Practical Ecommerce

16 Free Online Tools for Small Businesses

Whether you’re starting a small business or you’re just thrifty, you can likely benefit from some free online productivity tools.

Here is a list of online productivity tools for small businesses. There are apps for collaboration, accounting, scheduling, development, customer management, general office tasks, and more. All of these tools have free plans, and several are entirely free. If I missed your favorite free application, be sure to include it in the comments below.

Wave

Wave offers online accounting and finance applications for small businesses. It includes invoicing, accounting, payroll, payments, receipts, and personal finance software. Price: Accounting, invoicing, receipts, and personal finance applications are free. Payroll application starts at $9 per month, payments application is 30 cents + 2.9 percent per transaction.

Wave website

Wave.

Square

Square is a payment-processing app for iOS on iPhones or iPads. Square offers a Wallet app for mobile transactions and a Register app for a modern take on the cash register. Square offers tools to track sales, tax, top-purchasing customers, and more. Pay only when you sell. Square does not require a contract. The card reader attachment is free when you sign up. Price: 2.75 percent per swipe or online sale and 3.5 percent + $.15 per manually entered transaction.

Square website

Square.

Google+ Hangouts

With Google+ Hangouts, turn any gathering into a live video call with up to ten friends or simply call a contact to start a voice call from your computer. Enhance your call with Cacoo for online drawing, SlideShare for sharing presentations, and Conceptboard for whiteboard collaboration. Price: Free.

Google Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud-storage service that lets you access and sync files across all your devices. While Dropbox only offers 2 GB of initial free storage (Google Drive and SkyDrive offer more), it expands free storage up to 16 GB free for referrals. Dropbox offers native support for Linux and Blackberry, as well as Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. To supercharge your Dropbox, utilize the many third-party apps, which offer enhanced file syncing with Dropbox’s new Datastore API. Price: Free for 2 GB. Pro plans start at $9.99/month for 100 GB.

Dropbox website

Dropbox.

Appointlet

If you make appointments with customers, you may need Appointlet, an online appointment-scheduling app for Google Calendar. Add it to your website and let your clients do the booking. Confirm, decline, cancel, or reschedule any appointment right from the comfort of your Google Calendar. Easily gather all the information from your clients that you need to fulfill the appointment. Price: Free for unlimited appointments. Premium plans start at $10/month for custom branding, payment processing, and enhanced technical support.

Appointlet website

Appointlet.

Trello

Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. Trello uses boards, lists, and cards to create projects and develop your workflow. Price: Free.

Trello website

Trello.

Mural.ly

Mural.ly is a visual-collaboration whiteboard app. Drag and drop images, links, and documents to organize your ideas. This simple visual tool can keep your team in sync through brainstorming, planning, or designing a project. Features include private murals, auto-save and backups, comments, activity feed, and chat. Price: Basic plan is free. Pro plan is $10 per month.

Mural.ly website

Mural.ly.

KeePass

KeePass is a free password manager to help manage your passwords in a secure way. Put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. Remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using secure encryption algorithms (AES and Twofish). Price: Free.

KeePass website

KeePass.

Evernote

Evernote is an app to remember everything, from lifelong memories and vital information to daily reminders and to-do lists. Everything you store in your Evernote account is automatically synced across all of your devices, making it easy to capture, browse, search, and edit your notes everywhere you have Evernote. Price: Free. Premium plan is $5 per month.

Evernote website

Evernote.

Rapportive

Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox. Immediately see what people look like, where they’re based, and what they do. Establish rapport by mentioning shared interests. Record thoughts and leave notes for later. Price: Free.

Rapportive website

Rapportive.

Boomerang

Boomerang for Gmail lets you write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time. Write the message as you normally would, then click the Send Later button. Tell Boomerang when to send your message by using the calendar chooser or the text box that understands language like “next Monday.” Price: Basic plan is free. Premium plans start at $4.99 per month.

Boomerang website

Boomerang.

Streak

Streak is a customer relationship application for Gmail. Track your deals from your inbox. Group emails from the same customers together, utilizing spreadsheet view right inside Gmail. Use the mobile app to keep track of your customers, make calls, and send emails. Share selective parts of your inbox. Schedule emails to send later. Price: Free.

Streak website

Streak.

HelloSign

HelloSign is an application for getting documents signed. It includes tools to facilitate document signing, tracking and management. Notifications keep you appraised of the signer’s activity. Signed documents are securely stored and always accessible. Sign an unlimited number of documents for free. HelloSign has mobile apps and a Gmail extension. Price: Free accounts allow you to request up to three signatures from others every month. Premium account is $12.42 per month per user.

HelloSign website

HelloSign.

HootSuite

HootSuite is a social media dashboard to manage and measure you social networks. Manage your messages, get custom analytics on your social campaigns, and communicate internally without leaving the HootSuite dashboard. Access a single interface to monitor Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, WordPress and more. Or add more social networks with the HootSuite App Directory. Price: Individual plan is free; Pro plan is $8.99 per month.

