Blog > How to Get Free Help for Your Business in 2018
Posted By Steve
This time of year can be non-stop. Not only do you have your business to run, but it’s also Christmas which can mean you have a lot going on! Here at Create, we want to be able to give you the best head start into the new year with some free tools and services for you to take advantage of in 2018.
Help From Your Local Area
Networking around your local area and meeting fellow business owners can give a fantastic opportunity not only for you to learn, but for people to learn from you. Sharing knowledge and even sharing customers is a fantastic way for small businesses to grow and develop, so why not do it with your neighbours? All over the country, business owners are coming together in this way through Business Hubs and Co-Working Spaces.
Business Hubs give you the opportunity to network and connect with your fellow business owners in a relaxed environment - a brilliant way to share ideas and thoughts between each other.
Co-Working spaces can give you a place to go that isn’t just the spare room or the lounge, but an actual office space for you to really focus on getting things done. The great thing about co-working spaces is that whilst you’re working, you are surrounded by other people in the exact same situation, running all different kinds of businesses - a perfect opportunity to connect.
Business Hubs and Co-Working spaces are run individually all over the country with a lot of the Hubs being free to attend and the spaces giving at least a free tour. For an example of a great co-working space in our local area, have a look at the Platf9rm website and have a quick search online to find your nearest Hub or Space.
Social Media and Marketing
MailChimp is an amazing email marketing service used by millions of people and businesses all over the world. Their free package gives you the opportunity to create fantastic email campaigns, ranging from newsletters to promotional offers all to try and increase visits to your site. You can also go through all the information on how they have performed both individually and over time, giving you the opportunity to try different styles of email, email subject lines and offers to see what generates the most interest. You can even integrate their Sign Up Forms into your Create website - check out our Help Guide for instructions on how to do so.
Find out more about MailChimp's FREE ‘Starting Up’ package here.
Buffer Social Media
Using Social Media for promotion and connecting with your customers is such a huge part of any business. With Buffer’s free ‘Individual’ package, you can register one social media account for each platform (one Facebook account, one Instagram account…) and monitor them all from the same place.
You can schedule up to 10 posts at any one time across any social media, so you can plan ahead with your content too.
You sign up for Buffer for FREE on their website.
Freebie Friday & #CreatePicks
At Create, we run a weekly Freebie Friday competition on our Facebook page. This is a great opportunity for our customers to not only show off their products in the form of a giveaway but for us to share their website and social media accounts to help drive traffic and sales to them. If you have a Create website and are interested in getting involved with Freebie Friday simply pop your details into this form and one of the team will get back to you with some more information.
We also think it's really important to showcase our customers' amazing stories and products on our own website and social media channels by using #CreatePicks on Twitter. For a chance to be featured, post your product or story on Twitter with the hashtag #CreatePicks or for more information, get in touch with your Account Manager who will pass on your details - we'd love to hear from you.
Barclays Eagle Lab
The Barclays Eagle Lab is a co-working space that has been set up as a community resource for everyone. Their goals are to accelerate UK business, enabling collaboration and giving everyone the opportunity to feel Digitally Empowered.
They hold workshops and talks that are free to attend, as well as holding their weekly ‘Fix It Friday’ where they offer a free day in the lab fixing and repurposing old, damaged or unwanted products. We, at Create, were lucky enough to go down and meet with the people that run our local Barclays Eagle Lab and were so impressed with the way they want to help UK businesses develop, echoing our own passion for helping small businesses grow.
They are popping up all over the country, so be sure to check out their website to find your closest Lab or find out more - whether you’re a Barclays customer or not!
Whether you’re attending events, trade shows or even your local craft fair in 2018, you want to make sure that if anyone shows interest in your business, they know where to find you. Sourcing business cards can be a daunting process - especially if you’re on a tight budget!
BananaPrint are a great stationery printing product that offer 50 FREE business cards with a 48 hour dispatch time - all you need to do is pay for shipping. A great way to get your first batch of business cards without any of the financial worries to go along with them.
You can find out more about BananaPrint’s free Business Card here!
Images and Photo Editing
Images are a huge part of any website, whether it be stock images on your homepage to catch the viewer's eye or the photos you’ve taken yourself and personally edited.
Finding or creating great images for your website can sometimes be difficult, so here are two resources for you to use to make sure that your website stands out from the rest.
Pexels is a great place for your stock images. They pull their free stock photos from all over the internet for you to search through and use on your website. It’s actually where I got some of the images for this blog!
Pixlr is a brilliant editing tool that you don’t even need to download - you can open it directly in your web browser! It is used by graphic designers directly and even taught to students when they learn the principles of graphic design, so you’ll be in great company.
You should also check out our blog post about how to use your Smartphone to take great photos for your website!
We really hope you check out some of these tools and we cannot wait to see what you and your business get up to in 2018. Do you have any other recommendations for free tools or services for business to try? Let me know on Twitter, @SteveHanmer, comment below or get in touch with your Account Manager - we’d love to hear them.