The Internet isn't just a place to peruse social media and complete BuzzFeed quizzes; it's a wealth of business tools- and resources-gold just waiting for you to mine. So whether you're on a tight budget or just looking to trim some fat, small business owners can find dozens upon dozens of free tools and resources available that can help their business grow. There are free apps that can help to streamline business operations. There are free apps that can manage administrative tasks. There are even apps to help strengthen your writing for email and website content.
But, with the web being such a jam-packed and confusing place to roam, it can be hard to find those resources. So, just consider us your prospector: Here are 21 free tools tour, activity, and recreation businesses can take advantage of.
1. Free Accounting Software: Wave
If you're just getting your business up and running or working with a tight budget, take care of invoices and basic accounting activities with this free accounting software program. The company behind this program offers free, unlimited invoicing to make billing suppliers and vendors a breeze. Make use of the free accounting tools to manage expenses and few financial snapshots.
2. Free Legal Docs: KISS
Approaching investors for seed funding? Then you'll want to make use of Keep It Simple Security (KISS) docs—a set of free legal documents that small business owners can customize without missing out on key legal details and terminology, while also outlining investor rights. The company behind the open-source documents, 500 Startups, consulted a number of law firms to design the documents—so they contain all the necessary legal features, while also keeping it fairly customizable. Just add a few prompted figures and information, and you'll be on your way to getting funding—without the cost of lawyers.
3. Create and Sign Legally Binding Docs: Shake
If you need to create legally binding agreements for a vendor, employee, or contractor, you don't have to pay high fees for a lawyer to put together your documents. Make use of Shake to create legally binding documents within minutes and send it to the recipient for a digital signature. The free version allows you to create, sign, and send unlimited agreements from any device with a set of starter forms.
4. Create Stunning Graphics: Canva
It can cost a pretty penny to buy graphics and fonts (or to pay someone to create them for you), create attractive blog posts and content to share on social networks with the Canva design tool. The tool contains dozens of designs, shapes, illustrations, icons, and charts. And everything is drag-and-drop, which means you can create stunning graphics, Facebook covers, posters, and other visual media within minutes.
5. Image Editing Tool: Pixlr Editor
Since you practically need a PhD to use Adobe Photoshop these days, use Pixlr to edit and enhance existing images for your blog posts, social media sites, and website. This free online editing and image re-sizing tool has almost all the features of Adobe Photoshop—but is easy to learn and use. Tour, activity, and recreation businesses that want to post high-quality images can make use of this tool to edit and enhance all types of professional and candid shots within minutes.
6. Content Editing and Grammar Check: Hemingway Editor
Why does everyone love Ernest Hemingway so much? He wrote clearly and to the point. And that's a lot harder than it sounds—until now. So whether you're publishing blog posts or tour descriptions, make sure your content is free of grammar errors and has good, easy-to-read sentence structure. This cuts the cost of hiring a freelance editor or blogger, while also making your content clear and more relatable for potential customers.
7. Advanced Grammar Checker: Grammarly
Don't rely solely on your word processor or personal editing skills to catch grammar mistakes. This tool is downloaded on your web browser to help you write without mistakes no matter what you're doing. It corrects mistakes on everything from Facebook posts to email messages. Your text is checked automatically as you type and the program monitors activity in an editor panel. You can also upload documents for a quick check.
8. Marketing Lessons: Primer
If you don't have much experience running your small business and navigating the digital world to coordinate a marketing strategy, read up on the basics with this free online learning program. The mobile app features five-minute lessons with practical advice about marketing basics. Use it as a guide or refresher to put together your marketing strategy for your tour, activity, and recreation business.
9. Blogging Guide: FirstSiteGuide.com
Blogging takes a good deal of effort and know-how to make the most of it. So if you're just about to launch a blog to compliment your business website or are completely new to blogging, use this free guide to learn how to launch, maintain, and grow the blog. The guide serves as a blueprint with step-by-step guidelines from expert bloggers, covering everything from customizing and designing the blog to adding content and blog promotion tactics.
