The best things in life are free — it’s a truism we all know but we seldom apply to business tools. While there are plenty of great and valuable paid options when it comes to business issues like inventory management or marketing, there are also plenty of free tools that can prove their worth, as well.
Integrate your work and personal life with this free calendar application that brings both of your worlds together once and for all. LuckyCal combines both parts of your life to help you achieve better work and life balance. You can even have it scan through the calendars of colleagues and friends (once they give their permission to the program, of course) so you can find times that work for everyone to schedule anything from a brainstorming session or business call to a cookout and time to unwind.
SCORE is a nonprofit that has dedicated itself to entrepreneurs. They have dedicated volunteers in more than 350 offices across the country and they also offer templates and resources free of charge through their website. These resources include everything from business plan forms and financial reporting templates to contract samples.
Want the convenience and familiarity of Google but with your own domain? Then it’s time to check out Google Apps. The programs are free for smaller companies (up to 10 employees) and then they offer tiered pricing that won’t break the budget.
Google Analytics is one of the best free analytic apps anywhere. The free version of analytics is robust enough to deliver the information you need to develop valuable business intelligence. You’ll find it used and endorsed by companies like PBS, Puma and Nissan as well as by small business owners on blogs and message boards all over the Internet. It’s versatile, easy to use and powered by Google — what else do you need?
HR Tools by Insperity
Human Resources can be a challenging business area for small business owners. The legalities and requirements can take expert help and Insperity offers it up for free. Their HR Tools program gives you information, forms, checklists and tools to help with compliance, HR task management and help retaining employees.