20 Must-Have Free Small Business Tools to Run Your Business in 2022

Business Management
Guy Lalzary January 17, 2022 13 min read
20 Must-Have Free Small Business Tools to Run Your Business

Quick Guide

    “My business is fine – I don’t need technology – I’ve operated the same way for 20 years and have done it successfully”. 

    Absolutely everyone – small business owner or not – can do with a little help now and again, and with digital free business tools, you can find yourself with a lot more free time, a lot more energy and even more money! 

    How, might you ask? 

    Through the powers of automation (taking tasks that you don’t need to do yourself) and more, these free business tools will help your business run far smoother than you could ever have thought possible. 

    Our Top Free Business Tools Recommendations

    All-in-One Business and Employee Management Apps

    Business owners juggle multiple roles at any given moment, but there’s really no need to do it all yourself anymore! With advancements in automation with business tools, you can keep your finger on the pulse with very little of your own input, so you can focus on the bigger picture of what really matters. Only a handful of free business tools even offer the total all-in-one package.

    But here’s one that does! 

    Without a doubt, Connecteam is the best free small business tool for you. Designed especially for deskless and remote teams, Connecteam is a leading business tool that makes your business and employee management absolutely seamless. With a free plan for up to 50 users, you’ll get all of the below (and hours of your time back!):

    You can easily – 

    • Create and share an efficient job schedule when you easily assign a schedule (use drag & drop, templates, etc.) that’s based on different requirements. For each shift, offer additional key information so your team has everything available in a tap like address, tasks to complete, time, and more. Employees can accept or reject shifts, check-in when they show up to the site, and more – while on the go!
    • Track your employees’ work hours via a self-serve, GPS-tracked time clock that syncs automatically with Quickbooks Online, so when employees clock in and out from their phones, a real-time timestamp and GPS location is automatically tagged. This creates more efficient and easy to manage timesheets, not to mention, an 100% accurate payroll. 
    • Create interactive communication with group or one-on-one chat and share GIFs, videos, and pictures. Let your team engage with your update with likes and comments or if it’s a one-way announcement to keep everyone on the same page.
    • Manage reports on the go and in real-time like an incident report, expense reimbursement, operational checklists, and more so you can ensure compliance from top-to-bottom.
    • Offer a better training and onboarding experience so your team has direct access to training resources, such as the employee handbook, safety protocols, benefits, etc.
    • Boost engagement through announcements, newsletters, and updates that you can segment per group and channel to avoid information overload. Share goals met, new sales landed, key protocols, and more.
    • Use the searchable employee directory to keep all work contacts on the app instead of your personal phone, easily find the contact needed with a quick search (name, job title, location, etc.) and quickly engage with the contact through action buttons like a phone call, email, or chat.

    Connecteam: the #1 Free Business Tool for 20,000+ Businesses (and Counting)

    Try Connecteam’s all-in-one employee and business management app, and see how it gives your business hours back of your time! With a free-forever plan, and a 14-day free trial of all paid plans – what have you got to lose! No credit card required.

    Communication and Collaboration Business Tools

    As your business grows, so does your team of employees, contractors, and service providers. Managing communication, collaboration, and cooperation between everyone can become a time-consuming task for you, as a manager. These tools can help you streamline these processes and save you the time you might be spending as an information conduit for your subordinates and partners. Check out more here about how to create 

    Check out our guide to solving communication issues in the workplace here.

    Google icons

    When it comes to free tools for small business owners, you can’t avoid mentioning Google, so we’re going to start with the internet giant everyone knows. This is a great tool when you need to collaborate on files. 

    When it comes to sharing files and collaborating on documents, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are the way to go. The files are stored in your Google Drive and are a wonderful way to avoid those endless back-and-forth emails when collaborating on various documents.

    Join.me by LogMeIn

    Gone are the days of conference calls. Well, maybe not gone but definitely changed. Solutions like LogMeIn’s join.me conferencing tool lets you present to multiple employees or clients from the comfort of your home or office chair, saving you long trips and even confusing team chats.

    CRM and ERP Business Tools

    Keeping track of sales processes and inventory gets increasingly harder as your lead acquisition channels vary and your operation grows. By digitizing your inventory and sales process tracking, you can save a lot of time and complete sales faster and more effectively.

