When it comes to running a small business, or any business at all, free apps are underrated. Sure, the ones for which you pay money might have more features, but who says you need those features designed for big businesses? Not us. We have done the research and found the best free apps from 7 categories—engagement, storage, meetings, communication, creativity, documents and finances, and health—that will help you improve both your small business and yourself.
- Wheel of Names. When it comes to customer engagement, many companies opt for giveaways or sweepstakes to collect emails and get people interested in their brands. Wheel of Names is a great tool for these types of promotions. Not only does it make the selection process fun with applause and confetti once the name is announced, but it makes it easy; you just put in the names or emails of people who have entered, spin the wheel, and voila! You’ve got your winner.
- Mentimeter. We have all been there: somebody in your company is giving a presentation, not once does anyone else talk, and you might find yourself zoning out and daydreaming about the delicious dinner you’ll be having that night. With Mentimeter, that will no longer be the case. Spice up your presentations and encourage audience involvement with live polls, quizzes, word clouds, Q&A’s, and more interactive activities. This is also a great way to get input from your audience so you know how they are feeling about the topic.
- Slido. This app is similar to Mentimeter in terms of function; audience members can participate in polls, quizzes, Q&A sessions, and more. Slido has the ability to make your meeting more fun and interesting, and while you are conducting the meeting, Slido is collecting information. You can get valuable insights into which topics your audience favors, and use that info to further your discussion and keep your audience engaged. Slido also integrates with many other programs (Slack, Google Slides, Zoom, and more!), so no matter what platform you use, Slido is there to boost your presentation.
- SlickText. Many of us have received or sent texts from businesses, often prompted by people telling us to “text APP to 111 to win…” or “text VOTE to 111 to vote for…” Have you ever wondered how those work? Have you ever wanted to set one up yourself? You can! With SlickText, you can select a keyword and customize the response that customers will receive once they text that keyword. On top of that, you can also add those people to your text marketing list; it has never been easier to reach your prospects!
- Dropbox. DropBox Basic is free and offers 2 gigabytes of storage; Dropbox Business, which includes more storage, offers a thirty-day free trial for customers to try out their features and see how they like it, and after that, you have three different plans to choose from. As they say on their website, Dropbox “is more than just secure file storage—it’s a smart workspace where teams, tools, and content come together.” It acts as a secure central location for all of your team’s content and makes it easy for you to collaborate from anywhere.
- Google Drive. Most, if not all, of us are familiar with Google Drive. In fact, this blog was originally written in Google Docs! Google Drive is an excellent choice for storing your files and sharing them with team members. You can create shared folders, work together on files in real-time, and access any of your documents from anywhere with an internet connection. Google Drive includes Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, and many other apps that make it hard to believe that it is free!
- Zoom. By now, everybody recognizes the name “Zoom,” and if you do not, you will quickly learn. Zoom is a platform primarily used for video conferencing (although it is not necessary to have your camera or even your microphone on) that can manage many participants without losing quality; the free plan allows you to host up to one hundred participants for up to forty minutes. You can also share your screen with other participants, or you can let them share their screens. If you want to have some fun, too, or if you are not in a professional setting, you can change the background of your video!
- Google Hangouts. Much like Zoom, Google Hangouts allows you to host virtual meetings with two or more people; you can also make phone calls and send instant messages for fast and seamless communication. To join your video conference, people only need the link or the PIN, and, if necessary, they can just dial in from their phones. You can share your screen with participants in the video call, and you can even allow or deny access to people requesting to join!
- Otter. Have you ever been in a meeting where it seems impossible to actively listen and take notes at the same time, so you have to sacrifice one for the other? Well, with Otter, you no longer need to worry! Otter records and transcribes meetings, generates summaries and even word clouds, and identifies speakers. On top of that, you can organize your recordings and associated content with folders and share these with members of your team—for free!
- MailChimp. MailChimp dubs itself an all-in-one marketing platform, and that is not without reason. MailChimp helps you with everything relevant to marketing to your client base, ranging from creating and customizing a website to sending out mass emails and surveys to your mailing list. It is fun, easy-to-use, and allows you to be creative with how you connect with your customers. The free plan allows you to reach up to two thousand contacts, and that number increases with each upgrade (as do the features you can access).
- WhatsApp. Most people use WhatsApp for its instant messaging services, but there are other functions of the app as well! You can send voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share documents through the app. Group chats are also a big part of this app, and this is especially useful if you have colleagues or clients from outside of the country who do not want to pay to make international calls or send international texts!
- PicMonkey. PicMonkey is an excellent application for bringing your photos to life. Its image editing tools can help you create a more exciting and engaging presence on social media, YouTube, and even at your storefront. You can create Instagram posts, business cards, video thumbnails, and so much more. For some features, you do have to pay, but you can take advantage of their free trial to take it all for a test drive!
- Canva. When it comes to design, Canva is one of the best tools out there. Not only can you use their wide variety of features to create works of art from scratch, but they have countless templates for social media posts, flyers, presentations, resumes, and much more! You can also access their library of fonts and photo editing tools; the possibilities are pretty much endless. For a little extra pizazz, you can upgrade from the free version; this also allows you to upload your own fonts, get access to premium images, and more.
DOCUMENTS AND FINANCES
- Adobe Scan. When you are trying to work productively, it can be a pain to have to feed all your documents through a scanner or, even worse, scan each of them in a bulky printer. Now you can keep your scanner in your pocket! With Adobe Scan, you can quickly scan an image, create a PDF, crop it, and clean it. You can also use the app for fast and easy electronic signatures as well as filling out forms!
- GasBuddy. With gas prices constantly fluctuating, it sure would be handy to be able to know where the cheapest gas around you is. Well, with GasBuddy, finding the cheapest station is simple! You can search by city, state/province, or even by brand. Better yet, you can actually save money by paying with GasBuddy, and you can use the app to get money from normal, everyday purchases to put towards gas!
- Headspace. Even though you might have an assortment of free apps at your disposal, things in the real world can still be a little stressful. That is why it is important to take a breath and relax. Headspace is one of the most popular apps for meditation, and you can access introductory sessions for free! You can also take advantage of their two-week free trial to test out all the features of the app.
- Calm. Similar to Headspace, Calm is an app designed to help you clear your mind, relax, and even get better sleep. When you sign up, you can answer a few questions, and based upon your answers, the app is actually personalized based upon your needs. The account is free, and by the time you finish your first session, you will be sleeping like a log at night!
What are you waiting for? Download one of these free apps now, try it out, and let us know what you think! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our team at Fast Trac Consulting.