Tools. Every small business owner needs them, especially when they're free. Fortunately, the Internet is full of free services and products to help out small business owners. They don't all apply to everyone, though. Every small business has different needs and priorities; so signing up for any and every tool out can be a waste of time (and a headache for your email inbox). Luckily, there are a few tools that fit the needs of every merchant. They are as follows:
- EchoSign by Adobe: Everyone is familiar with paperwork and its costs. Printers come from helland buying the right paper and ink is always a hassle. Fortunately, there's EchoSign, Adobe's E-signature service. With EchoSign you can send, e-sign, track, receive and store documents online. It's the paperless solution to all of that legal paperwork that builds up over time. Even better, you can send and sign right on your mobile device. This service is so cool and ingenious we might even add it to our list of reasons to go paperless. For more information on their free plan, click here.
- Hootsuite: Social networks are free, but thank goodness Hootsuite has a free version too. Hootsuite is a free social media management tool that lets you both post on any social network and oversee your community activity right from the service. They have mobile apps too, and they're constantly updating their service with new features and functionalities. If you're active on social media, or thinking about doing social media for your business, then you should try out Hootsuite.
- Google Drive: One of Google's gems, Google Drive lets users upload, create, share and collaborate on any kind of file from spreadsheets to documents to surveys. The ability to collaborate in real-time on any file type takes convenience to a new level. There aren't limits on the amount of users you can share files, either, so go ahead and collaborate with your entire team. It's free. It'sfast (really fast). And it's secure.
- Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a must for small business owners who are serious about their online presence. It's an easy-to-use, yet extremely powerful tool for analyzing your website's traffic. You can view anything from sources to referrals to keyword searches. You can also cross-reference most of the metrics. So, say you received 100 referrals from Facebook today, you can cross that with your landing pages to find out how many of those 100 went to which page on your site. Whether you're running a campaign online or you're just curious, Google Analytics has the solutions for you.
- Evernote: Evernote is amazing because with it, you'll get rid of paper and never lose an important document again. You can save anything from notes to pictures and organize it with tags and categories. You can also access all of your files from your computer, your phone, or your tablet. In other words, you don't have to carry around a briefcase anymore; all you need is your Evernote apps. You can also share folders and documents with other Evernote users, making collaboration possible on the go. Evernote is a time saver and the busy person's best friend.
- Dropbox: Dropbox is the personalized cloud. You get 2GB of free space, for you to use however you like. You know when you want to email a really important file but you can't because it's too big? Not on Dropbox. There is no limit to how big a file you can upload, you use your 2GB however you want! Once uploaded, you can then make a file public and share it with a unique link to whoever needs to see it. Documents, videos, pictures, it's all possible with Dropbox. You can also customize your cloud with folders and other functions, and you can then access them from pretty much any device. Storage has never been so easy.
- Mailchimp: Mailchimp is a must those small business owners who are all about keeping their clients informed via email. Check this out: if you have less than 2,000 suscribers and send less than 12,001 emails per month, the service is absolutely free! Twelve thousand emails is a whole lot of mail, and while I don't think anybody would like to receive that amount of emails from one company, it's great to know that your chances of going over are very, very small. The free version doesn't expire and there are no contracts nor do you need to put your card information. So, what are you waiting for?
Check out Small Business Patch for more tips and articles for small businesses.