    Hubspot crm

    One of our favorite small business tools of all time, Hubspot is a free CRM solution that promises to stay free forever and offers automation features that help track customer interactions. You can also create and follow sales-related tasks and get a good overview of your sales funnel at any given time. It’s a nice little productivity business tool

    proofhub

    This easy-to-use project management and team collaboration software is a great small business tools option. By replacing the multiple tools required for task management, collaboration, time tracking, communication, file sharing, and reporting with a single all-in-one software, it gives teams a central source to find whatever they need.

    Sellsy

    One of the challenges with managing sales processes can be combining sales process data from various channels (online, PoS and inside sales). Sellsy is a free small business tool that combines client relations and contact marketing, as well as inventory management and even time tracking.

    xTuple

    The path from product manufacturing to sitting in the hands-on of your customers can be complex. xTuple is a free small business tool that’s an open-source ERP solution with an integrated CRM system, intended mostly for companies producing products rather than services.

    Automation Business Tools

    You might not even notice, but some of your precious time is spent in two of the most unpleasant activities: waiting and catching-up. You wait for replies to messages or responses from clients. And try to respond as quickly as possible when you miss communication or customer action.

    By automating as many of your business processes and tasks as possible, you can save precious time you might currently be spending doing something a simple algorithm can.

    IFTTT

    “If This, Then That” is a much-loved free small business tool: it’s a simple but flexible automation system that integrates hundreds of apps and services to create automated processes for things, getting them ‘talking’ to one another. For example, you can create an IFTTT so that leads from your website turn into contacts in HubSpot, or even improve your internal communication via automated channels. 

    Zapier

    Similar to IFTTT, Zapier is a more business-oriented automation tool that integrates with significantly more apps and services than IFTTT. So before selecting one or the other, you should ensure it communicates flawlessly with the small business tools and services you currently use.

    Email Business Tools

    Many online experts like to claim that email is dead or dying. It really isn’t. Email is still the most common tool for external and even internal communication in business, and that’s not about to change, just evolve further.

    Today’s challenge is cluttered inboxes and difficulty keeping track and measuring the effectiveness of email correspondence. Some tools are out there to replace your current messy inbox. And others just try and make email communications a lot more effective for your business.

    Thunderbird

    If you’re not a fan of Google’s free small business tools and prefer your email client and messages stored locally on your device? Thunderbird is your solution. It’s a free all-in-one email, tasks, calendar, and team chat, somewhat reminiscent of Microsoft’s Outlook experience of old.

    MixMax

    Keeping track of emails is time-consuming and often annoying. MixMax is a browser plugin that helps you track correspondence, schedule emails, and use sequences and reminders. Unfortunately, the free version is limited to 100 tracked emails and 10 scheduled emails per month, so if you’re looking for one of the best small business tools for your email communication, the paid version will likely work better for you. 

    MailChimp

    Email communication with clients and partners is often based on regular newsletters, and few solutions do it better than MailChimp. With a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) template editor and tracking of open and click rates, this tool is the top free business tool for any business managing a newsletter. The service is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails.

    Another cool feature worth mentioning is integration with the automation platforms we mentioned earlier which lets you get creative with how you maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

    Task Management Business Tools

    The bigger your team is, the harder it gets to keep track of all the various tasks of all the employees, contractors, and partners. Without a management solution, these tasks can get lost and not completed, falling between the proverbial chairs of everyday work. Alternatively, you’ll find yourself wasting too much time micromanaging your workers’ tasks. And no one wants that.

    Asana

    This simple and free task management solution (up to 15 users) is easy to use and rather flexible. Much like asanas in yoga. This free small business tool lets you create repeating tasks, assign them to team members, and keep track of the task progress from a single customizable dashboard.

    In real-time, Wrike is a top free small business tool that allows you to analyze performance insights with clunky spreadsheets. Customize everything to your needs, from the dashboard to automation, add comments, live edit, share information with stakeholders, look at individual tasks or team projects, and more. Wrike can also integrate with various tools like GitHub, Slack, Box, SalesForce, and more.