HootSuite website

HootSuite.

NutshellMail

NutshellMail takes copies of your latest updates in your social networking accounts and places them in a snapshot email. The NutshellMail update is then sent to your primary email address. NutshellMail supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, MySpace, YouTube, Foursquare, and Citysearch. Receive updates as often as you wish. Price: Free.

NutshellMail website

NutshellMail.

Gmail

Gmail is a Google’s email application, which includes 15 GB of free storage (across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ photos). Gmail also lets you communicate via SMS, voice, or video chat. See who’s online and connect instantly. See your contacts’ profile photos, recent updates, and shared docs next to each email. Price: Free.

Gmail application

Gmail.

Sig Ueland
Sig Ueland
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Comments ( 17 )

  1. Simon November 25, 2013 Reply

    Instead of wave, I would suggest you to put Invoiceberry (www.invoiceberry.com) on the list of free invoicing software.

  2. David November 27, 2013 Reply

    This is supposed to be a list of free services for small business. One of the first things you list is Square. Square is not free. Not free at all.

    Is there any place that one can go to read content that actually lives up to its billing.

    Strike one for PEC.

  3. Harry December 3, 2013 Reply

    Hi SIG UELAND,
    Thanks for your article. These are great tools for S & M company, However, I think you should use Invoiceberry

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  4. John December 5, 2013 Reply

    As an alternative to Trello, please consider Kanban Tool free plan (http://kanbantool.com/).

  5. Vaine Loera December 6, 2013 Reply

    I use half of them myself. Very useful. I love when some of them integrate with each other.

  6. Brian December 7, 2013 Reply

    Very helpful list, thanks. There’s a free tool that helps with time tracking, prioritization, and easy communication of all of that called stovetime (www.stovetime.com). Very helpful to me, check it out!

  7. Tom Lavent February 25, 2014 Reply

    This is a great post, we recently moved our business to the cloud.

    Some others products I use include:

    http://process.st – Document and track my processes and systems
    http://trello.com – Task and project management
    http://workflowy.com – Organize my brain

  8. Alle March 3, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for such a useful list. In addition I would like to recommend another tool for small businesses, proofhub. It is a simple to use web based project management and collaboration tool that easily blends with the routine followed by people of handling work.
    Check it out at http://www.proofhub.com/

  9. Shenoi March 11, 2014 Reply

    For small business, cloud based systems will work better. Setting up some process in cloud will also help to save time on administrative and payroll tasks.

    Choose a system that fits the way we like to work and that will be easy to use. My choice is Replicon – http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx , a cloud-based application which is integrated with quickbooks. The good part I found is it records the time and it has options like invoicing and billing.

  10. Rana Porter April 5, 2014 Reply

    Hi SIG UELAND, Here I will like to introduce you to Oogwave.com, simpler Team collaboration and File sharing solution. Great for SMB and teams within. Free to start. Will be happy to show you or answer question. rana.porter@oogwave.com (solution specialist, Oogwave)

  11. Gabriel April 16, 2014 Reply

    Nice article ! but you didn’t mentionned mysmart-card, a free digital card with data storage.
    It is very useful, after registration, you access to your control panel, fill your info, you can add videos, photos, audio files, documents ( excel, word, ppt, PDF).
    When you meet a contact, from the free app, you can send your smart-card via sms or email, your contact will be able to download your info so no loss, check your catalogue, videos, pictures and share your profil with his conatcs.
    It is far more better then a paper business card and it is free.
    The website is http://www.mysmart-card.com
    I hope that it will help !
    regards,

  12. Andrea April 23, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the article, great list! I would also like to recommend http://repricing.co/

    It automatically updates products and tracks your competitors prices. It’s the only pricing app with a free account that I’ve found so far – really useful to have.

  13. mike August 21, 2014 Reply

    Hi, interesting list. I would say Nutcache.com is a better option for invoicing because you can also use it for time tracking and you have the choice to use paypal instead of stripe.

  14. Steven September 4, 2014 Reply

    This is a great list. I use a lot of these myself, like Evernote, Hootsuite, & Wave. There’s a few must haves that aren’t on this list though, like Asana, Wunderlist, and Google Drive. I created my own list specifically for small businesses at http://www.sparkuparts.com/tools/

  15. Max October 19, 2014 Reply

    Probably it’s not a big thing but I often need to convert PDFs do DOCs for business needs. In my experience the best online tool for that is http://pdf2doc.com

  16. Veronika Tondon October 30, 2014 Reply

    Hi,
    This seems to be a great list. Would like to add Invoicera to this list of products. Invoicera is a feature rich software with invoicing, time tracking and expense management capabilities. It helps you schedule invoices and focus on your work. Besides that it has got a quick and simple user interface that save you a-lot of precious time. It has got multiple languages and payment gateways which makes it a global product.

    Manager
    http://www.invoicera.com

  17. Manish M. Shah November 16, 2014 Reply

    A good file collaboration, storage, and management site is https://www.fileapartment.com

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