24 Feb 2020, 14:15 — 6 min read
A number of small businesses, especially from the traditional sectors, whom we interact with are concerned about the cost of bringing ‘digital’ into their business. They understand the importance of it yet are worried about the ‘investment’ required. We often advise them, that you can start your path of digital transformation with almost no investment. There are plenty of tools available free of cost that can aid a small-growing business in its digital journey.
Here is a list of six tools which are absolutely free to use for your small business. By virtue of using these tools for our own business, and implementing them for our clients—both free as well as paid versions, we have seen how they can immensely help a growing business.
This is a no brainer. Every business, irrespective of its size, must have a Customer Relationship Management tool. If you are still maintaining an excel sheet, it is time to move to a cloud-based CRM tool. Hubspot CRM is 100% free for life. You can manage all your contacts (your leads/ customers etc) in this, with a host of facilities. It supports up to 1 Million contacts (I am sure you can manage with that much!) with no expiration date. Some of the key features are Pipelines for lead nurturing, enriched contacts, email tracking & notifications, prospectus tracking, meetings, live chat etc. It is a full-fledged CRM, that can be used by a B2B or a B2C company.
Also read: 10 benefits of CRM for small business owners
Increase your website engagement with a live chat boosted with bots! Tidio gives a free for life plan, that supports 3 users. It has email and messenger integration, and a limited number of chatbot triggers. The dashboard is simple and easy-to-use.
When you are running a small business, resources would be always stretched, to manage different social media pages. That is where Hootsuite comes in. You can manage your social media pages through this and schedule the posts so that you don’t miss your social media engagement. The Free version lets you manage 3 social media profiles (sufficient for a small business), with one user.
Move your team from email and Whatsapp to Flock. This messenger and online collaboration platform make internal communication faster for your team. You can create separate channels for different tasks/ departments or projects (for eg, Sales Team, Marketing Team, etc) and add team members to them. You can also share files, links etc between team members by dragging and dropping. These are just a few of the many facilities available in Flock. The free version of Flock supports unlimited 1-1 messages, up to 5 GB space for the team, and 10 channels.
Also read: 4 ways social media can help your business
Promoting your products or service, and reaching out to existing clients through email would be an integral part of every business. You can use the free account of Mailchimp for this. It supports a list of up to 2000 email ids, to which you can send unlimited emails a month! There are ready templates available, which you can easily customize with your images and text messages. Reports of all email campaigns, like open/ view/ click rate etc, are available in the dashboard, which will help you in improving your email communication.
To manage your accounts, generate invoices and track payments from anywhere, you can go with one of the cloud-based accounting tools. We suggest choosing between:
Zoho Invoice is an online GST compliant invoicing software for your business. The only challenge with Zoho invoice is the free version is limited to just 5 clients. So if you have more customers, then this option cannot work.
Zipbooks is easy to use, intuitive interface and a free version that supports most of the requirements of a small business.
Akaunting is an open-source tool. You can download it, set it up on your own hosting server and your financial data will be completely in your hand. They also have a free cloud version, where you can easily sign-up, and start using.
These six absolutely free tools can help a small and growing business to start its digital transformation journey. On-cloud, feature-rich, advanced and free, these tools can improve your communication, customer experience and relationship, marketing and promotion and finance management, without any investment. Here I would also like to mention that GlobalLinker is a wonderful online platform where entrepreneurs can sign up for free, expand their business network, access a host of knowledge resources and business efficiency tools and even create a customised ecommerce store for free.
Try these tools out today and start utilising their power to grow.
Also read: Design and market your way through customers' minds with these resources
Image source: shutterstock.com
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Posted byRajesh Joseph
Director for Creative & Media Solutions. Manages Strategy for Creative and Digital Media for Small, Medium Brands and Start-ups. Design and implement media, content and...