    If you like the sound of Wrike, then check out and get started with Connecteam’s free task management tool! It’s that much easier to allocate tasks, even on the go, to build transparency and hold your team accountable. 

    On-the-Spot – Point of Sale Business Tools 

    Once upon a time, you needed a cash register to keep sales organized in your store. Those things were expensive, bulky, and aside from the famous “ka-ching” sound, they had little to offer in terms of features. Those days are gone, and now all you need is a basic desktop computer (and a solid set of free business tools) to manage your POS activity.

    Loyverse

    This free POS tool, as the name implies, is a free small business tool that’s a POS and loyalty program solution for deskless businesses like beauty salons, florists, and small retail stores. It includes analytics as well as inventory management and is available for free on Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

    KeyHut

    If you’re more into old-style DOS desktop registers, KeyHunt by Dale Harris is your free small business tool solution. And if you’re not, it’s still worth checking out the grumpy humor and 90s-style website of the developer for the laughs, at the very least. 

    Analytics Business Tools

    Managers of small businesses should keep an eye on how their brand is performing online, this ties directly to sales and shows you where more effort is needed.

    Google Analytics

    Google shows up on our list once again because its capabilities are wide in scope, not to mention, free. Google Analytics shows you how and from where your customers are coming from on your website. This allows you to enhance your marketing strategy to generate more leads, while also not spending any money (but also knowing where you’re likely to make the most money, by reading the analytics!). 

    Business Development Tools

    As a small business owner, you are always learning new things to help push your business forward and into a money-making machine. As you can see from our list, there are lots of free small business tools and resources available so that you can gain the knowledge as you’re developing your business from start-up to raking in the cash.

    SBA.gov

    Taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website can really make a difference: it’s one of the best free tools for small business owners so you can learn more about writing up business plans, how to finance your business, insights and tips for entrepreneurs, and so much more. Whether you’re just starting out or have been running a business for years, SBA is a valuable source of information.

    SCORE

    SCORE, a non-profit, has been around for 50+ years and is an amazing resource for helping small businesses get off the ground. It offers free learning opportunities online, in-person mentoring, and more.

    Design Business Tools

    Creating gorgeous design assets for your website, social platforms, and email marketing is a must in today’s day and age.

    Canva design tool

    Hiring a professional graphic designer is a costly expense and one you might not be able to afford straight away. With Canva, you have pre-formatted templates for EVERYTHING. Including social media banners, marketing flyers, events, documents (presentations, letters, reports, etc.), and so much more. Canva is super easy to use and the results are stunning – it’s one of the most popular free small business tools online, and for good reason!

    Common Resistance To Using Small Business Tools

    No Time

    You’re not the only one either. Over 80% of small business managers still use a pen, paper, and spreadsheets to run their workforce. And like most SMBs, it’s very likely that your outlook is strongly influenced by your current focus on day-to-day operations. When you’re buried up to your ears in work, it’s hard to find the time and energy to find solutions that help you shift your focus from day-to-day operations to strategic growth.

    You don’t need to wait for your team and operation to grow to introduce technological solutions and tools. Often, it’s their implementation that affects business growth.

    It’s too expensive

    That’s just part of the equation. The second part is the cost. Until recently, business operations software, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), was considered to be too costly to implement for small businesses. But that’s all changing now. Business software has become easier to implement and much more affordable. For a fraction of the cost, SMBs can get their hands on the latest software. Sometimes, even for free.

    So, now that we have successfully removed all fear and cost considerations are no longer an obstacle, it’s time to choose the easiest, and more importantly free, business operations management tools out there

    The Bottom Line On Tools For Small Business Owners

    You don’t need to become a mobile phone expert or software developer to use technology to grow your business with free business tools, be it a local grocery shop, a plumbing service, or a toy manufacturer you can quickly and easily set up any of these tools to start managing your business operations.

    That being said, just implementing a bunch of tools doesn’t guarantee success. You need to be strategic about how you operate your business. But fear not more tips, strategies, tactics, and more are available in our comprehensive blog posts

    The Best Free Small Business Tool of Them All: Connecteam

    Manage all of your daily processes and employees, with Connecteam’s free plans! Or, try a 14-day free trial of our paid plans – no credit card required!

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