Running a business can be hard work. You can feel like you are moving at a million miles an hour, with a million things to do.
Luckily there are loads of apps and tools out there that can help you organise your life and your business, and this can make things run much more smoothly and efficiently.
But how do you know which tools to use?
As a new entrepreneur or business owner, money can be tight.
While many apps are certainly worth the money, you can only spend your money once. So it’s a good idea to find some business management tools that don’t break the bank. Or better yet, some free ones.
So, in this blog, we’ll explore some free tools that you can use as an entrepreneur or freelancer to help you organise your life and business.
What is a business management tool?
So first things first, let’s think about what a business management tool actually is.
A business management tool can be any of the systems, applications, or methodologies that a business uses to help improve business performance.
There are a number of different types of management software tools and applications that can be used, including:
- Scheduling tools
- Task management tools.
- Email and social marketing.
- Social media scheduling tools.
- Communication tools
- And more…
Let’s look at some of the ones that we can’t live without.
What business management tools should you use in your business?
Now that you know what a business management tool is, let’s look at what our go-to tools are.
Note: Most of these tools work on a freemium model. This means they have both a free and paid version, and not all of the core features are available on the free options. This is helpful as it means the software can grow with your business.
- Google Calendar – best free calendar tool
- Google Docs – best free office suite
- Calendy – best Free Tool For Scheduling Meetings
- Trello – best free tool for managing projects
- Canva – best free image editing software
- Toggl – best free time tracking tool
- Slack – best free tool for team communication
- Hubspot – best free CRM
- Mailchimp – best free email marketing software
- Publer – best free social media manager
1. Google Calendar – best free calendar tool
Google is not only home to the world’s leading search engine, it also has a number of freemium applications that allow you to organise your life and your documents.
One of these is Google Calendar, a free calendar service. Not only does it allow you to schedule your time, but it also allows you to:
- Share your calendar with colleagues or clients
- Let people know when you are offline
- Schedule meeting rooms
- And more…
It’s quick and easy to use Calendar.
2. Google Office Suite – best free office suite
There is no doubt that running a business requires a number of office applications, whether you organise everything via spreadsheets, need a document to write or plan, or just need a place to write down all your thoughts.
Gone are the days of having to install office applications onto your computer, which take up space.
Google offers free office applications for personal use (for one person, with limited storage space), that are cloud-based and integrated for ease of use. These applications include:
If you want to use it for business use, integrate a professional-looking email, or have multiple users then you can use the paid Google Workspace, which integrates all the above applications for a monthly cost.
3. Calendy – best Free Tool For Scheduling Meetings
Tired of going back and forward via email to get a time that suits you and your clients (or colleagues) for meetings?
There is a way to eliminate this…
Calendy is a free, easy-to-use, online scheduling tool that allows your clients to book a time slot (from pre-set available time-slots) that suits them.
You are able to set different ‘types’ of meeting ie. for different lengths of time, or for different services.
For example, a ‘pick my brain’ call might be one hour, whereas an onboarding call might be 90 minutes.
You are also able to block out times that don’t suit you. So you’ll never get an appointment booked at an inappropriate time again.
4. Trello – best free project management app
Want a way to track your ongoing work from start to finish?
Trello aims to simplify collaboration, manage projects and improve productivity. It can be used solo, or as part of a team.
If you are working with others Trello allows you to see the status of tasks, and assign them to particular people.
5. Canva – best free image editing software
Canva is an easy to use design platform that allows users to create professional looking social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content without any design experience.
It comes equipped with in-built templates, a simple drag-and-drop tool and a collection of photographs, graphics and fonts.
Some of the main features of Canva include:
- Adding text to photos
- 8,000 Templates
- Photo filters
- Free icons
- Photo frames
Canva is excellent for producing quality, recognisable content with very little effort and design know-how.
6. Toggl – best free time tracking tool
As a freelancer, sometimes your days can totally run away from you.
Toggl is a free time tracking tool that allows you to see how much time you are spending on each task.
Tracking your time can help you by making sure you stay on track and don’t procrastinate when you are meant to be working. And it is also crucial for pricing future jobs.
By understanding how much time you spend on client work allows you to price appropriately and is particularly helpful if you bill based on time.
7. Slack – best free tool for team communication
As a freelancer or entrepreneur, it’s common that you’ll be working alone or remotely. So it’s important that you have a simple and effective way to communicate with your team or clients.
Slack is a free messaging app that gives you one platform for all your communications. It’s got a lot of features built into it including:
- Real-time messaging
- Conversation channels
- Private messaging
- File sharing
- Search function
- Individual or team video calls
Slack is something that we use at Velvet to communicate with our worldwide team in an easy and manageable way.
8. Hubspot – best free CRM
As you grow, you need a way to track what clients you are working with, and one way to do this is using a CRM system.
Hubspot will help you easily create contact and company profiles, and organise every single detail about the customer communication with you.
It’s a great solution for those who are just getting started with a Customer Relationship Management system, and lacks the confusing complexity that other CRM systems often have.
However the possibilities are endless with Hubspot, and some of the key features with Hubspot are:
- Customize views
- Deal and Task Board
- Email Integration
- Phone Integration
- Website Integration
- Company Database
- Website Visitors
- Email Connections
9. Mailchimp – best free email marketing software
Building your email list is always a good idea. It’s an asset that you own, and allows you to communicate directly with your customers or potential customers.
Plus, email marketing pretty much outshines every other form of marketing, with an average of $38 return, for every $1 spent, that is a whopping 3800% return.
Mailchimp is a free, and easy-to-use email marketing system. It allows you to create a welcome series, as well as broadcasts to all of your email subscribers.
The free version is fairly limited, but it does allow you to get started, with everything you need and once ready you can upgrade to a paid plan.
10. Publer – best free social media manager
Some people are loyal to one, and although they do many of the same things we love Publer.
Publer allows you to schedule posts directly to:
Plus, it allows you to add images, videos as well as use italic, bold and underlined font. And as if that were not enough, Publer allows you to easily add alt text and captions to your social media posting, for accessibility
Looking for an easy-to-use payment system?
Having the right tools and software in place, will make your life as a freelancer or entrepreneur so much easier and allow you to be more efficient and productive.
It’s entirely possible to start out with some great free applications to help run your business. At some point, when suitable, you can upgrade to the paid application, which may offer you more features.
In addition to all these, you need to be able to make and receive multi-currency payments quicker than you can read this!