Let’s face it, the best costs is no cost or everyone’s favorite four letter word FREE. Entrepreneurs try and bootstrap and keep costs low as best as possible, so it’s time to hear directly from entrepreneurs that have resources, products, or services that are the lowest costs possible FREE!
Q: Entrepreneurs! What Are The Best Free Resources Around?
Thanks to Derrick Hayes!
There is an abundant of free resources out there for everyone; these are a few that I use: Twitter, Facebook, Biznik, The Blog Frog, blogs in every genre, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, BlogHer, The SITS Girls, Flickr, My Blog Guest… I truly can go on and on. What I’ve found is that sites with a forum have been paramount in getting questions answered quickly, understanding business, and networking with other business owners and photographers.
Thanks to Kimberly Gauthier!
One of the best free resources I have used for years is Open Office. It is similar to MS Office, but it is free. You can also save the documents you create as DOC. You can print out to a PDF format. It offers a wide array of programs like MS without the high cost.
Thanks to Glenda Thomas!
Eclips is an amazing resource started by Dr. Deborah Streeter at Cornell.
Thanks to Rachel Doyle!
Nudgemail: a reminder service that sends my own note back to me at the date and time I specify in an email subject line… Pandora, which has provided music for my workday, exposed me to many new artists, and gotten me to buy some of their music. Freeconferencecall.com and Skype, which allow me to easily keep in touch with clients around the world, and record the sessions for later use. (I did pay $20 for the recording module but I think there are some free ones too). Freetranslation.com, which is useless for a long block of text but invaluable for translating a phrase of five or six words or so. Example: I was just speaking at a conference in Turkey, and before I even got on the plane back home I had written a thank-you note with the subject line “Thank You for Bringing Me Here” translated into Turkish.
Thanks to Shel Horowitz!
1) Entrepreneur.com: Magazine with quite a bit of business articles and resources on marketing, sales, advertising, etc… 2) SBA.gov: Small Business Administration website 3) IRS.gov for business tax information, requirements for tax compliance etc. 4) Score: Free small business advice provided by successful volunteer business owners and executives. Offer mentoring, workshops and on-line question and answers. 5) GoDaddy.com for low price websites 6) Vista Print for low cost business printing needs. 7) Business In A Box for business letters, forms and formats 8 ) Facebook has many news items and updates for entrepreneurs 9) Business section of on-line newspapers have free information 10) Many attorneys, CPAs, and other professionals provide free initial consultations on many business problems.
Thanks to Martha De la chaussee!
Best free resource around: Google Places/Local listings, and Google Webmaster Tools. I design websites for small local businesses. Even those that can’t afford my services get directed to create or claim their business listings on Google local. A well-written listing is the single best FREE ADVERTISING on the Internet. Google Webmaster Tools work in conjunction with a good well-written, well-optimized website. Google is giving you the tools for free to improve your rankings.
Thanks to Valerie Cudnik!
1) Advisory Board– On the board should be an attorney, banker, insurance professional, CPA/Bookkeeper and business consultant (or influencer in the industry). 2) Find the nearest Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) or Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the http://www.sba.gov locator on line. 3) Oftentimes, the community college in your area may offer free consulting through their entrepreneurship program. 4) The small business should check out if they have a small business incubator in their location 5. In some cities, towns, counties, the local Chamber of Commerce offers free consulting services .
Thanks to Denise Beeson!
Regarding resources, Twitter is no doubt the best resource for Entrepreneurs. Use twitter as a platform to promote yourself as an expert in your field. Provide tips on your industry and expertise, link to reputable literary work, and strengthen your follower base. I’ve done this and journalists contact me frequently, as do major news networks. People want to interview experts, and positioning yourself as one helps this process. Once this is accomplished, your reputation and “brand” snowballs and opportunities fly your way!
