Who doesn’t love a freebie?
You may find you have all your systems sussed and are comfortable with your current ways of working, but it is always worth being aware of what other platforms and products are on the market… especially the free ones!
I’ve put together a list of what I feel are the most useful and free online tools that can help transform the way you work for the better. You might even find them useful for your personal life and not just your business.
First up on the list is Trello: a great tool for those who feel overburdened with task lists and managing workloads and deadlines. It’s essentially a giant online whiteboard for the remote office worker, as well as a collaboration tool that allows you to plan and communicate with your team effectively, assigning tasks, deadlines and really allowing the users to keep track of projects. The free version allows up to 10 boards, and with labels, checklists, email notifications for tasks and the ability to integrate with other systems, it is perfect for the keen organiser.
Next we have Calendly, a scheduling tool that you can use directly with your clients or team members to arrange appointments and manage your business diary efficiently. Simply open up your business hours and your contacts can book in directly a time slot, cancel or reschedule as needed, without the need for back and forth email communication – what a time saver! It links with your video conferencing software and online calendar along with other apps. As a bonus, it has additional features allowing you to customise the user experience, for example, pre-set questions for you to determine information from a client before your meeting and the ability to incorporate your business’ branding. The free version allows for unlimited meetings and booking links to your website.
As we all know, social media is a marketing platform that no business can ignore, yet it can be a minefield to be up to date across all channels. Buffer is designed to take away some of that pain by aiding the schedule of your social media posts. Just think of the time you would save if you proactively scheduled your social content in advance, allowing Buffer to post for you at the right times for engagement. Just write your content when you feel inspired and not when you feel pressured to post. The free version allows you to schedule 10 posts across 3 social media platforms.
In this digital business market of apps and social media, the traditional email is still heavily used in marketing strategies as it enables you to communicate as much relevant content to your clients as possible. Mailchimp is the complete marketing tool for your business, helping you manage your mailing lists, newsletters and subscriptions. It allows scheduling of campaigns, has easy to use design templates for content creation, and full marketing CRM. You can use this system for up to 2,000 contacts for free so it is perfect for any small to medium-sized business looking to keep their clients informed and, more importantly, engaged!
Finally, I want to talk about Canva. This is an absolute must for those who want to create professional literature and branding for their business but do not have the budget for a graphic designer or design knowhow. With over 250,000 templates and hundreds of thousands of graphics and photography (and this is just the free version!), you are able to easily create everything from social media posts, presentations, YouTube videos, logos… the list is endless and is guaranteed to support you in today’s image-driven world.
So get out there and give these systems a go to streamline your ways of working and give you more time for the important things… like running your business!