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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.