Part 1 Technology: Tools to transform your business

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When it comes to running your own business, cost plays a major role.

Forbes reported one of the major reasons small businesses fail is that they run out of cash. As a small business owner you will need to have a keen eye on your expenses every step of your business journey.

Even just spending $25 per month for each subscription for software adds up over time, so you need to make choices on where you will spend your money. Thankfully a number of excellent free tools exist to help founders get organised, get creative and get feedback.

I’ve put together a list of our favourite free tools to help you get started.

Getting creative
Canva is an awesome Australian business helping people without design skills and training to get creative. No need for expensive design tools and training, just sign up online and get started. There are a number of free templates I use on Canva to design social media posts and create communications very easily.

Quality imagery always grab’s people’s attention, however licensing images or creating your own soon adds up over time to costs. Pexels provides a good selection of free stock images to ensure your communications are high quality and stand out.

Of course for anything more complicated, freelancers from around the world on Fiverr can provide solutions to most design problems costs effectively. Although not free it can be cheap. I’ve had many great experiences using this service (and a few bad ones!) so ensure you read reviews and are very clear on what you need to avoid disappointment.

Getting organised
Atlassian just bought out the collaboration tool Trello to help organise projects. Trello can instantly tell you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.

Trello is available through a mobile app and on online with the advantage being teams in multiple locations can collaborate on projects in real time. We use it to manage work on a daily basis and collaborate with team members interstate and overseas. I even have a friend who manages her household in this way. It really is that good!

Getting feedback
The other reasons some small businesses fail is they make products no one cares about. Early feedback from potential clients is key to avoid this pitfall. POP (Prototyping on paper) turns hand-drawn designs to interactive prototypes using a really user friendly app. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars (as we where quoted!) on creating prototypes to test with consumers you can use this tool and create an app using hand drawn designs and then show people. It’s amazing!

Getting feedback from complete strangers is equally powerfully. Submitting our site to Peek allowed us to see and hear a five minute video of a real person using our site. Watching a middle aged man in the North of England using a beauty site was certainly an interesting experience and provided some fresh insights on the user experience on our site.

There are many other excellent free tools to help you build all aspects of your business and it’s also very pleasing how many of them are based in Australia. Also don’t underestimate the value of some ready available tools such as excel which can be used for your finances until you can purchase something more sophisticated.

What are some of your favourite free tools you use in your small business?

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Part 2 Technology: Mobile-friendly websites

James McIntyre
James McIntyre is the co-founder of Beautifinda who has worked previously with tech and creative businesses in Strategy roles including realestate.com.au and gettyimages.com

6 COMMENTS

  1. I did not know that it so easy to design banners for posts. I will definitely try Canva. Now for collaboration I don’t know… It is really hard to find the right solution. I have tried Trello and many more but I think Comidor (www.comidor.com) is the best that I have used so far! It is not in your list but combines great features to cover all business needs.

    • Let us know how you go with POP and Peek Annaliese. Would love to hear what you think. Also, don’t forget to let us know what else you’d like to read about next on the site.

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