Growing your small business can be tough, especially when you don’t have much money to spend on investments along the way. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable tools out there to help you reach your goals.
We’ve found 10 investments that will help you grow your business, from managing your accounts to marketing and website development. The best part? Each one costs under $1,000.
1. Trades or service-specific job management tools
Trades or service-specific tools, like ServiceM8 for tradies, help you to manage and control each job directly from the platform. For example, ServiceM8 records tasks associated with each customer or client, manages job and staff schedules, creates invoices, and can even track payment when the job’s done.
ServiceM8 cost: First 20 jobs FREE, or $0.40 per job for up to 300 jobs per month.
2. Marketing automation software
Investing in marketing automation software, like MailChimp, can make your marketing efforts not only easy, but also affordable. MailChimp lets you automatically send updates about your products or services to people based on where they’re at in the customer journey via beautiful, easy-to-create templates. You can even track conversions from your emails with simple analytics – all from your online account.
MailChimp cost: FREE for new businesses, or $10 per month for unlimited sending and access to support teams.
3. Social media publishing tools
Planning, scheduling, and posting on social media could almost be a full-time job. Tools like Buffer make it simple and stress-free. Working across every major platform, this type of software will publish posts automatically according to your publishing schedule, which you can manage from a single dashboard with all your accounts.
Buffer cost: FREE or $10 per month for up to 100 scheduled posts per account.
4. Inbound marketing and sales platforms
Want to attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers? Comprehensive inbound marketing systems like HubSpot optimise your website to increase conversions. HubSpot covers everything from web design to SEO, campaign management, and analytics to help turn leads into loyal customers.
HubSpot cost: FREE or $68 per month for more insights into your leads, and phone and email support.
5. Cloud accounting software
Cloud-based accounting software takes the stress away from managing the financial side of your business. Tools like QuickBooks Online let you create invoices, manage payroll, and track sales, expenses, and GST, all from the platform or a handy app if you’re self-employed. You can even integrate it with a range of other tools, like ServiceM8 or Shopify, to make life even easier.
QuickBooks Online cost: $26.95 per month for the recommended Plus package or $5.49 for the mobile app.
6. Data protection and security
It’s every small business owner’s worst nightmare that they’ll lose important business data from security violations or technological meltdown. So, avoid this ever happening and invest in data protection and security tools like CrashPlan. With it, you can protect important business information, and save and back up all your data to a secure cloud network to access any time.
CrashPlan cost: $10 per month per device.
7. e-commerce platforms
Thinking of selling your products online? Then you’ll need a reliable e-commerce platform. Shopify, for example, takes care of everything, from marketing and payments to secure checkout and shipping. Its list of features is impressive too, such as unlimited products, fraud analysis, discount codes, and comprehensive analytics to help you track how your business is going.
Shopify cost: From $29 per month.
8.Internal communication and messaging tools
For a small business, good communication is essential to maximising productivity. With Slack’s desktop and mobile messaging system, asking questions, chasing up tasks, and keeping your team in the loop are easy regardless of whether you’re all in one office or working remotely.
Slack cost: Free or from $6.67 per active user per month.
9. Cloud HR support
Managing your team on-site is hard enough, let alone the hours needed to onboard new employees, monitor attendance, and measure and track employee performance. Cloud HR tools, like EmployeeConnect come with fully integrated modules for tracking employee information, onboarding, reviews and goal setting, benefits and leave, and recruitment. You can even link staff attendance with your cloud-accounting software to make payroll even easier.
EmployeeConnect cost: FREE or from $6 per employee per month.
10. Artificial intelligence technology
As AI technology matures, forward-looking businesses are thinking about how to leverage the technology for customer service. And while the technology can be costly, it doesn’t have to be. Chatbot developers, like BotMakers, let you easily customise their Chatfuel code-free templates so you can connect your bot to your Facebook page and launch it within the day.
Chatfuel templates: From $29.
Tools that help you grow your business, work smarter, and save money? What’s not to like. Investing in just a few of these affordable tools will put your small business in the perfect position to reach its goals.
To learn more about how you can grow your small business, check out these resources.