When your business is growing faster than you can keep up with, anything that saves you time and stress is a godsend.
Anything that makes life easier without draining your budget is even better! There are a lot of useful (and free) online tools out there so … why don’t you use them?
With that in mind, here are 8 amazing online tools no growing business should be without… and what’s more, they’re all either entirely free or very affordable.
In this article, we’ll show you how to save time (and not stress!) by using 8 of the best online tools to:
- Manage projects seamlessly with Freedcamp
- Run all your social stuff through Buffer
- Collaborate on documents using the Google suite
- Stay on the same page with Fleep
- Catch up from anywhere through Skype
- Set up meetings with minimal stress using ScheduleOnce
- Organize all your business travel with TripIt
- Handle all your email marketing with EmailOut
FREE / Paid subscriptions start at $1.49 per month
This is an excellent project management tool where you can create tasks, add and assign team members, post updates, files and comments, and link directly to Google Docs. The calendar view gives you an immediate idea of upcoming deadlines and you can check off items as they are completed to keep the whole team in the loop.
FREE / Pro subscription starts at $15 per month
When it comes to social media scheduling, most people immediately think of Hootsuite. It is still considered one of the great online tools, but with the company phasing out free plans and some users reporting integration problems with Facebook and Instagram, it’s worth checking out the alternatives. Buffer is a hugely popular option, allowing you to schedule posts, manage accounts and track interactions all from one dashboard.
The Google suite is an excellent, easy-to-use and gloriously free alternative to Microsoft Office, with the added benefit of being entirely in the cloud. Not only can you store documents where everyone can see them (and manage permissions as required), you can also directly edit these documents in Word-like and Excel-like formats. It means you’re always working from the latest version and can see exactly what changes and comments others have made.
FREE / Business subscriptions start at 5 Euros per month
Fleep is a great instant-messaging and file-sharing alternative to the better-known communication tool, Slack. While the latter is designed for teams that only need to communicate with people inside that one team, Fleep lets you have multiple conversations with lots of different groups, including those from outside your company or who don’t even have the app installed (it can connect with their email instead). This is one of the online business tools which is super-handy if you’re in a small but growing company where you have to wear a lot of different hats!
FREE / You can buy credit and phone numbers in-app
Skype is one of the most useful online tools. It allows you to make free internet calls to anywhere in the world, either as a video or a simple voice chat, and to communicate through instant messaging. What you might not realise is that, by adding credit, you can also use it to make incredibly cheap calls to landlines and mobiles anywhere in other countries. Buying a Skype phone number, meanwhile, means potential customers can call you from anywhere, while still paying low local rates. Great news if you’re going international.
Starts at $7.50 per month / Free trial available
How much time do you reckon you waste just trying to pin people down for a meeting time? The point of ScheduleOnce is to end the phone tag and give your customers, clients, partners or anyone else you need to talk to a really easy way to book an appointment. You decide which parts of your schedule to clear, existing meetings are automatically blocked out, and people can simply choose the slot they want. Easy-peasy! Plus, you can integrate it with Google Calendar.
FREE / Pro version costs $49 per year
Business trips are an inevitable part of growth – and if you’re investing in one, you want to make sure you’re getting as much as possible out of it. TripIt lets you bring together all your booking information, flights, hotels and so forth into a single itinerary that you can access from any device. That way, team members have everything they need to hand and can focus on getting down to business.
FREE for 12,500 sends per month / 1 million sends for £340
Social platforms come and go, but email marketing is still the most reliable and effective method of communication for a growing business. Leveraging your leads, properly segmenting lists, creating awesome emails people actually want to open, carefully split testing your campaigns… all of this is crucial when you’re growing your business and need to maximize the success of your marketing strategy. With EmailOut, you can do all of that for free.
These online tools will help you to tackle those tricky pain points in just about every facet of your business. However, remember that to get the most of them you need to get your whole team on board and excited about using them. Work out what’s most useful for your team and what gives you the most time to spend on growing your company; and then, make using the online business tools a part of your day-to-day business culture. You’ll soon start seeing the benefits!