface is highly interactive and provides real-time data. The paid version starts at $29. However, the free version can do the job reasonably well.
HootSuite allows you to manage multiple social media networks, schedule posts, and interact with your followers all from one app. Post analytics such as most clicks, likes, and shares are also available. If you wish to exercise aggressive social media marketing, then opt for the paid plans, but for the basic requirements, the free version is sufficient.