You started your business to share your passion with the world. As a small business owner myself, I know the importance of staying organized, motivated, and profitable. That’s why I created this resource of helpful tools to grow your business, including free tools for small business owners like you!
Grow your small business with these recommended tools.
*Please note that some links are affiliate links, meaning I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Client Experience Tools for Small Business Owners
Your client experience starts from the moment you interact with your potential client, but every step of the client journey is of equal value.
From booking a discovery call to sending your first invoice, your role is to provide a seamless experience for your clients from start to finish.
Dubsado is a customer relationship management software that helps you organize your business. I use Dubsado to manage my website design studio. From creating proposals and sending contracts, I use Dubsado to onboard clients for my website design services.
It can be a struggle to keep projects and tasks organized, especially if you work with a team. Asana is a simple project management tool that helps you manage your tasks, deadlines, and milestones.
As you can imagine, creating a website from scratch has a lot of moving parts. I use Asana to guide my entire website design process. All of my clients have been pleasantly surprised at how effortlessly my projects unfold. I have Asana to thank for that!
Connecting with a new client can be tricky. Instead of trying to manually schedule a meeting, you can use a scheduler like Calendly to book appointments. I use Calendly to schedule discovery calls, strategy sessions, and training sessions with my clients.
Furthermore, I love that it sends automatic reminders for the call. This means less ghosting! If you charge for your calls (like intensives or coaching), you can also set a payment option to get paid beforehand.
The Contract Shop
There’s no doubt about the importance of using a contract in your business, especially if you provide services for clients. The Contract Shop provides reliable contract templates for many services, from virtual assistance to photography.
Remember: even if a potential client seems like a perfect fit, it’s super important to create a rock-solid contract. This way, you can outline your packages, deliverables, due dates, and whatever else is important to your business.
Digital Marketing Tools for Small Business Owners
If you want to grow your small business, you need to put some intention behind your digital marketing. Whether you choose to use social media, email marketing, or your own website to promote your services, you need trusted tools.
Your Instagram marketing plan would not be complete without using a content planner and scheduler. Planoly is a visual planning tool for Instagram that allows you to create and schedule your content in advance. Using Planoly has helped me to stay on top of my content marketing schedule and publish consistently to Instagram.
Canva is a simple and easy-to-use graphic design platform that helps you create eye-catching content for your marketing. There are thousands of premade, professionally-designed templates to choose from. Templates include pricing guides, Instagram story designs, and even business card templates.
You can even take the experience further with Canva Pro, their subscription plan with even more features. Their plan includes a personalized brand kit! This means you can set your color palette and upload your own fonts to further customize the templates.
Email marketing is an important aspect of growing your small business, but it can seem daunting if you’re not sure which platform to use. Flodesk makes email marketing simple in terms of customization and useability. They truly have the most beautiful templates! I use Flodesk to deliver freebies and a mini funnel for my website design business.
Your own website
When it comes to marketing your small business services, nothing comes close to your own website. Your website is the one thing you OWN that is not reliant on “the algorithm” of social media platforms.
When designed with strategy, your website becomes a powerhouse for driving traffic, generating leads, and helping you book dream clients! In fact, 92% of small business owners think that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy. (Source: Clutch).
As a strategic website designer, I know the importance of creating a website that achieves YOUR GOALS and helps grow your business with ease.
Website Tools for Business Owners
Speaking of websites, you’ll need to ensure that your website actually works FOR your small business! There can be lots of misinformation out there about website design, so I’m here to set the record straight.
Here’s one rule for websites: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Platforms like Wix or Weebly may look good from the outside, but they might not be the best decision for your small business.
WordPress is the leading website platform for businesses worldwide, including small business owners. Contrary to popular belief, you DO NOT need to be a technical expert to be able to use this platform. When you work with a strategic website designer, you can demystify WordPress and use it with confidence.
Your web hosting is like your monthly rent. In fact, it keeps your website secure, running smoothly, and managed from a technical point of view. When you use the self-hosted version of WordPress, you’ll need to have a space where your website lives. That’s where Siteground comes in.
If customer service is important to you, you’ll enjoy having their reliable team available 24/7 for customer support. In fact, Siteground is my chosen web hosting provider. It’s what I recommend to each of my website design clients.
When it comes to having a website, you’ll also need a domain name. This unique domain name is what differentiates your website from other websites! The best domain names are specific to your niche, services, and brand personality.
Namecheap is my go-to resource for getting domain names as they often have the best deals. Believe it or not, I have quite a few domain names registered. Ain’t no shame in dreaming about your next side hustle, am I right!?
Let’s be honest, if you are looking to hire a website designer for your small business, chances are you are NOT a technical expert yourself. Meet my secret weapon for designing strategic websites that are easy to use: Beaver Builder.
Beaver Builder is one of the leading page builders in the industry. I love it because it’s lightweight, easy to use, and perfect for making complex websites seem simple. This is a win for my website design clients!
Search Engine Optimization Tools
Contrary to popular belief, search engine optimization (SEO) is not a one-and-done task for your business. There are many intricate steps and skills needed for mastering SEO for your small business. But here are some basic SEO tools to help you get started with the foundations of good search engine optimization.
Get your website performing better in search engines with the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. Yoast gives you the tools to bring your content to the highest standards of SEO and overall readability. (Source: Yoast SEO).
What I love about Yoast SEO is that you can always refine your content further. Just because you published a blog post in 2017 doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck with it forever! You can always go back to previous content and keep refining it. The result? You’ll rank better on search engines like Google.
