Not many startups have enterprise-level budgets. Founders are always looking for low- or no-cost ways to grow their companies without sacrificing quality. Unfortunately, founders of bootstrapped startups also tend to be exceptionally busy, which means they rarely have time to research all the best options on the market.
If you need help finding the best free software for your business, fear not. These tools offer incredible functionality with no strings attached:
Entrepreneurs focus so much on their products and go-to-market strategies, they sometimes get bogged down in the day-to-day realities of running a business. No matter how brilliant your business plan or how dedicated your employees, you still have to pay everyone the right amount on time if you want to keep your team together and productive.
If a payroll service doesn’t fit in the budget quite yet, OnPay’s payroll calculator lets you figure out exactly how much to pay employees and how much to withhold for taxes. It can also figure out deductions for 401(k) and HSA contributions. If you have a custom deduction like a voluntary charitable contribution, you can include that, too.
2. Google Analytics
Every company with a website should use Google Analytics. As the king of the internet, Google can help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and gain insight into the sources of your web traffic.
Plenty of other companies compete in the crowded analytics space, but Google’s free options provide everything small companies need. You can access intuitive charts, detailed reports, and more, then share your findings with your teams through other Google products to design more effective marketing plans. If you decide you need more juice, Google has premium options as well.
When an investor or potential partner wants to see your business plan, do you know how to write a great one? If not, you’re in luck, because Bplans has all the templates and advice you need.
With more than 500 sample plans for industries ranging from technology to finance and everywhere in between, Bplans provides an essential service for companies just getting started. Whether you’re looking for your first big investment or planning to shift directions, check out the options on Bplans to clarify your goals and look professional in the process.
MailChimp offers an incredible deal for small companies looking to grow from small subscriber lists. Its free plan lets you send 10,000 emails every month to up to 2,000 subscribers without paying a dime for the privilege.
Sure, MailChimp would like you to grow your business enough to pay for one of its larger plans, but wouldn’t you like that, too? Don’t be afraid of committing to an email service you may not like down the road — for free and paid subscribers alike, MailChimp is one of the best options on the market.
Small businesses need to know how their customers feel. Quit guessing about consumer sentiment, and ask your audience directly using SurveyGizmo’s free account.
The free version of SurveyGizmo lets you have three surveys open at a time. You can collect up to 100 responses per survey and ask questions with a variety of answer styles (multiple choice, short answer, rating scale, etc.). Again, this tool is better suited to businesses with smaller customer bases looking to expand, but the paid tools for larger companies are more than worth the investment.
Internal communications shouldn’t slow down your productivity. With Slack, you can take advantage of tools like instant messaging, video calls, file sharing, and more for $0 a day.
The free plan lets you keep 10,000 searchable messages on hand, just in case you need to prove to someone that you definitely called the winner of last night’s game. Slack doesn’t limit channels on the free plan, so you can create new channels for every project, interest, team, or whatever else suits your needs.
Most CRM tools feel packed with unnecessary features and designed for companies that have thousands of employees. Apptivo is different. Apptivo’s free plan allows you to connect up to three users and provides all the basic functionality a growing company needs in a CRM without any of the fluff.
Paid plans start at just $8 per user per month, so even if you outgrow the free option, you won’t have to break the bank to keep things running. Until you hire new people, though, you shouldn’t need to upgrade. The free plan includes everything from opportunity management to notifications. If you have a small team and need some help to boost your sales, look no further.
As a small business owner, you might feel like everyone’s out to get a piece of your income. These great tools prove that’s not the case. Instead of shelling out cash to handle every business function, keep more of your money and use these free options so you can build on a budget.
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Editor In Chief at ReadWrite
Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.