How to get more organised and save time with free online tools
How can you get more organised and streamline your small business operations? Maybe you have a stack of business cards that you would like to organise in a spreadsheet and add to your contacts? Or you just started your business and need to capture your initial business receipts and expenses, before you engage an accountant. And how can you generate that QR code to point to your website or link to your socials?
In this listicle you will find some free online tools, many of which we are using, because they help us stay organised and help us run our business more efficiently.
These are all cloud-based tools. We have used Wave, but since January 2021 they have focused on the US market and there is less functionality available to Australian businesses now. That means that you cannot connect your bank account anymore, but you can still import transactions manually. Our accountant uses Xero (Starter plan costs $27.00 p/m and has a promo at the time of writing).
- Wave – Accounting, Invoicing, and Receipts are free, Payment processing is charged per transaction.
- ZipBooks – Starter is free and includes invoicing and digital payments via PayPal or Square.
- SlickPie – Starter is free for up to 10 companies, and includes email support.
Whether you want to improve readability, optimise your blogs for search engines, or need some fresh ideas, here are some cool tools.
- HeadlineAnalyzer – You need to sign up, but it is free. Our blog headline scored 86/100, and SEO 100.
- Hemingway Editor – No sign-up needed, checks readability, grammar, etc.
- Do you ever run out of ideas? Try a fresh approach and ask a question on https://answerthepublic.com/ (It is free to ask up to three questions per day.)
- Blog topic generator from Hubspot is free for up to 5 topics. You need to subscribe if you want more uncommon topic ideas, and you can get a year’s worth of topics.
Here are some scanning apps we have used.
- You can download the CamCard app to your mobile phones from the google and Apple stores. The entry level version is free and offers full functionality for up to 200 business cards.
- There is a free trial for up to 10 business card scans for Covve, and you can download the app from the google and Apple stores. This page has more information and pricing.
Demos and screen recording
Loom is great to record anything that happens on your screen. The free Starter gives you up to 100 videos, each up to 5 minutes in length. We have been using the Loom for Chrome extension to record different processes, tests, and user journeys.
Managing projects and events
Here are a couple of tools that we have used:
- Trello. Trello has great templates and the free ‘Get started’ plan offers unlimited cards, unlimited members, unlimited storage (10MB per file), up to 10 boards, etc. We have used it with Agile teams and for make it local.
- smartsheet offers a 30-day free trial version. It is a good tool for gantt charts, and is predominantly used in traditional project management.
QR Code Generator
We have used this for a QR code of the website URL on our business cards. But you can also generate codes on the QR Code Generator site for vcards, text, e-mail, images, mp3, etc. Check out their website. You can also customise the QR code shape and colour for free.
Scheduling and editorial calendar tools
We are currently using Airtable for our social media calendar. Other tools we are aware of but have not used are Later (free for individuals, you can schedule 30 posts each for instagram, facebook, twitter and pinterest) and Infinity (not free, starts at USD9.00 p/m).