15 Free Digital Resources for Every Small Business to Consider
Owning your own business is a huge accomplishment. At Mutual of Omaha, we’re committed to helping small business owners like you succeed and grow. After all, we’ve been working with businesses to provide strategies for more than 70 years. Need advice? Have questions? We can help you build a stronger business. There are plenty of other free business resources that can help you succeed, too! Here are 15 free business resources to check out.
Business Resources: Planning
1. Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Where to find it: SBA.gov
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: The SBA is a federal agency that assists small businesses in many different ways. You can contact them for business counseling, help getting a loan and even education to help you develop your product or service.
How to use it: Just getting your business off the ground? Need help growing your business? Visit the Learning Center on the website to find free courses on how to start and run your business.
- Where to find it: Score.org
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides small business owners with educational resources. SCORE can help you learn to develop a business plan, create a business strategy and take the right steps to start your business.
- How to use it: Connect with one of SCORES 10,000 expert business mentors who can help you through tough situations you may face as an entrepreneur.
- Where to find it: Entrepreneur.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Entrepreneur.com provides countless resources for business owners in a variety of formats related to starting and owning a small business.
- How to use it: Feeling stuck? Need some inspiration or advice? Visit the Entrepreneur website and listen to podcasts, watch videos, sign up for webinars and read articles about topics that can inspire you or educate you on whatever challenges you’re facing in your business.
- Where to find it: Kickstarter.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Kickstarter is a fundraising website. Small businesses can create a page to raise funds from the community to help fund an idea, product or service.
- How to use it: If you lack funding for a new idea and the pile of lottery tickets in your trash can is getting sad, Kickstarter can help you raise the money needed to get your new product launched. Simply go to the website and click “start a project.”
Business Resources: Data Collection
5. Google Analytics
- Where to find it: Google Analytics
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Google Analytics provides free insights into who visits your website. This information can help you better understand your customers and further develop products or services to serve them.
- How to use it: Want to know which page your visitors are interacting with the most? Or, are you curious the last page people are viewing before closing your website altogether? Once set-up, the data you gather from Google Analytics can tell you this. Plus, your learnings can help you decide what to post on your website, identify cross-sell opportunities and even perfect pricing strategies. For all things Google Analytics, visit the comprehensive analytics help section.
Business Resources: Marketing
6. Google My Business
- Where to find it: Google My Business
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Have you ever searched for something online and noticed businesses show up in the results? Have you ever seen your competitor in the results and not you? What you saw was most likely a Google My Business listing! Google My Business is a way for small businesses to be seen when people search for things related to what your business provides at a local level. It also allows the business owner to add pictures, hours of operation and other things customers might need to know.
- How to use it: Simply verify and edit your business information to help customers find you and tell them the story of your business. Go to www.google.com/business or call 1-844-491-9665 to get started or ask questions.
- Where to find it: Canva.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Canva is a tool to create unique designs for small businesses that may not have the financial resources to hire a graphic designer. Canva has helpful, pre-made layouts and templates that you can use to start off a design.
- How to use it: Want to freshen up the invitation for your next open house? Interested in high-quality social media graphics? Visit the Canva website and start creating! Other things you could create are menus, flyers, email headers and more!
- Where to find it: WordPress.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: WordPress provides small businesses with an easy way to build a website. If you keep wordpress.com in the web address, it is free, but you can also get your own URL (example: www.yourcompanyname.wordpress.com vs. www.yourcompanyname.com) for a fee.
- How to use it: Visit the site, select a template, then build out a website!
- Where to find it: MailChimp.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Small businesses can use MailChimp to organize and send out emails to their subscriptions lists. There are some limitations, but it’s a great way improve communication with your customers!
- How to use it: Need to tell your customers you’re having a sale? Launching an awesome product that you want your email list to know about? MailChimp can help you easily create high quality emails to do this.
- Where to find it: Hootsuite.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Hootsuite is a good tool for organizing and scheduling social media posts. The basic account is free, and there are upgrades available if you want to expand your use later. It can be a time saver, too, because it allows you to view and post from all of your social media channels – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. – from one dashboard.
- How to use it: If social media isn’t at the forefront of your brain most days, Hootsuite can ensure you never forget to post about your upcoming sale (as long as you remember to schedule it). Once you create an account and link your social media profiles, you can schedule posts and get insights on how their performing to learn what you can do better next time.
- Where to find it: Unsplash.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Unsplash lets you search for and download specific pictures to use for commercial purposes. You don’t have to give credit to the photographer, but it’s encouraged.
- How to use it: Looking for the perfect image to use as the background for your next ad? Needing to update imagery on your website but don’t have photography in the budget? Get on Unsplash, download a high quality image, then use it however you need without the risk of copyright infringement.
Business Resources: Efficiency
- Where to find it: YouCanBook.Me
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: YouCanBook.me allows small businesses to book clients and customers for their services. The basic account is free, but upgrades are available for a fee.
- How to use it: Pretend you’re a CPA for a minute – tax season is around the corner and you have client after client calling to schedule your time. By Adding YouCanBook.me to your website or Facebook page, your customers can book themselves from there, giving you more time to do your actual work.
- Where to find it: TaskQue.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: TaskQue allows small businesses to manage and automate tasks to designated team members – for free.
- How to use it: Does Susan frequently forget to do her timesheets? You could assign her a task in TaskQue and see when she’s (finally) done it.
- Where to find it: Slack.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Slack is a great tool for team collaboration and online conversations. The easy-to-use platform allows you and your team to message back and forth, which can help boost communication. Plus, you can integrate other tools with it. Some tools you may already use, like Dropbox and Google Docs, and many mentioned on this list work seamlessly with Slack.
- How to use it: If you hate getting up out of your comfy desk chair and walking all 50 steps to the person you need to help you answer a quick question, instant messaging is for you – and Slack can help.
- Where to find it: Evernote.com
- Why it’s helpful for small businesses: Evernote helps small businesses keep track of the creative process, from brainstorming to implementation.
- How to use it: Do you write all your notes in 100 different places then struggle to put all the pieces together when it comes time to actually do anything from those notes? Evernote can be your note taker, pocket notebook, to-do list, etc. – all in one easy to find and easy to access place. It even syncs automatically across all your devices (think: phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computer).
Regardless of your business size, take some time to think how these tools could help your business. After all, anything that can help you plan, save and prosper is a good use of time, right?