Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) know how to stretch a dollar to make it go as far as possible. Whether you’re bootstrapping your business on your own or gearing up to seek venture capital backing, it’s important to strategically maximize your budget without sacrificing the quality of your goods or services.
Tight cash flow management is about more than where to find the cheapest printer supplies or least expensive office space. It’s a daily commitment to optimize every dollar you spend across the entire company. Here’s a roundup of 12 free online SMB management tools and resources to help you funnel funds where they’re needed most.
Make it easy for customers to call you on the fly with the Click to Call tool in Google Maps. As Google’s popular “Near Me” search continues to gain traction, it’s crucial for businesses to tie in an online Click to Call option to ensure customers can reach you quickly and easily.
For reputation management and social monitoring, consider using ListenPort. This tool watches the internet for discussions and reviews of your business, and alerts you right away to dissatisfied customers. Resolve complaints and issues promptly via a free SMS number to let customers know you’re attentive and you care.
Yelp for Business Owners is a good resource to help SMBs make the most of crowdsourced reviews, engage new and returning customers, and offer exclusive deals. With 174 million users, businesses can’t afford to ignore this popular consumer gathering place.
Analyze one of your most important customer touch points with Hubspot’s Website Grader. It takes a look at important criteria like SEO, mobile optimization and security, then delivers a grade from 1-100 in just a few seconds. Website Grader lets you know what you’re doing right and which areas of your site need some attention.
If your business has multiple social media accounts, you can simplify the way you manage them by using SocialOomph. This tool includes useful features like a scheduling and posting tool, keyword tracker and more. Many online apps try to be the Swiss Army Knife of social media management tools, but SocialOomph’s free version allows SMBs to focus on the biggest social platforms on the planet.
Google Keyword Planner is an oldie but goodie; it’s designed to help analyze and research keywords and optimize SEO. It gives insight into keyword trends and search volume, allowing SMBs to predict which keywords might perform best. Although Keyword Planner is available at no cost, you’ll need to set up a free Google Adwords account for access.
Tap into Canva to design great visuals that are the cornerstone of today’s effective digital strategies. It takes care of the heavy lifting so you can create beautiful infographics, e-book covers, Instagram posts and more with ease and flair.
To make a memorable logo for your SMB, check out the free logo maker Spaces. Simply type in your business name and select different icons and fonts until you find something you like.
Collaboration platform Marvel allows remote teams to work together on designs and prototypes on any platform and from any device. Dropbox and Google Drive integration keep files synced and up to date so teams are always on the same page.
The U.S. Small Business Administration website is a treasure trove of information for entrepreneurs of all kinds. Whether you’re just starting out or are celebrating your company’s 10th anniversary, you’ll find something of value at SBA.gov. You can’t beat it for information on grants and loans, working with the government or how to capture local engagement.
Savvy entrepreneurs know the key to success is to never stop learning. The free online courses at ALISONlet you learn at your own pace and on your own time. Whether you want to brush up on IT skills or dive into the newest marketing and sales techniques, you’re sure to find what you need at ALISON.
Learn finance and managerial accounting from the ground up with a series of no-cost online courses from MIT Open Courseware. Pick and choose the coursework that benefits your SMB the most or work through the entire curriculum, up to and including graduate-level courses.
Owning an SMB is an incredibly rewarding experience for entrepreneurs, but requires constant vigilance to the bottom line. These 12 free online resources just might give you a little extra breathing room in your budget without sacrificing important facets of your business.
About Lisa McGreevy
Lisa McGreevy is a professional freelance columnist with over 18 years experience covering enterprise products and services, brand marketing, and emerging technology.