One key element of search engine optimization is planning your keywords. KeySearch is an all-in-one SEO tool that helps plan your keywords and improve your search engine ranking.
My favourite feature is the content assistant tool. It can show you an in-depth analysis of keywords. This includes how competitive the keywords are so that you can rank higher. Furthermore, it also shows a recommended word length for blog posts in order to rank higher. Best of all, KeySearch can show which words to include that help Google determine if your content is high quality.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to create and manage an official profile for your business on Google. You can add your business for free and it will automatically appear in Google searches. When set up correctly, your business will appear in local Google search results, including maps.
If you are a local small business, this is a no-brainer! You can include your business hours, location, and details about your products and services. Best of all, you can also get reviews from past clients or customers, which in turn, helps you to build your business reputation.
3 Simple SEO Tips for Small Business Owners
No small business tools roundup would be complete without linking to another handy guide, right? If you’d like more SEO strategy insight, read this post for simple SEO tips for small business owners!
Organization Tools for Small Business Owners
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about small business owners, it’s that we all need help with organizing our business. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with a client who had no systems in place. This includes structure for generating leads, collecting payments, or staying on top of finances. Here are some small business tools to help you stay organized:
Want to keep your ideas and thoughts in one place? You might enjoy Notion. It’s a project-management and note-taking software designed to help manage ideas, deadlines and tasks in a productive way.
You can take your Notion workspace as far as you’d like. Ideas include creating short “to-do lists” and building sales trackers or social media content planners.
Take control of your small business finances with Quickbooks Self-Employed accounting software. With Quickbooks, you are able to track and categorize your expenses, file and sort your receipts, send and collect invoices, and easily prepare for the dreaded tax season.
As a small business owner, it’s vital to keep your business revenue separate from your personal income. Quickbooks Self-Employed makes it simple to get a real-time look at your revenue and expenses breakdown. Now that my Quickbooks works for me, I no longer worry about keeping organized come tax season!
Google Workspace (formerly GSuite)
Meet the be-all and end-all of productivity tools for small business owners: Google Workspace. Formerly known as GSuite, Google Workspace is a collection of tools to help keep your business organized and professional.
With Google Workspace, you get access to a plethora of branded products. These products include Google Drive, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, the list goes on… and on… and on. You can also make your small business more professional by setting up a branded email address through Gmail for Business. This means your emails will be connected to your website domain ([email protected]).
Google Chrome Extensions for Small Business Owners
Take your Google experience further by speeding up your workflow in Google Chrome. Head over to the blog to read more about my top 5 Chrome extensions that help my small business.
Mindfulness Tools for Business Owners
As a service provider, it can be difficult to separate your business success from your personal worth. When you pay attention to your mental health, you can tune into your intuition and become an intentional business owner. Here are a few mindfulness tools to help run your small business.
If you’d like to incorporate more mindfulness and meditation into your life, you’ll enjoy the meditation app Insight Timer. What originally began as a simple meditation timer has evolved into a hub for all things mindfulness and meditation. Within the app, you can find guided meditations, workshops, and courses from yoga and meditation instructors around the world.
Whether you’re struggling with work stress, anxiety or self-esteem, Insight Timer has a meditation fit for you. Since using this app, I have built a daily meditation practice, which has helped improve my confidence as a small business owner.
Have you ever caught yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or TikTok when you could be using your time more wisely? That was a rhetorical question – of course you have! Enter Screen Time, a setting that helps you manage app usage and schedule time away from your phone entirely.
Screen Time allows you to set limitations for phone usage. These include options for blocking apps and notifications when you need some time away from your phone. There’s nothing inherently wrong with enjoying time spent on your phone. But Screen Time comes in handy when you’re having a hard time focusing on anything but those viral reels.
Clover Period Tracker
According to Gallup, only 27% of small-business owners are women. That’s why this particular small business tool is for the ones who identify as women. Clover is an app that can help you track your hormonal and menstrual cycles.
As a female entrepreneur, my business changed when I started planning my business activities around my hormonal cycle. While I am capable of achieving my business tasks at any time of the month, I have become more intentional in recent years. The reason? I have begun mapping out my business tasks for when I feel my best.
Mental health is a major concern for small business owners. Sadly, these worries have only heightened since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rootd is a free scientifically-approved anxiety management app that helps you fight panic attacks.
Rootd includes therapist-approved features. Think of a panic button for panic attack relief, lessons on panic attacks and anxiety, and a sleep tool to decrease anxious thoughts. The app also offers deep breathing exercises for better breathwork.
Honorable Mentions: Free Small Business Tools
This list would not be complete without mentioning a few free tools for small business owners, right? While these tools have paid options as well, I have managed to stay on the free plan for my small business. As such, I would recommend these products to anyone looking to get started.
Zoom Video Conferencing
By now, you are probably intimately acquainted with Zoom. Whether you are hosting a client meeting or joining a group call, Zoom makes it simple to hop on a call with members around the world.
Loom Screen Recorder
Loom is a screen recorder that enables you to send video recordings with the click of a button. Screen recording plays an integral role in my website design business. I regularly send in-depth video walkthroughs of design concepts to my clients. This means fewer emails and more chances for better communication!
Unsplash Free Stock Photos
Not every small business owner can be a professional photographer, but you don’t have to be! If you’re looking for high-quality stock photos for your small business, check out the collection at Unsplash.
The best tools for your small business are the ones you use on a consistent basis.
Let’s be honest, the best small business tools are the ones you actually want to use! If nothing on this list stuck out to you, make your own rules and find your own path. Be sure to connect with me on Instagram to tell me which tool you loved the most!
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