Updated: May 1
Being a business owner can stretch you in ways that are both rewarding and challenging. From managing finances to posting on social media, you do it all. Discovering new free and budget-friendly resources for your business can be crucial to your success. Plus, who doesn't like free?
We've compiled the ultimate list of free and low-cost tools to help you save time and money. Whether you've been in business for 40 years or 40 minutes, these tools can bring peace of mind to your day-to-day life at prices that won’t break the bank.
Here are some quick links if you'd like to jump to a certain topic:
How can I start building my brand?
Design & Creative Resources
Hubspot's Brand Kit Generator: This tool helps you create professional logos, color palettes, and icons for all your business needs.
Background Remover: Quickly remove the background of any image in just 5 seconds with this free tool.
Emojipedia: A free emoji search engine that allows you to browse every emoji by name, category, or platform.
Ripl: Our all-in-one app helps you create, schedule, and post your social media. Get customized recommendations and ready-to-use templates for your business.
How do I get my name out there?
Hubspot CRM Suite: This marketing and sales platform includes several helpful marketing tools. Start with a free account and upgrade to a low-cost plan as your business grows.
How can I meet other people in my industry?
Networking & Mentorships
SCORE Business Mentors: SCORE offers free counseling from experienced business owners who are eager to help you succeed.
MeetUp: Sign up for free to find local networking opportunities at in-person and online events.
Small Business Administration's Website: Find topics on everything you need to run a business on SBA’s website. It has resources including funding, training, and counseling.
National Association of Women Business Owners: The NAWBA has local chapters where you can network with other supportive women in business.
What are the latest trends?
Industry News & Trends
Big Ideas for Small Businesses: This blog covers various topics related to small business management, marketing, and growth.
The Balance - Small Business: From practical advice to finance and ownership, this site answers many of your most common questions.
Instagram for Business Blog: Having a presence on Instagram is a must! It is the first place most potential customers look to check out a new business. This official blog from Instagram provides news, tips, and inspiration for its business users.
Forbes: Small Business In 2023: Experts Predict Trends: This Forbes article provides insights into the future of small businesses.
Small Business Sisters Podcast: Two sisters who run their own company share their personal take on life along with the struggles of entrepreneurship.
Making Good: Small Business Podcast: Exploring the intersection of business and social impact, this podcast is for people who "want a business that makes them money, makes them proud, and makes the world a better place."
LinkedIn: 17 Best Small Business Podcasts: LinkedIn offers a curated list of its top 17 business podcasts that are worth a listen.
How can I organize my ongoing projects?
Project Management & Communication
Airtable: An easy-to-use online platform for creating and sharing relational databases. But don't let that intimidate you! This tool is excellent for creating nearly anything, "from tracking cattle to planning an event to tracking sales leads." At Ripl, we use it as a project management tool to help plan, organize, and collaborate on tasks and campaigns. And, you can create a free Airtable account!
Trello: This is a project management tool that helps you stay organized and collaborate with your team with features like boards, lists, and cards. Trello also has a free option if you're just getting started.
Google Workspace: This cloud-based suite of productivity tools includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. You can use many of Google's tools for free with a Gmail email account. Or you can create a low-cost Workspace for your business.
Slack: This team collaboration platform offers a free version and has chat, voice and video calls, file sharing, and loads of integrations with other tools. It's how we chat at Ripl!
How can I keep track of my finances?
Financial & Invoicing Software
Wave: Free cloud-based accounting software that offers bookkeeping, invoicing, and receipt tracking, perfect for smaller-sized businesses.
FreshBooks: If you’re needing more than what Wave offers, FreshBooks has a similar offering but is a bit more robust with features like time tracking and project management features.
Gusto: This full-service payroll platform offers a one-month free trial and was rated highly for small businesses.
TurboTax: Tax preparation software that also offers audit support, which provides free assistance if you get an IRS or other tax notice.
Where can I get additional funding?
Funding & Grants
Government Loans: Depending on the type of loan you’re looking for, this site has information on government loans for small businesses.
Grants: If you’re looking for funding through available grants, the Small Business Association's website provides information on several different types of grant options for small businesses.
American Express: More than a line of credit option, Amex cares about small businesses. They started Small Business Saturday® on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to "encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses."
How can I donate a portion of my proceeds?
Grateful: This is a giving platform that helps businesses give to nonprofits that matter most to their customers and employees. This is the tool we use at Ripl for our giving efforts.
As a business owner, finding the right resources and tools can be a critical factor in achieving success. That's why it's essential to identify methods that can save you both time and money. Hopefully, this list has given you a valuable starting point with plenty of budget-friendly and free options. Remember, your business's success is within your reach with the right resources. So take advantage of this ultimate guide to achieve your goals!
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