Running your own business is a great thing but it has own set of challenges especially for small businesses, often it faces various problems due to lack of resources and funds, this directly affects the productivity of the business.
As a small business owner, you’re always in a dilemma whether to save money and do things yourself or save time by investing in a resource. In this article, I’ll show some effective tools to increase productivity for small business owners to run the day to day activities even on a small budget.
Disclosure: Some of the links here are referral/affiliate links that means if you decide to buy through those links I’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This is how I keep Designtheway.com up and running.
If you want to brand your business you need to have a unique logo, while creating a logo needs a lot of time and skill. DesignEvo can be a simple solution to this, it’s a popular online app for creating a logo.
If you need a basic logo and don’t have a budget to hire a logo designer DesignEvo can be a perfect solution for you. It has more than 5000 templates, millions of vector icons and hundreds of fonts to choose from. Best thing is that it’s a web app and you don’t need to download or even register to use it.
The free account lets you download and use a low resolution(500px) file with a credit attribution. For higher resolution and other image formats like SVG, PDF you need to use a paid plan.
But if you have a budget and need a really unique logo I recommend using 99designs.
An online business regularly requires banners and graphics for blog posts, ads, social media promotions etc, you need to know photoshop or have a designer to do these tasks on a regular basis this can add up to the expenses.
Snappa is very good low budget option for creating graphics online, it also offers a free account where you can get access to the whole image & graphics library and limited numbers of templates. Paid account enables you to use all the templates and save them within your account. Once you sign up with snappa you will see various type of banners you can create.
But if you want to create animated html5 banners you can use animatron.
Do you need stock images or videos for your website or posts try pexels, it’s one of the most popular free stock image sites with thousands of free images and videos.
You can use the search to find your image though the search feature is not as good as some of the paid stock image sites but you can find your suitable image if searched properly. You don’t need to give any credit attribution for using any images or videos.
Iconfinder is a highly popular website for icons, thousands of designers use it every day. The website is based on freemium model, you can download free icons in various file format like SVG, png, jpeg etc. but for paid icons, you can buy them individually or can buy a subscription plan.
You don’t need to sign up to access or download free icons but check the license type some icons may need credit attribution.
Many modern websites use custom illustrations, creating custom illustrations can be really time-consuming and costly. Freepik is a wonderful resource for finding free illustrations, you can download the raw files (.ai or .eps) so if you know illustrator you can modify it to your requirement as well.
While most of the content is free and don’t need an account to download files but you need to credit the author in order to use a file. You can buy a subscription plan to get access to premium files. Freepik isn’t just for vectors images you can also find stock images, psd files etc.
LastPass is an essential tool to have for an online entrepreneur, it’s one of the top password managing tools in the industry. You can get a free extension for most browsers. With this you don’t have to remember hundreds of password of various sites just use one master password for lastpass and easily login to any site listed there with a simple click.
Adding a site to lastpass is very simple, you can manually or it will ask you to save credentials when you log into any site. You can also create form fills for common fields to fill up any online form quickly.
If you are a non-native English speaker like me and write regularly on the web then Grammarly is a must-have tool for you. Grammarly is an advanced grammar and spelling checker app.
Grammarly free browser extension shows errors, provide suggestions, possible grammatical error while you write anything online.
You can even download an addon for MS word so you can get all those features while writing in even in MS Word file. The free version is great but if you want more in-depth analysis like advanced checks for punctuation, vocabulary enhancement suggestions, plagiarism detection you should use the premium version.
SEOquake is a free SEO tool that lets you audit on-page seo of any site, it’s a great tool to analyze your competitors. Free extension is available for most browsers so when you search anything online the tool shows some SEO related data like ranking, backlinks etc.of each website.
SEO plays a key role in the success of an online business since SEO is a long-term strategy hiring an SEO specialist or an agency can be really costly for a small business owner.
SEMrush is a premium SEO analysis tool, it lets you analyze what keywords your competitors are ranking for whether its paid or organic traffic, what backlinks they have, advanced keyword research etc. You can prepare a solid marketing strategy for your business based on these analysis.
Website security is one of the most important aspects for a website owner to look into. Sucuri is a premium web application firewall and one of the major player in the web security space. It offers security for most popular CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc. It protects your website from all types of threats.
Looking to build your mailing list mailchimp is the best way to get started, it’s free for up to 2000 subscribers. It takes some time to get 2000 subscribers so you can easily use it for while without any investment.
With mailchimp free account you can create different campaigns beside sending regular updates to your subscribers. If you run a wordpress site it’s very easy to integrate mailchimp with wordpress as well.
Communication is the key to success of a team even more so for a remote team. You can use slack, it’s a team management and communication tool. It’s a wonderful app to keep track of all the communication. Small teams can use it for free, it can be integrated with many other apps.
Trello is a free project management tool where you can add team members, assign tasks, keep track of progress, attach files etc. If you have a paid account you can integrate trello with slack to combine both platforms together.
Invoice generator is a handy tool for generating invoices easily. You can easily calculate tax, shipping, discount etc and even personalize the invoice by adding your logo. I use it regularly to invoice my clients.
As a small business owner, it’s always a challenge to have the perfect balance between high productivity and low cost. I hope the tools and resources listed here help you get that balance better.
So, which tools do you use to increase your productivity? Do mention it in the comments section below.