Business 01 May 2017
Starting a business can break the bank, especially if you're bootstrapping the costs yourself. You may have to dig into your savings account or unroll that wad of emergency cash you have stored underneath your bed to help pay for start-up costs. Whether you're spending massive amounts to hire a lawyer, on marketing costs, or on the production of a product you want to sell, finding free tools along the way will make you feel like you hit the jackpot.
Cutting costs along the way will help you feel like a budget pro, and we have just the list of places you should head to first that'll help you save money in an array of areas.
Check out these 15 free business tools that you can start using immediately, with no strings attached.
1. Google Analytics
If you're looking for a tool that will help you track the demographics and behavior of those visiting your website, Google Analytics is a user-friendly and free tool that will do the job. You can set it up in under 30 seconds and spend as much time as your desire learning about your website's visitors, what they are clicking on, and even what the last thing they viewed was before they decided to leave.
2. Yoast SEO
SEO can seem complicated to understand and set up. Usually, SEO experts will charge you a pretty penny to help you out. But if you're looking to up your SEO game quickly and without spending any money, YOAST SEO is the plug-in for you. It's compatible with Wordpress and will help you increase your search engine traffic.
3. Invoice Generator
When it comes to collecting payments and sending bills, you can invest in a website, or you can use the free tool Invoice Generator. It sets up a template even saves your past invoices so you can reuse them month after month.
4. Infographic Maker
When information seems complicated to understand or you want to break down a key finding or study to make it digestible for your site viewers, you may want to employ an infographic. While a designer may charge you a fee to create this, Infographic Maker allows you do it free of charge.
When you need to share files or documents that are too large to attach or too hasslesome to send in one email, Dropbox will come to your rescue; it is a service that lets you upload and share files with others for free.
6. Tiny Letter
Any marketing expert will tell you that sending out communication to customers or people interested in your business is a good idea. If you need a free service to help you do this, try Tiny Letter, where you can find easy-to-use email templates.
7. Boomerang for Gmail
Writing and sending emails at 3 am may not be the professional business look you're going for. But if you have the urge to get work done while everyone else is asleep, try Boomerang, a plugin for Gmail that lets you write and schedule your emails.
If you want to network from your couch, Rapportive is a great tool that connects with your email to help you see the details of your contacts inside your inbox. You can find out what they've been up to recently and more details on them that may help with targeting an email to them.
9. Enloop for business plans
Looking to put together a business plan? Enloop is a business-plan-writing app that helps you get that done step-by-step, all without charge.
If you're looking to hire employees and don't want to pay a recruiter to help or pay to post the job on LinkedIn, you can head over to AngelList to post a job and find potential employees.
For those of you who don't have access to Photoshop or have Photoshop but no clue how to use it, try Canva, a free photo correction and editing tool. It allows you to size photos or marketing collateral to use it on Facebook, Instagram, and other key platforms.
If you're having problems finding a convenient and easy way to communicate with your employees, Slack is a great internal communication tool that makes it easy to chat, no matter where you are or what device you are using.
If you are looking for contract examples, a place to share a contract, negotiate and have the other party sign online, Docracy is the tool that allows you to accomplish all of the above.
14. Google Drive
If you are working with other employers or customers and want to share documents with them, the easiest way would be via Google Drive. You can use free applications that are compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Setting up appointments or coffee chats for networking can seem like a headache. But paying an assistant or even virtual assistant to help you out can be too expensive. YouCanBook.Me is a free online tool that links with your calendar and makes scheduling appointments a breeze.
3 min read
"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.
"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.
I shook my head.
I stood there.
"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"
I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."
"Thank you, Momma!"
Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children?
Many of us are busy training our young children on manners on the other side of the Zoom camera during this pandemic. Reminding them to say please, excuse me, I tried it and it's not my favorite, I am sorry, and thank you. And yet somehow simple manners continue to be undervalued and underappreciated in our workplaces. Because who has time to say thank you?
"Call me. This needs to be completed in the next hour."
"They didn't like the deck. Needs to be redone."
"When are you planning on sending the proposal?"
"Did you see the questions he asked? Where are the responses?"
"Needs to be done by Monday."
Let me take a look. I didn't see a please. No please. Let me re-read it again. Nope, no thank you either. Sure, I'll get to that right away. Oh yes, you're welcome.
Organizations are under enormous pressure in this pandemic. Therefore, leaders are under enormous pressure. Business models collapsing, budget cuts, layoffs, or scrapping plans… Companies are trying to pivot as quickly as possible—afraid of extinction. With employees and leaders everywhere teaching and parenting at home, taking care of elderly parents, or maybe even living alone with little social interaction, more and more of us are dealing with all forms of grief, including losing loved ones to COVID-19.
So we could argue we just don't have time to say thank you; we don't have time to express gratitude. There's too much happening in the world to be grateful for anything. We are all living day to day, the pendulum for us swinging between surviving and thriving. But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?
If you don't think you have to say thank you; if you don't think they deserve a thank you (it's their job, it's what they get paid to do); or if you think, "Why should I say thank you, no one ever thanks me for anything?" It's time to remember that while we might be living through one of the worst recessions of our lifetimes, the market will turn again. Jobs will open up, and those who don't feel recognized or valued will be the first to go. Those who don't feel appreciated and respected will make the easy decision to work for leaders who show gratitude.
But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?
Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children? Remind them with flashcards? Bribe them with a cookie? Tell them how I proud I am of them when they say those two magical words?
Showing gratitude isn't that difficult. You can send a thoughtful email or a text, send a handwritten card, send something small as a gesture of thank you, or just tell them. Call them and tell them how thankful you are for them and for their contributions. Just say thank you.
A coworker recently mailed me a thank you card, saying how much she appreciated me. It was one of the nicest things anyone from work has sent me during this pandemic. It was another reminder for me of how much we underestimate the power of a thank you card.
Apparently, quarantine gratitude journals are all the rage right now. So it's great if you have a beautiful, leather-bound gratitude journal. You can write down all of the people and the things that you are thankful for in your life. Apparently, it helps you sleep better, helps you stay grounded, and makes you in general happier. Just don't forget to take a moment to stop writing in that journal, and to show thanks and gratitude to those you are working with every single day.