Free business tools

10 free or low-cost business tools and services I seriously can’t live without

I use a lot of apps, online services and software every day in my work, so I’ve listed some here that I wouldn’t manage without. They’re free or low enough cost to easily justify the investment.

1. Fiverr – freelancers directory

Fiverr

Fiverr is an online marketplace that connects businesses with on-demand freelancers offering services in over 400 categories, including graphic design, programming, animation and more. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences using Fiverr, and you can find a freelancer for as little as £5 (of course!).

They have a massive pool of talent from all over the world. Their review system also helps to remove any doubts about the freelancers’ ability to perform.

2. Canva – online design software

Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, documents, cover images and other visual marketing content. It’s great for those that aren’t great at design or at using design software. The platform is very easy to navigate around and play with, and they provide design templates as well as a huge library of stock-free images (with the pro version).

Canva offers paid subscriptions which have additional features, but the free account has plenty of functionality.

3. Unsplash/Pixabay – free photos and graphics

Unsplash adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days, so there are endless photos of all sorts, but mainly breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Just scroll through the homepage to see gorgeous mountain ranges, colourful sunsets or nature – all in their very high-resolution glory. They’re great to use in social media marketing, newsletters, or on your website. I use their search facility mostly, but sometimes I just browse through the photos to get inspiration and ideas for content.

Another site I use frequently – Pixabay features photos, illustrations and vectors. The images are brilliant, and most of them don’t require any attribution at all. Plus the site’s easy to use – it’s a web designer’s dream!

4. WhatsApp for Desktop

The WhatsApp desktop app is an extension of the app on your smartphone. It mirrors all the conversations and messages you have on WhatsApp on your phone, and allows you to see and reply to them on your PC or Mac using your computer’s keyboard instead.

Why use WhatsApp for Desktop? It’s much faster to type and easier to save images which you might need on your desktop. Also more businesses are communicating with WhatsApp instead of email. I’m in a number of WhatsApp groups now for clients’ projects.

5. ColorSlurp or Eye Dropper – free colour picker tool

Colorslurp

With both ColorSlurp and Eye Dropper, you can pick any colours on your screen and receive the hex numbers with the ultra-accurate magnifier. ColorSlurp is more advanced, but it can only be used on a Mac, whereas Eye Dropper can be used on both a Mac and PC.

6. QuickTime video recorder

QuickTime

QuickTime is a multimedia framework for both Mac and PC, which handles various formats of digital video, picture, sound and panoramic images. The best thing about it is that you can very easily record your whole screen (and sound if needed) – for example if you’d like to demonstrate something on your computer and send it to somebody, rather than type out the instructions in an email! The recipient can then watch it at their own pace and however many times they need to.

7. Zoho CRM – free or paid for online CRM system

Zoho

Zoho is a web-based online productivity tool, which contains spreadsheets, presentations, databases, note-taking, word processing, CRM, project management, invoicing, and more – you can practically run your entire business through it!

This breezy software solution looks and feels like a lightweight cloud project, but it packs in a big number of high-end features and customisation options for business users on a budget.

8. Buffer – social media creation and scheduling

Buffer

Buffer is a web and mobile software application, used to create, schedule and manage social media platforms which include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. It saves users from going on each social media platform individually to share posts and track performance.

With a free account you can add up to 3 social media platforms and schedule 10 posts in advance.

9. Office Serv – virtual registered office address

OfficeServ

Office Serv is a business centre and virtual office service that provides a registered address service. It’s ideal for both start-up enterprises needing a registered address, as well as companies needing a more established look.

It’s low cost and has lots of different additions to choose from, including call answering and forwarding, and mail forwarding.

10. Udemy – low cost online courses

Udemy

Udeumy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 130,000 courses – the world’s largest selection. Their courses cover a massive range of categories, including software, design, marketing, business, photography and personal development. Prices start at just £9.99 per course, with many having thousands of reviews to browse through.

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