The Best Free Business Applications For Small Business
Any small business owner, with only a handful of employees should take advantage of the range of free software being offered today. As SAAS (software as a service) becomes more widely adopted, pricing models are often set up to provide a way for larger companies to run obligation free trials on a select group of employees with the idea being that they will eventually sign up for the paid version.
If you are looking for ways to increase your company's efficiency while not dipping into the company purse, you should be taking advantage of this to get a competitive edge over the competition. To save you having to trial out hundred of options, we have decided to put together a list of what we believe to be the best business apps on the market with generous free plans that entrepreneurs can make the most of to run just about every aspect of their small business.
To make the list, offerings must have the following:
Free access for an unlimited time - Not just free trials, all applications in this article have a free plan that is unlimited in the amount of time that you can stay on that level and limited only by the number of users and features available.
Trusted - These are mostly mission critical aspects of your operation and you need to know your data is safe.
Supported - Every one of these applications has both customer support and a large knowledge base. Just because you are a free user does not mean you do not help getting setup with their products. The more successful you are at the beginning the more likely it will be that your business grows and eventually become a paying customer so support is critical.
Here Is Your Ultimate Guide To Free Business Software
Accounting Software, Receipt Scanning, Invoicing
Wave is a popular choice for small businesses looking to run their accounting in the cloud. It is designed specifically with small business in mind and the accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning features are 100% free, and you can use them as much as you like with no limitations. With our three million customers, you can be sure Wave is a tested, reliable accounting solution featuring:
• Banking feeds
• Income tracking
• Expense tracking
• Receipt scanning
• Customer invoicing
Productivity, Project Management
Trello is your team's to-do list on steroids. Manage tasks within your company with ease and collaborate effectively with Trello's fun and simple to use web and mobile apps. Their generous free tier is more than enough for small business and includes:
• Unlimited boards
• Unlimited lists
• Unlimited cards
• As many members as you need
• Team checklists
• Attachments as large as 10MB
• One free power up each board
#3 SINC Employee Time Clock
Timesheets, Employee Scheduling
Timesheet fraud and inaccurate timesheets cost companies billions of dollars each year. A mobile time clock solution is one effortless way you can increase the bottom line of your business when you are just starting out.
SINC's founders have a firm belief that small businesses are the lifeblood of our society and that very small companies often need a helping hand in the early days. That is why small teams of under five can use the majority of SINC's features free of charge, including:
• Access to the web version and mobile apps
• Employee time clock
• The ability for employees to leave notes and images on shifts
• Exportable payroll reports that convert punch times to decimal hours
• Staff clock-in notifications
• Emergency contact collection
The premium version starts at only $10 USD per month for the first five users and includes: The option to have more than one admin on the account. Staff scheduling. Staff shift reminders. Health and safety reporting
Company Communication, File Sharing
Slack is your ultimate business communication tool that brings all of your messaging into one organized, searchable platform. All of your company communication is available on multiple devices, wherever you go. Slack is the smart way to talk with your team. Their free service is more than enough for any small business and include:
• Company Chat
• Discussion boards
• A searchable index of your companies last 10K messages
• Mandatory two-factor authentication
• One on one voice calls
• 5GB of storage
With data security at the front of everyone's minds in 2019, using long, randomized passwords to all of your online accounts in a must if you a running a business. The problem is trying to keep a secure record of all of these passwords, and that is where is solid password manager is needed.
Out of all of the password managers on the market, LastPass offers the most useful free tier that we have found.
With the advances in security in cloud computing, it is our opinion that you should move away from on-device mail services such as outlook and onto a cloud-based webmail service and Gmail is still the best choice and is backed by the power and speed of Google. Their free service includes:
• Conversations organized into threads
• Solid virus and malware screening
• More than 10GB of mail storage
• 25MB file attachments per message
• Keystroke shortcuts
• Industry leading spam filtering
#7 Google Drive
Cloud Storage, Productivity
Long gone are the days of carrying around portable external hard drives full of essential company files or not being able to send an attachment in an email because it is too large for your mail server to handle. Directly send the attachment as a drive link that everyone can access and collaborate on easily. With Drive, you can upload any file you want to your cloud storage and access them from any device, wherever you happen to be. Google drive is free for up to 15GB and includes:
• Access to Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and more
• Storage of any file
• Drag and drop
• Offline mode
• Document scanning
• Google photos
Social Media Marketing, Management
Social media marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools in our arsenal. Small business owners often have to wear a lot of different hats when starting and managing social media profiles can suck up a lot of time. That is where Hootsuite comes in. Their free tier allows you to manage up to three of your companies social accounts enabling you to schedule your content in advance and effectively engage with your audience all from the one platform.
Mailchimp's email marketing platform is popular among small businesses looking for a helping hand with their email marketing automation. Email lists are a great free growth hack that owner-operators can implement into their marketing plan, and MailChimp makes the process of managing lists, sending scheduled messages and complying with anti-spam laws a breeze.
Their generous free plan is more than enough to get good traction with your email efforts and includes:
• Up to 2k Subscribers
• Send up to 12k emails each month
• Multiple users on your account
• Online training resources
• A/B Testing
• And much more!
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
With security at the top of mind for most small business entrepreneurs, a robust VPN solution is a must-have in 2019. CyberGhost works across both Mac and Windows and can be counted on for industry-leading speed and security. Fear not about your data leaking when sending it across the internet. Their sound encryption ensures you can go about your online business with peace of mind.
#11 Zoho CRM
A good customer relationship management is a vital part of running sales within your company. Often sending out quotes is only the first step to winning new business. Following up with prospects is usually the difference between success and mediocrity.
While managing leads on a spreadsheet in the early days seems like an adequate solution, once you start to get into the hundreds of prospects and live quotes, this becomes in, and that is where Zoho CRM comes in and offers small companies a free plan that includes:
• Three company user accounts
• Lead management
• Contact management
• Account level selling
• Opportunities management
• Call logs
One common trait of successful entrepreneurs is note taking, and no other application is more accepted as the best solution than Evernote. Their free plan is suited for individual business owners to manage their thoughts throughout the day and access them on any device through the cloud.
• 60mb monthly upload limit
• 25mb max note size
• Two devices using the same account
• Offline access on desktop