10. Schedule Instagram Posts: Latergramme
Promoting your business via Instagram with a series of candid shots, behind-the-scenes images of tours and activities, or even professional shots to give viewers a glimpse of what you offer? Well, you no longer need to worry about posting to Instagram in real-time. Use Latergramme to schedule and manage your Instagram posts so you simply upload a collection of images, add captions, and let those posts get released on a certain date.
11. Automated Social Media Posts: Buffer
Instead of worrying about the best time to schedule your Facebook posts and Twitter updates, just upload all of your content into the Buffer queue and let the program release those Facebook updates and tweets at the best time of the day. The posts are spaced out and posted at optimal times based on Buffer's algorithms, so you can free up administrative time on social media and just update the Buffer queue with fresh content whenever it's convenient for you.
12. Create Surveys: Free Survey Creator
Free Survey Creator makes it a breeze to collect customer feedback. Use this free tool to create a free survey to learn more about your guests and customers. You can post the survey form right on your website or embed it within a blog post to start collecting feedback from visitors. Creating the survey only takes a few minutes and the survey can be placed virtually anywhere on your site.
13. Free Stock Photos: Stock Up
If you need some high-quality images for a blog post or website page but don't want to pay a premium for them, check out the collection at Stock UP. The company adds 28 new photos each week and you can choose from 26 free photos on the site at any time.
14. License-Free Images: AllTheFreeStock.com
This is another free resource for a library of images, videos, music, and icons in one place. Use the free search tool in the left sidebar to search by keyword across multiple sites, including Finda.Photo and Unsplash Search—all in one place. Use keywords like "adventure", "travel," and "trips" to open up a library of high-quality images you can use free of charge.
15. Organize Projects: Trello
Create boards of information to share with employees and team members so that everyone is on the same page about a project or upcoming event. This program makes it easy to organize projects with visual materials and notes. You can also add members to each board so that everyone has access to it and can contribute on their own time. This can eliminate a lot of back-and-forth emailing and also makes it easy to create a to-do list for various projects.
16. Keep Track of Notes: Evernote Basic
If you currently email yourself random things you've found or ideas you think of on the go, make use of this app to store everything in one place to view and organize later. Evernote is designed with virtual "Notebooks" and "Notes" where you can capture screenshots, text, and links with ease. The free version allows you to use all of the basic features to improve productivity and stay organized. There's also a built-in chat feature to invite colleagues or employees to view a note you've created.
17. Synced Cloud Storage: Dropbox
Keep track of files, video clips, and other important documents by uploading everything to Dropbox and organizing it into folders. You can access all of these files from the cloud and authorize other users access to certain documents when you need to share them. Dropbox has a free and paid version depending on how much storage you need. The free version includes 2GB of space and simple file sharing features.
18. Organize Online Search Findings: Pocket
Capture everything from articles, video clips, photos, and anything else you find on your web search with Pocket. You can save directly from your browser or favorite apps to view or read later. This can make it easier to research something or just keep track of notes and ideas when you're exploring and brainstorming ideas for a project.
19. Small Business Templates and Tools: SCORE
Whether you want to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, put together a marketing budget, or read up on tax tips for running your small business, you'll find a wealth of free resources and guides available from the SCORE Association. Download free templates to create important business documents with little effort.
20. Expense Reporting: Expensify
Take the guesswork out of tracking and recording expenses with this app that makes it easy to categorize expenses based on different expense accounts you set up, while also linking card transactions with cash expense reports for accuracy. Make use of the SmartScan tool to upload and store a receipt to link it to each reported expense.
21. Back Up Your Files: Google Drive
If you currently use a variety of Google apps and want to keep track of documents, images, and other types of content in one place, make use of the Google Drive. The free version gives you 15GB of free Google online storage to store all types of media and files. You can pull up the files from any smartphone, tablet, or computer and also share files and folders with others via email.
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