Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » What free or cost effective Business tools did you use this year?

What free or cost effective Business tools did you use this year?



I thought I’d share my favourite business tools I have used this year. I am amazed at how many amazing products for business are very inexpensive or often completely free. The only challenge is to find them in the first place.
Here are my top 5 business tools of 2009:
1. Animoto – Allows you to make really impressive videos. You can add text, photos, short video clips and music to the site. Within minutes a jumbled mess will be produced into a highly impressive video. Animoto is free for 30 second videos and as little as $30 a year for full length videos. Here is an example of an Animoto video I made this year.

2. Eyejot – Video email. I have found this a really useful tool to follow up with prospective clients I have met. It enables them to see me again and to hear how I may be able to help them.
This visual email is a powerful follow up after a busy night’s networking. Eyejot is easy to personalise with your own branding. Eyejot is free to use without branding. With branding it is as little as $29.99 per year. Here is an example of a video email.

3. Screenjelly – Allow you to record your computer screen and your voice. I have used this service to comment on cvs and tell them how and where their cv should be strengthened. Once you record your message just send it via email or twitter. Cost – Free

4. Tungle – A great application for the busy entrepreneur. Tungle makes scheduling meetings effortless and synchronises with both Outlook and Google. It makes it easy for staff and clients to see when you are available and set a meeting with you. Tungle is free to use.

5. WiseStamp is  a really nifty and free product that enables you to personalise your email signature. It works on Firefox. It seems to work with most email providers (Gmail ,Yahoo Mail ,AOL, Hotmail, Google Apps…) It is easy to customise. You can add social media buttons to your signature and even your photo.
Here is a sample of a signature or two on Wise Stamp looks:

Signature Template:

John Smith Your City, Country Mobile: +983-23832842

Email: John@wisestamp.com

Chat: Google Talk: John Skype: John MSN:

Signature Greg Fry
Greg Fry
Careers Coach - fast track your career to success
Tel. +353 872039855
Email. greg.fry@careerscoach.eu
Web. www.careerscoach.ie
Blog. http://wwwcareerscoacheu.blog.com

So what top tools have you used in 2009?

Which ones would you recommend and why?



The Author:

Greg is a Social Media trainer and workshop facilitator with the Digital Marketing Institute. He has also delivered lectures and short courses for leading organisations including SureSkills, Socialmedia.ie and The Michael Smurfit Business School. Greg also works with the Ahain Group as a Social Business Consultant. He believes that in order to make social media work for your business you must have a clear business goal, a clearly defined strategy and make sure that everything you do is measureable. Specialities include: Social Media Training | Personal Branding |Social Business Consultancy | Social Strategy Workshops | Interview Techniques | Psychometric Profiling | LinkedIn Training | Facebook Training | Twitter Training | Blogging | Online Video and You Tube Training | Emerging Social Media (Pinterest, Foursquare, Instagram, Google+ etc.) More information at: www.ahaingroup.com and www.careerscoach.ie http://www.careerscoach.ie

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  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Joseph, this is a timely reminder. I met up with Kevin O Leary from Qumas recently and he was truly inspiring.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely Niall, getting the chance to meet some fellow industry professionals is the best thing to do, and I’m sure many would be only too willing to oblige.

  • Anonymous

    Nearly everything I used this year was free. I went to two free conferenes and I made full use o free social networking outlets like Faebook, Twitter and of course, bloggertone.

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ fred

    Great set of tools Greg! Thanks for sharing man. I actually didn’t know about Tungle. It looks very similar to Google Calendar.
    Two other fantastic tools that we use almost everyday are: mailchimp.com (email newsletter made easy), and freshbooks.com (invoices made easy). I guess a third a very cost-effective tool we’ve used a lot throughout the year was You Tube :)

  • Anonymous

    Great one Greg – thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Love the video Greg, thanks for sharing the resources – I have utilised a lot of free stuff this year – even got a course for free :)
    Great ROI :)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing your tips. Keep them coming. Fred, Freshbooks is a great invoicing tool alright.

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Greg, thanks for sharing! Great list.

  • http://www.accountsplus.ie/ Jim Cahill

    Hi Greg,
    good idea.
    I use truecrypt (open-source disk encryption software) for securing the contents of my usb key.
    Wouldn’t want clients info to get into the wrong hands. http://www.truecrypt.org.

    I use toodledo.com for online task management. It’s was designed with GTD in mind and while I haven’t implemented full gtd I like being able to organise my todos by contexts.

    I have been looking for a free tool sending large files to friends/clients and just found sendtoperson.com.

    I’m sure there are others but those are ones I have used in the past week.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing your tips Jim. I love the sound of http://www.truecrypt.org. I use http://www.dropbox.com (a great free tool) to send and share large files.

  • http://twitter.com/EurekaJanet Janet Alexander

    Great list~! Thanks.

    I’ve also used several of the Free tools from Hubspot. Awesome analytics. Add SocialOomph’s tricks and I’ve had great success trimming my work load.

