Starting a business is a significant achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining and scaling one is the larger challenge. Cash flow issues, time management, and operations costs are struggles almost every small business owner must overcome.
Despite the challenges, there are plenty of free and affordable online tools and resources for small businesses that you can leverage to help you save costs, streamline processes, and grow your business.
To assist you, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of our favorite funding, business management, marketing, advertising, education and training resources, and services that you can favorite or bookmark and refer back to at any time. Here are some great tools and resources to consider for your small business.
When it comes to funding your small business, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Determining how to obtain capital can be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face as an entrepreneur. Aside from every business’s unique funding needs, each funding option differs in availability, terms, funding amounts, and eligibility criteria. Whether you’re seeking investors, grants, or considering a loan or line of credit from a bank or online lender, there are many resources to consider.
- Fundbox – Working capital and spend management solutions for small businesses
- Small Business Administration (SBA) – Government agency supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses
- SBA 7(a) loans – The SBA’s primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses
- SBA Grants – SBA-backed grants for small businesses
- Challenge.gov – Public competitions to find innovative solutions to government challenges.
- Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) – Government research and development program for startups and small businesses
- Kickstarter – Global crowdfunding platform
- Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) – Government small business and nonprofit research institution collaborative research program
Business management and administrative tools
Many business owners complete a mountain of admin tasks behind the scenes on a daily basis to keep their businesses running smoothly. Business management and administrative tools help you automate and simplify common operational processes so you can run your business more efficiently and with less expense.
- Slack – Team collaboration tool
- Calendly – Meeting scheduling tool
- Zoom – Video conferencing and collaboration platform
- Trello – Visual project management tool
- Monday.com – Operations management and productivity application
- Typeform – Online survey and form builder
- Jira – Agile project management and quality assurance tracking tool
- Wave – Invoicing and accounting platform for small businesses
- Dropbox – Cloud-based file storage
- FreshBooks – Web-based accounting service
- Quickbooks – Comprehensive online accounting software
- Docracy – Free legal documents and resources
Marketing and advertising
Marketing and advertising can have a major impact on the success of your small business. Initiatives range from social media to SEO, PPC, email, and more. It takes time and effort to successfully create, manage, and execute marketing and advertising strategy and content. These online tools can be leveraged to automate various digital marketing initiatives, encourage and track growth, and ensure that you aren’t spending your valuable time on tedious tasks.
- Canva – Simple graphic design tool
- MailChimp – Email marketing platform
- Hootsuite – Social media management and reporting tool
- HubSpot CRM – Customer relationship management platform
- Buffer – Social media management toolkit for small businesses
- Wix – Cloud-based website development platform
- Google Analytics – Web analytics and reporting service
- Google Ads – Online advertising platform
- Unsplash – Royalty-free photos for designs and visual projects
- Pexels – Free stock images and videos
- GrowthHackers – Idea testing and experimentation tools for business growth
Education and training
Whether you have years worth of experience as a small business owner or you’re just starting out, there’s always more to learn about running your business. Fortunately, there are many free online courses and communities that will help you to grow as an entrepreneur, expand your network, and scale your business.
- SCORE – Large network of free small business mentors
- Rocketship.fm – Podcast for entrepreneurs
- Coursera – Free online courses
- Startup Sales Course – Free course to upgrade your sales skills
- Beginner’s guide to SEO – Guide to search engine optimization (SEO)
- Free courses offered by Google – Variety of free digital marketing courses
- Pitcherific – Platform to help you prepare and practice elevator pitches
- r/Startups – Reddit online community and resources for startups
- r/Entrepreneur – Reddit online community and resources for entrepreneurs
- Skillshare – Virtual learning platform
- Khan Academy – Nonprofit web-based education platform
- The How – Free ‘How-to’ tutorials
As a small business owner, you need to work smarter, not harder. The tools and resources on the curated list above were selected to help you do so by sharpening your small business skills, streamlining operations, maximizing ROI, and boosting your efficiency as you scale.
Disclaimer: Fundbox and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.
Fundbox did not receive compensation for including companies or products in this list. Information presented is current at the time of publication and may change over time.
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