Starting a small business can be tough. We know firsthand how challenging it can be to manage a tight budget while trying to get everything off the ground. You may feel pressure to invest in paid tools and software to run your operations, but the cost can quickly add up.
But the good news is that there are many high-quality resources available for free. As small business owners ourselves, we know how valuable it can be to save money and redirect it towards other crucial aspects of your business, such as inventory orders or your website.
In this article, we'll introduce you to 8 essential tools that are completely free and can help you save money while still getting the job done. These tools cover a range of needs, including image editing, creating and editing social media content, copywriting, and more. Whether you're just starting out or have been in business for a while, these tools can help take your business to the next level without breaking the bank.
As a small shop owner, you are likely using either Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook (or all of them!) to promote your business. As video content is becoming increasingly important, having a tool that allows you to quickly and easily edit and enhance your videos can be a valuable asset. That's where CapCut comes in.
CapCut is a powerful and easy-to-use video editor available for free on iOS, Android and desktop devices. It is super intuitive which is perfect for users of all skill levels to create great-quality videos. The app includes a wide range of TikTok and Reels-focused editing tools, such as:
- Remove background
- Online video editor
- Text to speech
- Effects and filters
- Trendy music
- Sound effects
- Auto subtitles
- Transcribe videos
- Text overlay
There is no need to spend $40-$50 a month on Adobe when you can whip up a share-worthy video on CapCut in just a few minutes. Their Instagram and Tiktok accounts also have some really helpful examples and tutorials so you can learn on the fly.
Is there a free trial? No, because it is a free software since CapCut was developed by ByteDance, the giant behind TikTok themselves.
If you find yourself constantly googling "pdf converter," "download Tiktok videos without watermark," or "compress video," then you'll want to check out TinyWow. This user-friendly website provides free access to these features and more (see the GIF below).
Let's face it, it's annoying to be asked to pay $5-10 a month just to do each of these tasks, which add up quickly. That’s why we’re so glad there are websites like TinyWow out there with all these great free small business tools.
How TinyWow manages to keep adding amazing features such as the ones mentioned above or extracting texts from images, removing backgrounds from images, and a full PDF editor, I will never know. One thing for sure though, is that they are giving a lot of other paid tools a run for their money with.
This is another super robust suite of tools, but one of the most useful features they have is the option to remove background from your videos with high accuracy.
The free plan limits us to 5 second-clips only, for a quick product video, that’s usually enough. Since Reels and TikTok videos are usually made up of short clips, you can always cut up your clips and put them together later!
Pair that with a vibrant background video on Canva or CapCut, and you have yourself an awesome new video for your product
If you need to know which new product idea your customers prefer, you need a poll. If you need to find out about people’s experience about your website, you need to send them a set of questionnaires. If you need to hire new staff, you also need a questionnaire to help filter them quickly.
Google Forms are decent, but they are quite limited. What if you want to see the responses of customers in [Canada] who are interested in [stickers]? It is not quite easy to see that with Google Forms. Not to mention it is not the best-looking form builder either.
If you love how beautiful those forms on Typeform look, then Tally is the best free alternative while being no less powerful.
Creating a form on Tally is like learning to write on Notion or Google Docs: You just need to start typing. Need to add a question? Just hit the slash key “/” to bring up a list of question types. You can also embed videos (e.g. of yourself walking people through the questionnaire) or insert images into the form.
It integrates with most of the popular tools such as Airtable, Notion, or Google Sheets so you can view your data on other platforms easily. With the Slack integration, you can also set up to receive a message whenever someone completes the survey.
With a beautiful, minimalist design, unlimited forms, and responses, the monthly cost comes to a total of $0.00. *Insert chef’s kiss emoji*
Speaking of customer feedback, did you know that the best time to ask your customer about the shopping experience on your site is not via email some days later, but right on the order confirmation page, just as they finish with the purchase?
This can be especially valuable for businesses because it allows them to capture the customer's thoughts and feelings about their experience while it is still fresh in their minds.
The problem with gathering feedback via email or other methods is that it creates friction since we have to ask the customer to “click here” and jumps to a web page to answer your questions. The email open rate is around 20% on average, and the click rate is less than 5%. That means only a small portion of the people you sent the email to would actually open it, click on the link and take the survey. What if the page fails to load?
Too much can go wrong, and that’s before we even talk about the average survey response rate of roughly 30%
Any insights collected from your customers, especially first-time customers can be super valuable to help you improve, such as how people found you, any issues during the shopping experience, etc.
The free version is often more than enough for small business needs since there is no limit to viewing and managing the responses inside the app.
We all use Google Sheets for one reason or another, whether to record expenses, manage inventory or analyze customer data. It is a powerful tool for organizing, analyzing, and visualizing data. However, working with large amounts of data can be time-consuming and require high technical expertise to crunch those data.
Enter Sheet Formula.
It is a tool that uses AI to generate Google Sheets formulas; all you need to do is tell it what you want to do in natural language. For instance, if you want to find out how many boxes of incoming inventory have a particular SKU in them, you can ask: Sum of column A when column B contains the word "swaddle_rainbow_small".
It is much faster than searching on the internet for a scenario that is partially similar to what you are trying to figure out.
Free Business Tools That Should Charge Monthly, But Don’t
We hope this article has introduced you to useful tools to help you run your business without breaking the bank. Whether you're looking for ways to improve your marketing, manage your customer relationships, or simply save time and improve efficiency, there are plenty of free tools that can help you achieve your goals without having to pay a subscription.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to sign up for our mailing list. We'll inform you of any new helpful tips and resources to help your business succeed.