  • Anonymous

    Janet Alexander, Thanks for the advice on Hubspot. Looks great. Someone today also mentioned http://www.proposalkit.com as great tool.

  • http://twitter.com/CreativeDynamix Roisin Markham

    Great idea Greg Have’nt got into the video thing yet but your list will get me started in 2010! This year commenced with a webbased project and it felt like I learned a new free application everyday for almost 3 months.

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/
    http://www.gimp.org/ on line graphics
    http://aviary.com/ Photo-editing, logos, web templates, filters, color palettes, screen capture ++ & they have a good fiscal policy

    Presentations:
    http://prezi.com <<very cool!
    http://www.slideshare.net great way to share information and can be linked to linkedin.

    I also started 2009 by thinking it was great how many free applications were available on the web… but now I wonder how sustainable is it? How do these companies generate money and if we grow to rely on them and they are unsustainable…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing some super tools Roisin.I really like the look of http://www.prezi.com. You make a great point about over relying on products that may not be around tomorrow. Food for thought.

    Have a great Christmas and all the best for 2010.

  • http://twitter.com/LDFerguson Liam D. Ferguson

    Hi Greg. Thanks for the list. I’ve bookmarked this page to check out some of the tools when I get bored of turkey.

    A free tool that I use and find useful is xobni.com – it works within MS Outlook and, among other features, checks e-mail addresses to see if that address is also registered with Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks. Great for seeing if your clients are using the same networks as you, so that you can connect with them.

    Cheers, Liam

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing xobni.com looks like a great tool for Outlook users. Really like the social media features.
    Have a great Christmas and I hope you get some value from some of the tools listed above.

  • http://twitter.com/aharbourne Andrew Harbourne-Tho

    If you use Twitter, especially for search and monitor topics or conversations (both sides), and you like Outlook – TwInbox is great. Allows you to use Twitter within Outlook. I have two installations – one on home PC for a number of accounts and searches and one on my office laptop for focussed searches and alerts. Saves wasting too much time on Twitter. (http://j.mp/aldyPn)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Andrew. I use Tweetdeck and HooteSuite to manage my tweets. However both can be distracting unless one is ultra disciplined at work. So this looks like a super tool to avoid getting sucked into Twitter. Thanks for sharing your tip.

  • http://twitter.com/aileen456 aileen456

    OOPS! there’s a typo here re the OECD study: “are 50% less likely to fail successful”
    should read “are 50% less likely to fail or 50% more likely to be successful”

  • http://www.channelship.ie/ Fred

    Thanks for sharing Aileen! I couldn’t agree more about an accountant being proactive… I thought I was the only one complaining about that until I heard other people’s experiences.
    I have to say though that our accountant started 2010 with the right foot and we’re very happy about that. He’s even on Skype now so we can chat with him without having to pick up the phone any more!

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Thanks for that Aileen – it actually makes me realise that our accountant is very good (which is nice!)

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful observations and nice and humourously put. Thank you. I can relate to most of the comments. I find that even thinking about finding an accountant is something I try to avoid, as I get the depressing feeling that most of them are not very imaginative, more concerned to please the government than they are to please me, and in this country my limited experience so far is that cost structures are vague – which is usually code for ever-expanding or expensive. In short, most accountants seem to be rubbish at making themselves even appear to be an attractive prospect – although you appear to be bucking that trend!

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Aileen, It’s great to see you on here again. Great post by the way :) I love your point around communication, to be fair, accountants are only one of a great many professions that suffer in this regard. You would think that communication is now so much easier to get right with the many tools and channels that are available. However communication is so often paid lip service to by people and businesses, we may pretend to value it but do we really really?

  • http://twitter.com/aileen456 aileen456

    @niall Here’s a particular problem with accountants communication with their clients. A quick survey revealed that MOST of them do not have their client’s email addresses, looking blank at the very suggestion.

    @barney I am glad you have a good one – hold on tight! i thnk there is anew breed out there, and even some of the older breed are asking how they can communicate better. Its a learning curve they are just embarking on. Step one guys – ask your clients for their email addresses!

  • http://twitter.com/drofsocialmedia Brian Prenderville

    great post Greg ! thanks for sharing, will deffo be using some of the tools you recommend and the others below. Weebly is a free website builder that might be worth checking out also.

  • http://www.fuzion.ie Greg Canty

    As a reformed accountant and now someone who is a partner in a Marketing & PR firm I can relate to much of the feedback.

    We have a client, a large firm of Accountants and the main objective is to communicate that they are more than the basic “tick the box” accountants.

    Today (and always to be honest) you need to be an advisor, a partner, someone who looks for business opportunities, a minder – clients want real value for their fee note. Make a Difference!

    On another topic about Accountants and Marketeers working together: http://gregcfuzion.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/accountants-and-marketeers-working-together/

    Greg Canty – Fuzion, Marketing & PR

  • http://www.softwareshortlist.com/products/accounting_software_reviews.html Accounting Software Reviews

    You have a lot of luck there when you have a lot of responses. YOu should thank them in return.The list you’ve given are quite right and searc through the net also for some pointers and tips regarding to that issue. :)