The internet is a fantastic source of free tools to help you start and run a small business.
We've chosen five of our favourite small business tools to help you make your small business a success - without breaking the bank.
Google has become such a part of everyday life that we almost take it for granted. Besides the obvious search function, Google has a wealth of invaluable tools for your small business. Google Analytics enables you to measure and analyse visitor traffic to your site, meaning you can make data-informed decisions on content and marketing for your business.
For more info on what Google Analytics can do for your business and how to use it, check out Create's guide.
We know it can be tricky to know exactly how to go about social media marketing: Buffer makes things easier.
Once you’ve made your account, Buffer lets you link to each of your social media accounts so you can manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ pages and more - all from a single platform. From here, you can schedule as many posts as you want from each account.
The best part of Buffer is the Analytics section, where you can view useful data about each post. Measure how much engagement each post receives so you can better understand the best times to post for your business.
The Buffer blog is also a great resource for small businesses, with posts on everything from Instagram marketing tips to interviews with successful entrepreneurs. Not only does Buffer help you make important marketing decisions; it frees up valuable time which you could otherwise spend on your business.
The ‘Individual’ package is free forever - try it today!
Creating professional graphics for your small business is a must, but it can be an intimidating prospect. You might feel you’re lacking the skills to do it yourself, but don’t hire a designer just yet!
Another great small business tool, Canva enables you to create sophisticated graphics for your business for free. Canva is a great online design platform, ideal for creating anything from business cards to menus. You can be as creative as you want or just make a few tweaks to the predesigned templates.
Maybe you need a quick email campaign header? Simply select ‘Create a design’ and select ‘Email header’ from the list of different design templates.
The search function makes it easy to to access and manipulate an enormous gallery of images, font styles and preset templates to make achieving that professional edge a breeze. You can get started as soon as you log in, and it saves automatically as you go along, so you never have to worry about losing work.
The basic package is free forever, and you can do a lot without paying a penny, but if you want access all areas, the upgraded ‘Canva for Work’ package is still under £10 per month.
There are tons of great sites where you can get free stock images to use as you please. Stock images are a great tool for any business; make your brand visually stunning without the hassle (and expense) of hiring a professional photographer. Unsplash is one of the best stock image sites around: not only is it beautifully easy to use, but it has a sophisticated search function and hundreds of new high res images are uploaded daily.
Unsplash also allows you to create your own collections of images, so you can organise them into different groups. This is handy when coming up with different campaign ideas, or just for finding inspiration.
Have a scroll through Unsplash and get inspired - but be warned, you might be on there for a few hours!
For more inspirational stock images, here’s our top 20 list.
Finally, there’s no small business on the planet that couldn’t benefit from having a scroll through Score. Packed with nuggets of information on everything from niche marketing to balance sheet templates, Score champions small businesses by providing you with everything you need to know to make an impact, free of charge.
Check out our list of the 5 best podcasts for small businesses for more entrepreneurial inspiration.
So there you have it: our five best small business resources. You don’t need to break the bank to run a successful business: start small and make the most of these invaluable tools that don’t cost a penny.