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5 Small Business Tools You Can Get for Cheap

5 Small Business Tools You Can Get for Cheap

For small businesses all around the country, saving money is a huge deal. Monthly budgets often come down to just a few hundred dollars of leeway, which means one step in the right or wrong direction can mean the difference between staying afloat and crashing down. Thus, affordable tools can be a huge asset.

Here are some small business tools that you’ll want to try.

1. Website Builders

If you don’t have any experience or background in web development and design, then building a website from scratch can seem like an unrealistic proposition. Where do you even start?

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The good news is that there are lots of website builders available online. According to an expert review site, the three top website builders for small businesses are Weebly, Wix, and Webs. Each has their own pros and cons, but they’re all cost-effective and highly intuitive.

2. Social Media Automation

Social media is a critically important component of many small businesses, but it’s also highly time-consuming and frustrating. There simply aren’t enough resources to successfully manage all of the responsibilities that come with social media. This is where automation tools come into play.

With free social media automation tools, you can put some of your responsibilities on auto pilot while tending to the tasks that need your full attention. Some of the top time-saving tools include Socialoomph, Post Planner, and Buffer.

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These tools do things like help you schedule social media posts ahead of time, track keywords, automate following, identify social influencers, and more. When properly optimized, you can achieve the same results as manual social media management with much less time.

3. Business Planning

Trying to conduct business planning without a formal department dedicated to the tasks and responsibilities can seem impossible. However, if you have the right tools at your disposal, it can instantly become easier.

The first tool you need to know about is Bplans. With Bplans, you can download free business plan templates, pitch presentation templates, SWOT analysis forms, and other related guides on starting, funding, and scaling businesses. The second tool is Enloop, which allows you to write detailed business plans without much knowledge of the process. It also gives you a three-year financial forecasting report and free business plan grade.

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4. Graphic Design

Not a graphic designer? Don’t worry. There are a ton of free graphic design tools online, but there are two you really need to know about: Canva and Piktochart.

Canva is a free tool that lets you use preformatted templates to create a variety of marketing materials that look like they came straight from a professional designer. Whether it’s brochures, marketing flyers, social media banners, or anything in between, Canva has you covered.

Piktochart lets you design immersive infographics with no knowledge of the design process. Simply use beautiful templates and drag and drop various elements to create a shareable piece of artwork that draws people back to your business.

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5. File Storage

What do you do with all those pesky files? Well, there’s no longer any reason to e-mail files to yourself or to use an inconvenient floppy disk or USB drive. All you need is the right cloud file storage solution. According to one review site, the best options include Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box. Each has its own storage limits and requirements, so find one that works for you.

Arm Yourself with the Right Tools

Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to spend thousands of dollars on small business tools in order to be competitive. All it takes is some patience and a willingness to search for the right solution. There are plenty of opportunities to find free tools, and you should use as many of them as possible. Once you find a handful that you really like, you may even be able to spend a few dollars per month to unlock premium features. Not only does it help you make better decisions in choosing business tools, it also allows you to control your expenses.

Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via static.pexels.com

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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