11.4 Must-Have Free Online Business Tools
Yes, free forever!
Okay, so no matter what do you in business, there are business tools you’re going to use, right? I mean, if you are a carpenter, you need a saw, and if you’re a plumber you need a plunger or something, right? You need tools to make things happen. You’d darn well better bet there are must-have free online business tools you need if you want to grow a successful online store…and the best part is?
FREE, people! Which is my favorite price for pretty much everything I need to buy. (Ahem. Selling is another story…)
Yes! There are awesomely free online business tools out there to use as you start and grow your e-commerce business.
Not surprisingly (as we're talking an online business) these are all online tools. They're also kind of a variety of things because there are a LOT of aspects to building an e-commerce business. The free online business tools I'm going to talk about aren't sales platforms, either—they're the kinds of things you'll use every day to keep things organized, create marketing materials, and communicate.
Let’s get going!
Admit it: you either use the same password for everything or you have a photographic memory. Because otherwise, you KNOW you've forgotten a password a time or two. C'mon…' fess up. I'm not ashamed to tell you that in the past I was a pro at sending password reset requests because between life and work I had tons of accounts to login to. Well, no more! I use LastPass, which stores your passwords securely. It's crazy easy to use, it works on phones, computers, tablets, etc., and it completely avoids you from having to remember the password you once set that was along the lines of IH8P@sswords. Also, you can securely share your passwords with people you trust, and they never actually know what it is. Genius, I tell you! I think this is my favorite small business online tool ever!
Were I ever to write a love song (I won’t) it would probably be about Trello. I LOVE Trello. Trello is the organization tool for people like me, who go about a billion miles an hour and have roughly 830 tasks that need to be handed off. It’s great to assign tasks AND also a bomb-diggity place to store critical items that you need to share, like logos or brand colors. Did I also mention it's easy to use? (Psst! I even use it to assign my kids their chores!)
My friends, we need a moment. If you are still using email providers like Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, or AOL…it needs to stop. I'm not joking. These all had their place back in the day. But if you want to make sure that emails get to you, you NEED a Gmail account. Yes, it's free. And you know what else is free? Gmail suite, which you get when you sign up for an email account. If you don't want to pay for Word or Excel, no worries. You can use Google Docs and Google Sheets. Store files. And send files easily. Go sign up for your Gmail account today. No arguments.
What the heck is InShot? Well, you're going to love it because it lets you pop words on your photos and videos and make them look pretty dang cool. Now, are there ads? Yep. Have I bought anything? Nope. Go follow me on Facebook, and you'll see how I use it all the time for my business. And yes, it's available in both the AppStore and Google Play, so all phones are equally loved.
Did you just see that and think…um, Alison, Lightroom is SO not free? Well, prepare to be amazed, because it is zero cost when you use it on your phone. That is correct: you can snap a product pic, make it look **amazing** and boom, it’s ready to go. All without having to pay tons o’ cash for a desktop version. Give me a Hallelujah!
I’m sure there are people out there who religiously download photos from their phone and clear their folders out. Guess who isn’t one of them? That would be me. Yes, I have 20,000 (twenty thousand!) photos on my phone. Is it ridiculous? Yes. But there they are. Except…I just found Slidebox and love it. It was designed by former Amazon developers who (like me) had waaaaaay too many pictures. You know how you take 15 pictures to get one with everyone’s eyes open and no random stains on shirts? Yeah, this app lets you sort through them, keep the ones you actually want and puts them into easy-to-deal with albums. Yes. Please.
I love reading (and posting) fun or inspirational quotes on social media, and Word Swag is the king (queen?) of all that business. You just put in your quote, push a couple of numbers and boom. Beautiful quote, ready for posting. See the awesomeness at wordswag.co. Hello, freebie for your instagram business game!
Have you ever been on a website that crawls….soooooo…..dang…..slow……? Well, you don’t want yours to be that way, and GTMetrix is the helper extraordinaire on that one. Type in your URL, it starts to comb away, and in just a couple of seconds, you can see your page speed score. Once you know what's happening, you can start fixing it.
Yes, we’re back to “the Google.” Google has a phenomenal option for small businesses that are just getting started out (and really, anyone can take advantage of the opportunity.) You can get a Google Voice number that words EXACTLY like any other phone number to put on your website. People can call you and you can either take the call or let it take a message. It can even send you a transcribed text of the voicemail (and some of them are pretty dang funny translations.) It just makes your business feel “real” to your customers. (Because it is!)
Zoom has completely changed the way I do video conferences. First, it’s incredibly stable, and I have had fewer problems than honestly any other platform. Second, the free version caps your meeting time to just 45 minutes—which is a GIFT. Knowing there’s a time limit actually makes meetings more productive. I love them.
Marketing your business can be insanely expensive. But Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are absolutely FREE. If you want to show how your products work and take questions? Facebook Live costs you zip, zilch, nada. It's just your time! You can post a dozen pictures of your products a day on Instagram, and make a fantastic, in-depth how-to video on Facebook. I'm still having people reach out to me about things I pinned years ago! These free resources are a goldmine of opportunity—so no complaining about them. Use them. Use them a lot.
Whew!!! So that was a whole bunch of information, between my video and the list of small business online tools that are free! But…
GOOD NEWS! I have another free business tool for you. It's a .pdf that summarizes the free online business tools I've mentioned here, all on one page, and you better bet I'll send it to you for zero cost. Just click the link above, and you'll be on your way to having it delivered to you—no charge—in your Messenger inbox.
Have you ever wondered if an online business is right for you? Take this 3-minute quiz!