Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » 51 Free Resources For Small Businesses

51 Free Resources For Small Businesses



I was inspired by this question to organize a list of free resources for small businesses. Here’s the list broken up by category. All of the below resources are either completely free or offer a trimmed down free plan.

Books and eBooks

Website Analysis Tools

Website and Blog Tools

  • Wufoo – HTML form builder for creating contact forms, web surveys, and invitations so you can collect data, registrations and online payments without writing a single line of code.
  • Unbounce – Create optimized landing pages for your marketing campaigns.
  • Stock.XCHNG – Free stock images for your blog.
  • Microsoft Office Image Site – Free stock images for your blog.
  • Flickr – Images for your website/blog.

Business Collaboration Tools

  • Markup – Share ideas with co-workers by drawing on any webpage with a variety of tools. Lets you express your thoughts, make a point, or simply edit.
  • Dropbox – Document sharing and storage/backup.
  • Skype – Video calling and online phone.
  • Google Voice – Provides free PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide, and free PC-to-phone calls into North America.
  • Google Apps – Lots of business collaboration tools including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and more.

Business Tasks

  • SurveyMonkey – Create surveys to conduct, manage, and analyze research.
  • FreshBooks – Financial record keeping with invoicing and time tracking capability.
  • UserVoice – Customer support and feedback tool. (similar to Get Satisfaction)
  • Get Satisfaction – Customer support and feedback tool. (similar to UserVoice)
  • Evernote – Data capturing service that makes it easy to remember things using your computer, phone, and the web.
  • Ta-da List – Web based to-do list maker.
  • MailChimp – For managing email newsletters.
  • Thunderbird – Email client from Mozilla.

Track Your Competitors

  • Alexa – Monitor website traffic metrics, search analytics, demographics, and more. (similar to Compete)
  • Compete – Monitor website traffic metrics, search analytics, demographics, and more. (similar to Alexa)
  • Google Alerts – Monitor topics of interest on the web, including mentions of your competitors and your own business.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  • Zoho – A suite of more than 20 different online business applications for collaboration, productivity, and other business tasks.
  • Highrise – Dead simple web-based CRM software.
  • vtiger – Open Source CRM software.

Screencast Software

  • Screenr – Web based screen recorder to create and share your screencasts around the web.
  • CamStudio – Open Source software for creating screencasts.
  • Jing – Create screencasts.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

  • WordPress – Easy to use web software you can use to create a website or blog.
  • WordPress plugins – Use plugins to customize your WordPress website to do just about anything you can think of.
  • WordPress Themes – Official repository of free WordPress themes.
  • Drupal – An open source content management platform for building websites and applications. Like with WordPress, Drupal has thousands of add-on modules and designs to customize your site. Drupal is more powerful than WordPress, however, it requires more technical knowledge.
  • Joomla – Open source content management system (CMS) that enables you to build websites and online applications.

Internet Marketing

Software

  • Microsoft BizSpark Program – Becoming a BizSpark member entitles you to free access to most of Microsoft’s tools and software. Only software based companies are eligible.
  • Microsoft WebsiteSpark Program – Provides web development and design companies access to Microsoft Web design and development software and solutions, support, training & marketing visibility.
  • Subversion – Software version control for software based companies.
  • Trac – Ticket tracking/wiki with subversion integration for software based companies.

Bonus

Here’s a massive list of free and open source software packages on Wikipedia.

Do you know of any other great free resources for small businesses?



The Author:

I am the co-founder of Light Point Security, LLC – a startup company developing the next generation in web security products. I am also a project manager for multi-million dollar government contracts. I blog about startups, small businesses, and internet security. http://lightpointsecurity.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Wow Zuly, what a list! I’m using and have used some but you’ve highlighted many new ones I need to check out. Thanks for sharing, Niall

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    My word, what a list, I’ll be busy all weekend and quite a way into next week with that list.u00a0 Lots of them I haven’t heard of either.u00a0 Thanks Zuly.

  • http://twitter.com/ZulyGonz Zuly Gonzalez

    Yup, this list will keep you busy for some time! Glad to hear you’ll get some value out of it.

  • http://twitter.com/ZulyGonz Zuly Gonzalez

    Hi Niall, I’m happy to hear that a lot of these are new to you. I hope they end up being useful for you.

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

    A great list Zuly – welcome to Bloggertone!nnI tried the Ta-Da lsit – and I am wondering is it mainly to collaborate in lists so one can share them and have them edited remotely by others? Does it have a WOW factor? Or does it simply do what it says on the tin?

  • Chris Halcon

    This is a great list. I noticed that it doesnu2019t list any free security software, but many small businesses look to cut corners there. And I canu2019t blame anyone for wanting a free security solution u2013 when budgets are tight, you need to find ways to do more with less. However, we at Symantec have found that there are points to consider if youu2019re dealing with sensitive information, since free security does not offer the same level of protection as a paid, comprehensive solution. For example, if youu2019re a small business that deals with proprietary financial data for your customers, it would be worth it to invest in a paid solution. Here is some additional information that I hope is useful to your readers: http://bit.ly/ivCmuUnChris HalconSymantec

  • http://twitter.com/ZulyGonz Zuly Gonzalez

    Hi Chris, thanks for your comment!nnI’m actually the co-founder of a web security startup, and we developed the safest way to browse the internet. I agree with you that security is often an after thought for many small businesses. And it’s only considered after it’s too late – after all their company’s private information has been stolen. I think that security is much too important to a small business, and I would never recommend a small business rely entirely on free security software. Quality security software costs money, but it is well worth it.u00a0u00a0u00a0

  • http://twitter.com/ZulyGonz Zuly Gonzalez

    Hi Elaine! Ta-da List is one of the tools I haven’t used myself, but there’s definitely no wow factor to it. It simply does what it says it does – allows you to create to-do lists and share them online. I think it’s meant as a gateway drug to their more powerful, paid product. If you are looking for something more than a simple to-do list maker, I suggest looking at the Zoho tools. Something like the Zoho Planner may be more useful for you: http://planner.zoho.com.

