“Software doesn’t have to be expensive for Startups or small to mid-size Businesses (SMBs). Here are 20 Tools to get your SMB up and/or soaring !!! Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
Startup Topics: Biz Intelligence, Email Mktg, E-Commerce, CRM, Social Media Listening, Applicant Tracking, HR Mgt, Video Conferencing, Virtual Private Network VPN.
Tools on the Cheap ???
Running a Startup/ Small Business isn’t cheap. Unless you’re one of the lucky entrepreneurs who can afford ($$$) to take Risks, you’ll want to carefully review any important decisions you & your Team makes. Enterprise software is no different. We’ve compiled this list of 20 “free” Tools that your small business should be using. Fortunately for you, all of the software listed below, offer premium versions to which you can upgrade once your business grows. So don’t shy away from the products on this list under the false assumption that you will eventually scale out of this category.
#1. Power BI – Business Intelligence from Microsoft [Free]
is available in a paid and free version for self-service Business Intelligence (BI). The free version limits you to 1 GB per user, which you can pay to increase to 10 GB. With this plan, your data will refresh daily, you’ll be able to scan 10,000 rows of data per hour, and you’ll be able to publish to the web. To consume live data sources, scan millions of rows of data, or access data on a physical server, you’ll need to upgrade to Power BI Pro, which is still reasonable at $10 per user per month. The Pro version of this software also provides you with ways to collaborate with co-workers on visualizations across environments such as Microsoft Office 365.
#2. Email Marketing from MailChimp
$10 is one of the best and most popular Email Marketing platforms on the market. Service Tiers are priced depending on how many Emails you send per month. If your company sends fewer than 12,000 email messages per month to fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you’ll absolutely love MailChimp’s Forever Free plan. This “steal of a deal” lets you use built-in Signup forms to gather subscribers from across the web. You can use MailChimp’s drag-&-drop designer & Email templates to craft the perfect message. You won’t get robust reporting on the Forever Free plan, but you’ll be able to check open rates and compare them to the average company in your industry.
#3. E-Commerce Software from X-Cart
$29.95 For companies that have products to sell but don’t have much money to design a complex Online Shopping Cart, X-Cart 5, (which is the name of the “free” version), is a powerful solution. It offers advanced features such as newsletters, social-commerce sharing, and a site-builder for tweaking themes. X-Cart provides free core upgrades & free extensions such as ShipStation to generate shipping labels, Magic Slideshow to create a Slide Show on the site, and Diib Analytics. Keep in mind: You’ll need a bit of technical prowess to get started with X-Cart 5. It’s not a plug-and-play E-commerce tool, so be sure to have a handy IT person around to walk you through your setup.
#4. Customer Relationship & Project Management from Apptivo CRM
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are often complex, expensive + loaded with features you’ll never need. Apptivo CRM offers a free Starter plan for up to 3 users that’s designed to ease you into the complicated world of CRM. With the Starter plan, you’ll gain access to detailed reporting, 500 MB of data, and Project Management features such as milestone tracking & project templates. You’ll also be able to connect your free CRM to free Helpdesk, Finance management, & Procurement tools, which is especially helpful if you’re a startup that is just dipping its toe into the world of cloud services.
#5. Social Media Listening from HootSuite
[Free] Most small businesses don’t need a “mega” Social Listening platform. A free, easy-to-use dashboard that lets you stay up-to-date on what your customers are saying should be enough. Fortunately, HootSuite Free offers a “free” version of its software that’s good enough to do the trick. With it, you’ll be able to manage multiple Social Networks, schedule Posts, & Interact with your followers. You’ll also be able to track how many followers you have on each of your social networks and monitor which posts are generating the most clicks. If your business grows, you can move up to one of three premium plans, which give you access to additional profiles, analytics, & multiple users.
#6. Applicant Tracking from Zoho RecruitFree
[Yes, really Free] Small businesses that don’t have job openings often will love Zoho RecruitFree. This Applicant Tracking tool gives you access to one Recruiter and up to 5 open positions at once. You’ll be able to input, publish, & track jobs until you find the right candidate for your company’s specific needs. You’ll also be able to send Emails to applicants via 5 ‘free” Email templates, which will make your life easier if you have to send the same (or similar) messages over & over again.
#7. Human Resources Management from Deputy
[$2, if you can afford it. LoL] Once you’ve found the right candidate, you’ll need to track his or her progress via a Human Resources (HR) management tool. Deputy offers a Starter plan that costs just $1 per employee per month. Deputy will allow you to schedule employee shifts, make company announcements, & manage tasks – all within one easy-to-use tool. Unfortunately, at this price tier, you won’t be able to add Time-sheets or Payroll integration. For that, you’ll have to spend an extra $2 per employee per month; If you can handle it. LoL Wiz4.biz
#8. Video Conferencing from Join.meFree
(really Free) If you’re looking to connect with clients, prospects, & remote workers, you’ll often need a reliable Video Conferencing solution to help you get the job done. Join.meFree offers a free plan that lets you invite up to 10 video participants, share screens, and supports up to 5 video feeds. Join.me isn’t the most robust offering on the market, but it’s definitely the strongest competitor among the “free” solutions. If you don’t have much $$$ to spend, and you need the cream of the free crop. Join me at Join.me
#9. Virtual Private Network from CyberGhost
($3.50) Small businesses that are extremely concerned about “security” should look into personal Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. These services hide online activity from snoops + limits who can & can’t access network Content. Most VPNs are pay-to-play but there are a few services, such as, that give you a bit of protection at no cost. CyberGhost is the best free VPN on the market. It offers reliable connection speeds & excellent network security, plus it works on most modern Operating systems. It’s somewhat difficult to configure, especially for really small businesses. If you need Mac or Linux support, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version. But if you just need something simple, easy, & free, CyberGhost is a great tool.
Comments: Do you know any other “free/ low $$$ Tools for Startups?
see full Article at PC Zine 30 Jan 18 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
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