All businesses need to look appealing and get their message across in an effective, yet also visually pleasing way, as well as reach their audiences through various outlets. Simply running your business these days demands a great deal of technical solutions that can end up carving a hole in your budget. Small businesses do not most often have the resources to cough up the money to buy the latest software and tools that would not even necessarily help them much as some of these programmes are meant mainly for professionals in their field. Consider the Adobe Creative Suite for instance…a great package of design tools, but do you really need it? And most of all, would you even know how to use it?
There are some great online tools available that also often offer free a little more limited version of their solutions. We wanted to gather here some good free online office tools that could help your company in time-management, productivity, marketing, reporting, etc. you name it. Take a look at the list below and try out some of the tools and see if you could have use for them in your business…or in fact if they could help you launch your business!
Trello is a project management tool that enables you to share your project with your co-workers and team members. It offers you a chance to create cards for the tasks that need completing and assign team members to the tasks. At the back of the cards you can have discussions about the task, create check lists, add videos, pictures and other references related to the task etc. The great thing about Trello is that it is completely interactive and you see changes made on the board immediately when another team member makes them, enabling you to keep track of progress of your project without any delays. Trello can be integrated with your Google account and functions online, making it possible for team members to work collaboratively despite where they are based. Perfect for people on the move!
This article introduces ten alternatives to Adobe Photoshop, both PC and Mac based solutions are on offer. The article introduces the tools and gives more information on the types of tasks these tools would be best suited for. Take a look and see which ones you would find most useful.
In our current societies we are practically bombarded with information and our brains are not capable of internalising the flow of information brought to us. This is just one of the reasons why data visualisation and the need for it has grown immensely in recent years, and small businesses who want to make a powerful impact on their audience need to jump in the game as well. This is particularly important for Social Entrepreneurs whose business ideas are often based on tackling social, environmental and economic issues where persuading people to change their behaviour and take a deeper look at their communities is essential. Infographics and visually appealing campaign could be just the trick you need. Piktochart offers a free (although rather limited) solution for creating whimsical charts and infographics for any social entrepreneur. Also take a look at other data visualisation tools on offer online for free or with a minimal fee.
Sometimes it is worth checking how your customers are doing and how satisfied they are with your services and products, or in fact if you just need to compile data for launching your next project or campaign. Survey tools can be used very flexibly to compile data and reach out to your audience, SurveyGizmo is just one of the many free online survey tools available. SurveyGizmo’s free version offers a wide range of question and survey types, a variety of different templates and styles. After your survey is complete the programme creates an automatic report with tables and charts compiled automatically. The reports are downloadable.
A simple tool for visualising your key terminology or data. Creates word clouds and enables you to manage to style and colours of your production. Simple yet not always very useful tool for every occasion, but can be used to give a little more style to your leaflets for instance. You need to make sure your Java plug-ins are up to date and running as they should. The programme will let you know if something is not right.
Free video editors that are available on your PC and Mac often do the trick for your video editing needs, but there are other tools available of course. Videos are engaging and again convey your message in a concise and compressed form, not crowding the audience with information that is already packed in their field of vision. Aside from your Windows Movie Maker and iMovie, this article introduces some of the other free tools available. Take a look and see if you would have use for any of them.
Join.me is a screensharing and webinar programme that helps you connect with customers, partners and clients online. The free version offers quite a nice rnage of options for hosting a webinar and participants do not need to download any software, simply enter the code you send them via e-mail on the join.me site and participate in the webinar. This is a good tool when you need to explain or review documents or give a presentation. The participants can join the conversations via chat and control of your screen can also be given to a participant. Very intuitive and easy to use programme.
Search engines love blogs! Setting up a blog is a good idea, especially if you are targeting niche markets and need to reach audiences that are looking for alternatives to mainstream solutions. Blogs also attract big traffic if you are able to reach your audience and are not afraid to put yourself out there. Blogs can also function as initial websites for your project and business as today they offer a wide range of templates, styles and functions for you to use and can often be connected to your social media outlets as well.
If you have any comments or additions to the list, please do leave us a comment and we will give your suggestions a go. Also let everyone know if you have experiences using any of the above tools or other ones that you think would be great for social entrepreneurs!