  • http://artem.kariavka.info Artem Kariavka

    Add here GitHub, please as version control. http://www.github.com

  • http://twitter.com/MirandaLMay Miranda May

    These are all great tools! My parents own a business and it was a bit of a struggle for my mom to manage the email marketing software, the blog, the website, the survey tool she used, the CRM software and more. If anyone else is dealing with the same problem, I suggest using this thing called GreenRope! It has all of those features and more on ONE, yes one, dashboard. It even lets you keep track of clientele and their purchases by creating an individual calendar for each client. You can create invoices and manage payment collection. I highly recommended it. I’m not sure if there’s anything else out there like it, but it’s definitely made everything easier.u00a0

  • http://www.keystoneclick.com Lori Highby

    I’d add http://join.me to the list.  Free screensharing conferencing and phone conference.  It works AWESOME!!  Also, I totally agree with all the Google products.  We use Google Apps, Voice, Google Alerts, Analytics, etc.  And WooRank is amazing.  Thanks for compiling this list.  Great post. 

  • http://twitter.com/helpmefaqit helpmefaq.it

    Another great resource is: helpmefaq.it, it will allow you to create great-looking online FAQs, with customer-centric metrics to optimize their content and a simple contact-us flow — with many more features including social integration. Your help content is at the center of your site, it needs to be crystal clear so that customers spend time buying or interacting with your service, and not figuring it out.

    Join the beta now: signup.helpmefaqit.com

  • Frank Hogan

    Thanks for the article Elish. Looks like i missed a great seminar. Hope to be in on the next one. My own interest is in possibly importing from China and getting a greater understanding of what are the tools i need for that. Luckily i have a few friends who trade in such a manner with China so hopefully i  can get some advice there.
    Take care and thank you
    Frank

  • http://twitter.com/ElishBulGodley Elish Bul-Godley

    Thanks Frank – am glad you found the post -I hope it gives you an overview of what happened – Perhaps the people at Pivot dublin will accommodate you with more presenattion notes? There are several Chinese Focused events on the horizon – Perhaps look up the Sunday Business post events and Asia Matters http://www.asiamatters.biz/about-us.php

  • Christina Giliberti

    Wow Elish, a killer post!

    The world is getting smaller and smaller by the day but cultures are getting stronger. Businesses that are thriving in international markets are those that understand local cultures and customs.

    I’m half Italian (for my sins) and at weddings we are quite rowdy and constantly ‘clink’ glasses with a piece of cutlery. This custom always makes me laugh because our ‘English’ table sharers were baffled…at first…then they got stuck in. Just so you know, clicking the glass means the happy couple have to stand up and kiss…..after a while we can demand other couples copy. Its fun and funny and part of the culture. When the others joined in, they became part of the culture.

    While working for the Premier group, I worked with the online team to develop websites globally and it was a real learning opportunity to research, listen and employ different techniques, copy, ideas, etc. What works in one location, doesn’t work somewhere else. Local knowledge is key and I see many companies surviving if they use this information and not just duplicate their own versions.

  • http://twitter.com/ElishBulGodley Elish Bul-Godley

     Thanks Connor- you know one of your posts on your personal blog was partly responsible for making me want to write – ; )

  • http://twitter.com/BrianMartin1014 Brian Martin

    Thanks for the coverage Neil and nice to meet you at the event. Hoping to make the next one even better. We’re putting up the slides and photos later on @ http://blog.ecelticseo.com/

  • http://neilsisson.com/ Neil Sisson

    Yeah Niall Harbison said that he and Lauren used to spend 4 to 5 hours PER DAY writing blog posts but they did it every day. That’s a long day of work!

  • http://neilsisson.com/ Neil Sisson

    Hey Brian, yeah good to chat & thanks again for putting on an awesome event. Looking forward to the next one already!

  • Martin Lindeskog

    The free market will take care of the safety of the mobile transactions. Have you heard about iZettle as one of the players of the mobile payment providers?

  • Kevin James

    Thanks for posting these great resources! I would add one more though :) For small retail owners there is a site called mOctopus that does 3 simple things, gets your inventory online, keeps it up to date, and shares it across all of your platforms instantly! Great for showcasing your products :)

    Thanks again for posting! Good luck to all!

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  • http://www.PartnersInDemand.com/ Business Partners

    This is great list of tools. Here’s another link with other free tools to help small businesses.

  • Adam Snape

    This is a great list, Zuly. I notice there’s a lot of online marketing stuff but no offline.

    A company I work with called Display Wizard have put together an e-book on trade show marketing that would be a good addition to the list. It’s free to download from here – http://www.displaywizard.co.uk/display-hub/trade-show-guide/