It will not have escaped your notice that there are many products and services out there that are listed as “FREE”. You are also familiar, I’m sure, with the adage that “You get what you pay for”. Are these statements always true? Assuming that you are not fully ready to spend all of your hard earned pennies on having the best known software tools in the current climate, here are a few of the opportunities to get what you want in a way that may not cost you any cash. (I should say here that I am not an affiliate of any of these organisations, and I gain no financial advantage from you visiting their sites and links below.) Whilst not the best solutions for the fully established entities that are surging towards domination of our planet, these options can be life-saving (and life-giving) for the small but growing business in a global age. There are some overlaps in the examples below, but I am sure you are more than able to recognise what works well for your challenge and might provide a good, and almost always free solution.
So, in no particular order whatsoever, here we go…!
Aha! A product strategy tool. This has simple and clean approach, and will be helpful for putting all your thoughts and projects in order for specific and ongoing timelines. Good function for launches of products and services, with a clever gantt style calendar view. It gives a free trial period, and is free after that for up to 5 users.
Zoho Business applications in a well integrated package for easy use. They call it “an operating system for business”, and they’re not far off. All areas from people, customers, projects, finance, and many more are covered by their wide-ranging and growing suite. they are a huge partner of Google, and have the integrations to prove it. Their plans have a free option for almost all apps, and their small accounting function is great to use when mobile.
Mailerlite Automated email marketing software that can save hours and cement relationships. This is in a competitive arena, and performs well to allow replies and follow-ups to be easily managed to keep your subscribed customers and prospects engaged over an extended period. The use of landing pages is made simple, and the plug-ins for use on a site are straightforward. This is free for up to 1,000 subscribers.
Canva design tool to assist with graphics that you might need on your website and promotional materials. Not able to afford Photoshop? This provides a good spread of resources and flexibility, which allows you to build your design from scratch. You can use your own or stock images as well as screenshots and presentation slides to create punchy and vibrant graphics to use for targeted or longterm purposes. Free to register to use.
WordPress. Very widely used content management system, for easy and fast access to changes needed on a blog or website. There are two flavours, “.com” and “.org” If you use the first, then it is truly free to start off with. There is a huge community of support, and it really is simple to tweak your site to what you want. There are over 74 million WordPress sites out there, and around half are on the .com platform.
G Suite. The latest incarnation and wrapping from Google for an alternative to MS Office. If you want to keep legal, then this is the one that does have a small monthly charge of $5 per month for a user, but you get a lot for your money.
So there you have it. Some options to get free value in a monetary world. There are of course others that may meet the brief above, but these are some that I think are worth a look. If you use any of these already, or you find the examples interesting, please leave me a comment.