Thanks to Kenneth C. Wisnefski
1) MyBlogGuest: great for finding blogs to guest post on or submit articles to get your company recognized on other blogs. 2)Volusion Live Chat (the free version): lets me chat directly with my customers from my website 3) HubSpot (particularly their free newsletters, hints, and tips); they have a lot of free webinars about social media marketing, inbound links, and other topics that are important to small businesses 4) Social Media Examiner: latest news, tips, and everything you need to know about social media 5) HootSuite (this is probably one of my favorites): allows you to organize your social media accounts all in one location 6)Wordtracker: great free tool for researching keywords; helpful webinars and newsletters about how to increase your search ranking
Thanks to Lauren Skidmore!
The best FREE resources around besides Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are soyouwanna.com, which is a free way to learn how to do anything. It provides tips and brief instructions to help you do whatever you want to do; MagCloud, which is a fairly new service through HP that allows you to easily create and self publish small run magazines, portfolios, newsletters, brochures, catalogs and there printed promo materials; and third, followup.cc, which is a self reminder system initiated and used through email to help remind you of further follow-up and actions necessary to stay on top of tasks and correspondence.
Thanks to Sherell Edwards!
My favorites are: 1) Evernote –It’s my digital filing cabinet and since starting to use Evernote in 2010, I’ve become better organized and more in control of my digital materials. 2) Skitch – As an entrepreneur and blogger, I move fast and work fast and think fast. Skitch is this handy little application that lets me grab images from the web or my desktop and do a quick edit to make them web-ready or to embed them into an email and it’s SUPER fast! 3) Google Reader – Because of my business and my hobbies, I like to keep tabs on hundreds of blogs (yes, literally hundreds!). Google Reader lets me access them all in one place, do a quick scan and read the ones I’m interested in and ditch the rest.
Thanks Heidi Reimer-Epp!
We founded Knot Standard in late 2010 and used Facebook as the launch pad, reaching friends, family and their contacts. It was a solid way to build that initial base and it led to more followers and, more importantly, more customers. A good deal of our business is repeat customers so those Facebook “likes” really did pay for themselves – without costing anything. Knot Standard uses Facebook for contests, comments and posting articles more than an actual “campaign” and it’s worked well.
Thanks to Matt Mueller!
SCORE.org I used them from day 1 of starting our business. On their website is a way to ask a question and you will get a reply in at the most 1 day. So if you can boil your question down to a definite point you can get a fairly good reply from some knowledgeable person from across the country. I am in a small community and no one had experience with our type of business. So I reached out to them and got answers so I could keep moving along.
Thanks to Frank Morosky!
1) Industry Professionals: Pick up the phone and make some good old fashioned phone calls to leading professionals in the industry. Always complement your source and make them feel the reason you called them was because they are the best of the best. 2) Twitter: I barely read magazines and newspapers anymore. I follow industry professionals and newsworthy sources and check my twitter account a few times a day. 3) Professors
Thanks to Alexander Karsos!
I would have to say the SBA has a ton of free resources and consultants(maybe we already paid for it in taxes). I am working with a local SBA subsidiary to get my Quickbooks set up and it’s free.
Thanks to Bola Ajumobi!
The best free resources to build your business, especially in a tough economy, is great customer service. Getting repeat business and referral based business is where you need to be in order to do well as an entrepreneur. Building a reputation in your community as someone who gives back by volunteering, coaching, etc. can get you free press and help to build your brand and keep your face and name in the public eye. If you would like any more information, please let me know.
Thanks to Kevin J. Mulcahy!
All of these websites offer free advice and each one of these professionals provides an endless loop of abundance by giving back as well as paid consulting. Brendon Bouchard, Seth Godin, Kimberly Smith, Publicity Hound, and last but certainly not least Peter Shankman.
Thanks to Alicia Vargo!
We use GroupMe to communicate throughout the day on scheduling, logistical planning, etc. It is one of the coolest services ever. GroupMe will assign you a unique phone number which basically turns your text messages into a chat room. So instead of having to relay messages, you just respond to the texts as you normally would and everyone gets it in real time. GroupMe also does conference calls but I haven’t had a chance to try that feature out yet.
Thanks to Arash Afshar!