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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 is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant.

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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