7 Free Online Tools Helping Small Business Owners Get Back on Their Feet
Nearly a third of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses had to halt operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a May survey from Facebook and Small Business Roundtable.
And although states are slowly starting to reopen now, many of these establishments will be required to limit occupancy, operate on a reduced schedule, and follow strict employee health guidelines for the foreseeable future.
As the unemployment rate hovers near a record high, and hoards of out-of-work Americans look for jobs, a handful of software and marketing companies are offering their services free of charge to get business owners back on their feet.
Here are some of the free tools helping small businesses re-open up as quickly—and safely—as possible:
Offer: Free marketing and social media tools
GoDaddy, a popular website domain and hosting company, is offering its “Marketing Tools” and “Websites + Marketing” add ons for free.
These services, which normally cost between $10 and $25 a month, include features like 24/7 customer support and GoDaddy’s “InSight” program, which includes social media monitoring, SEO tools, and personalized action plans for sites hosted on GoDaddy.com. New users don’t have to provide credit card information to sign up for either package.
Expiration date: The “Marketing Tools” package expires three months after users sign up. The “Websites + Marketing” package never expires.
Offer: Free ad credits for small and medium-sized businesses
Google Ads, a paid advertisement platform that lets business owners increase traffic to their websites by boosting them on search results, is giving existing customers $1,000 worth of free ad credits through the end of the year.
To be eligible for this offer, you must own a small or medium-sized business with less than a thousand employees, and have already purchased ads through Google or a third-party partner between April 2019 and February 2020.
You don’t have to do anything to sign up for this offer, just be on the lookout for the company’s email, and check your existing ads credit balance, since they will be issuing these credits in small waves.
Expiration date: December 31, 2020
Offer: Free access to Adobe Spark Paid Plan
Adobe Spark helps users make expert-looking graphics, images, and icons to pump up their brand.
For the next few weeks, anyone can sign up to get two months of the platform's premium features — a subscription that comes with over 25,000 templates for print and digital content, and normally costs about $10 a month.
New users do need to provide credit card information, but they can cancel anytime after the two month trial period. Users who are already subscribed to Spark will automatically get two months deducted from their billing cycle.
Expiration date: July 15, 2020
Offer: Free survey templates
SurveyMonkey helps business owners worldwide solicit feedback from clients and employees. The company already offers a free personal basic plan for users with small sample sizes (up to 10 questions and 40 responses per survey), it's added a series of free templates to help small businesses stay connected to patrons and employees.
Some of the templates available at no cost are a “coronavirus leadership check-in,” a “working from home check-in,” and a variety of other surveys designed to measure everything from customer satisfaction to website performance during this tumultuous time.
Expiration date: Not specified
Offer: Free paid plan
Slack is an instant messaging service used by employers across the country to communicate and collaborate with their teams through chat channels, file-sharing, video calls and more.
To support those working hard to provide relief during the pandemic—like nonprofits, researchers, and medical professionals—Slack is offering free "Standard" and "Plus" plans. These plans normally cost from $6.67 to $12.50 a month per active user, billed annually.
You can fill out a form on Slack’s website to apply.
Expiration date: 3 months after signing up
Offer: Free background checks for new hires
Employee background checks are a standard hiring practice for many companies. Through the end of July, TransUnion is offering access to two of its background check packages to help small business owners speed that process up.
The “Basic” package, which is normally $35, includes instant state and county, federal watch lists, national sex offender registry, and national “most wanted” checks. The “Plus” package, which is normally $50, features all those capabilities and a handful of other checks, like fraud alerts and social security number match reports. All of these results are available within minutes, TransUnion says.
Expiration date: July 31, 2020
Offer: Free accounting, invoicing and receipt-scanning software
Wave provides financial management software for small businesses and entrepreneurs. While the company does charge for payroll services, its accounting, invoicing and receipt-scanning software are completely free — and you don't need to enroll in the company’s payroll services to gain access to those tools. There’s also no credit card information required, or monthly subscription fees.
Some of the free services available through Wave include unlimited tracking for income, expenses, sales tax and profit/loss monitoring. The company also has a mobile app that integrates with its accounting platform.
Expiration date: None
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