There’s never a dull moment when you own your own business. You don’t report to anyone, but you’re the one on the hook for all the big decisions. You have complete control over what you spend your money on, but the bills never stop coming.
We know how tough it is for small businesses, no matter what you do. That’s why we like gathering up solid resources.
It’s even better when they don’t cost you a thing. Keep reading for 10 freebies you should take advantage of now.
1. Office software
Microsoft Office is pricey. You don’t need to pay for it if you know about this free alternative: LibreOffice. It’s a free, open-source office suite compatible with Microsoft Office files. Since it’s open-source software, the program is continually updated at no charge.
LibreOffice offers six programs that will feel instantly familiar to you if you’ve used Office before. Writer, Calc and Impress are equivalent to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They have most of the same features. You just might need to poke around to find some of them. Even better, LibreOffice can open and edit the documents you made in Office and save new files in Office formats. Download Libre Office here.
2. Accounting software upgrade
Are you fed up with QuickBooks? You’re not alone. Kim hears from listeners all the time looking for a better way to get their accounting done. That’s where NetSuite comes in. It’s the world’s No. 1 cloud business system for good reason. If you’re bogged down in spreadsheets stored locally on your computer, you’ll love the fact that you can access all your data in one place, whenever you want.
Now, the software itself isn’t free, but you can check it out at no cost and see if it’s right for you. And every small business owner knows the right software can save you a ton of time, and that truly does equal money.
To see it in action for yourself, head to Netsuite.com/kim and get a free product tour.
3. Job postings
Sure, you can post on a free job board site like Craigslist. You can attract many candidates on those sites, but you won’t necessarily get the right ones. When you need to hire someone, you don’t have time to wade through a ton of resumes that don’t fit the job.
It’s a ton of work sorting through all of that! You might not even find anyone who fits the job.
That’s why you should use LinkedIn Jobs instead. It can help by matching your role with qualified candidates so you can find the right person quickly. LinkedIn screens for skills, and you can use a ton of different tools to narrow down your search. It really is so much less work.
Right now, you can post a job for FREE at LinkedIn.com/Kim.
4. Free phone service
Need an office line and you don’t want to pony up money for it each month? Don’t use your cell phone. You need a separate number. Luckily, you have a few options.
Google Voice is easy to set up and use. You can set up a number with a personalized greeting and free calling throughout the U.S. Tap or click for steps on setting up a Google Voice number here.
TextNow is another option. You can get a free number for your business that goes right to your existing phone. Set up a business voicemail box and keep your work and personal life separate. Tap or click here to get started.
5. Survey software
Want to poll your customers? Send out a survey. This is the best way to see what they really care about, what they want more of or what is keeping them from purchasing something else from your company. You can also get some great ideas from your most loyal users.
Google Forms is free and easy to use. Anyone with a Google account can create a survey at no cost. We’re not talking just basic multiple-choice questions, either. Use page branching and logic to skip certain questions to build a survey that feels customized to each user. You can insert images and YouTube videos, too.
6. Free email newsletters
We’re firm believers that every business should have an email marketing list. Contacting your customers directly is important, and if you only use social media for that, you’re leaving your contacts in the hands of a company that couldn’t care less about you.
Once you get to a certain number of subscribers, you will have to pay up, but when you’re just starting out, MailChimp is a great free option. A free account includes up to 2,000 contacts, 10,000 sends per month and a daily limit of 2,000 email sends. Tap or click here to get started.
7. Shipping materials
Shipping costs add up fast. Did you know the United States Postal Service offers free shipping materials? Get free boxes, forms, stickers, envelopes and cardboard tubes at no cost. The USPS also offers templates for creating your own mailing pieces.
If you just want to save on shipping costs, you can do that, too. You’ll find information on bulk mailings, shipping rates and classes of mail.
8. Logo creation
If your branding could use a makeover, check out logobee. Its free web-based platform, Logo-Maker, has hundreds of templates that you can customize with your brand name, colors and slogans.
How do they make money? If you want your logo in vector format (which is good for print, posters, billboards and large-scale or high-quality graphics), the download will cost you $39.
You can download a PNG file for free, as long as you agree to terms and conditions, which includes a line that says you don’t have exclusive rights to your design — which makes sense. They’re giving you free graphics, which means they’re giving them to everyone else too. In a pinch, though, it works.
9. Social media content
Canva is not your typical photo editor. Yes, you can easily crop photos, add text or resize. But you also get access to countless templates to create your own presentations, social media graphics, greeting cards, marketing materials, posters and anything else you can dream up.
The best part is how easy Canva is to use. It’s a drag and drop, intuitive editor. Try it out the next time you need to resize a photo quickly. Most of this is free, though you can sign up for a paid account to get access to premium images and templates. For basic use, though, a free account should give you everything you need. Try it here.
10. Photo editing software
Maybe you need something a bit more robust than Canva. You don’t need to shell out money for Photoshop every month.
Pixlr X is a photo editing tool that can run in your browser, so there’s no download required to make it work. While it has advanced tools like photo filters and drawing options, it really shines with its simple-to-use cropping and resizing tools.
The program works with all of the most popular browsers like Firefox and Safari, and there are lightweight iOS and Android versions you can download as well.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a professional-grade photo editor that looks almost too similar to Adobe Photoshop. But unlike the real Photoshop, GIMP is totally free to download. It’s the closest thing to Adobe’s software you can get without a subscription.
Another thing we love: GIMP’s official website includes an easy-to-understand tutorial and guidebook, which makes it easy for anyone to master if they’re willing to do some reading.