Tag Archives for " Business Plan "

175+ Best Free Tools for Business (2019)

The team at Strategy State have compiled a list of the Best Free Tools for Entrepreneurs.

We understand that growing a business can be tough at the best of times and managing cash flow is always a challenge.

That’s why we have compiled a list of free tools to help you keep growing. We’ve tried to find tools that are 100% free.

Read through the list, we hope you find some useful tools that you can use.

We’ve broken them up into sections for easier navigation.

Strategy State Free Business Tools

The team at Strategy State have a great set of free business tools to help grow and develop your company. These tools cover business planning, marketing strategy, 100-day plans, KPI’s and much more.


Team & Project Management

These tools will help you manage projects more effectively while working across teams. They’re great for keeping everyone on the same page.


Time Management

Tools to help you manage your time more effectively. Some of these tools block specific website for defined periods of time.


Password Management Tools

If you’re like most people and have dozens of different accounts across different platforms, then keeping track of usernames and passwords can be a challenge. These tools can help with that.


Communication & Meetings

Tools to help you communicate via video. Enabling you to work with people out in the field and from around the world.


Networking

These networking sites are great for meeting like-minded people.

You can find your target audience, create events or your own club to help support your endeavors.


CRM

Having a Client Relationship Management system is essential for all modern-day business.

Here is a list of some free CRM’s to get you started.


Customer Service

These tools are great for collecting feedback from customers, testing and validating new ideas for products and services.


Email Marketing

Email marketing is the backbone for many small businesses.

It also boasts one of the highest ROI’s of any marketing initiative. Use these tools to maximize your email marketing.


Google Products

Google is always coming out with new products. Most of them are free, it’s just that many people don’t know about them.

Review what products google offers and see what is useful to your business.


Website Platforms

Here are a few platforms to help you build a free website, landing page or blog.


eCommerce and Lead Generation:

The free tools listed below will help you generate leads and convert more sales on your website.


Website Audit

Every website needs to be regularly audited to keep it healthy and up to date.

These tools will help you analyze your website and provide recommendations to help optimize it.


Website Speed Test

Ensuring your website speed is as fast as possible is vital to reducing your bounce rate.

Use these tools to test your website speed, then find out what needs to happen to improve it.


SEO Tools

Here is a list of tools to help you with your Search Engine Optimization, including keyword research, competitor analysis, and many other useful tools.


FTP Application

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used to transfer files between two computers over a network and Internet.


Code Editor

Code editor tools will help you edit text and source code easily. These tools support plain text and several programming languages.


Content Tools and Plagiarism Checker

Below are tools that help with your content creation. These tools analyze your content for plagiarism along with other quality measures.


Competitor Research and Market Intelligence

Analyzing your competitors and gaining market insight is vital to remaining competitive.

Use these free tools to help you improve your performance and stay ahead of the pack.


SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Tools

Below are tools that will help you with your Search Engine Marketing and PPC Ad management.


Social Media Channels

Here are the leading social media channels.

Target your relevant audience using the channels what work best for you.


Forums

Forums can be a great way to interact with your target market.

The below forums receive thousands of visitors each month.


Social Media Management and Tools

These tools will help you manage and track your social media more efficiently and extract as much value from your social initiatives as possible.


Copyright Free Images / Royalty Free Images

Before you spend your hard-earned money on stock images, check to see if there is something you can use that is royalty free.

These free sites offer thousands of royalty free images you can use.


Photo Editor and Drawings Tools

If you require photo editing tools, here are a few free options to get you started.


Royalty Free Music

Every marketer and business owner needs music for their promotional videos.

Try these free options before you open your wallet.


File Sharing & Storage

Here is a list of some free file sharing and storage platforms.


Security

Maintaining computers free of malware and virus is important for all business owners.

These free tools will help you protect your computers and allow for a safer browsing experience.


Print and Stationary

These tools will allow you to obtain free business cards, and provide an improved printing experience.


PDF Converter

Convert your PDF files into word files with these free converters.


Infographics Tools

Below are some useful tools to help you build and design infographics for your business.


Video Editing Software

If you need to edit video, then these free tools are a great place to start.

Some of the tools are basic and easy to use, while others like Davinci Resolve is incredibly advanced.


Click on the button below to download this list as PDF:


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What have we missed?

What free tools do you think we should add to the list? Let us know?

The web moves at a tremendous pace if any of the above links have stopped working or are no longer free tools. Please contact us at [email protected]state.com and let us know.

Why Evaluating Your Business Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do In 2019

Evaluating your business, auditing it, giving it a health check, popping the bonnet under the hood of your business, whatever you want to call it. All businesses need to be analyzed and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that they remain healthy, competitive, and heading in the direction that the owners intend.

Evaluating your business has often been a task that is overlooked by business owners as most of their time is spent working in the business and managing the daily tasks.

Not much has been written on the subject of business evaluations and the importance of business owners stepping back periodically and taking a good look at their business from the outside.

Below are the top seven reasons why evaluating your business is vital with business changing at such a rapid rate.

1. Evaluating your business can identify risks, problems, and issues before they occur.

On average, over 60% of businesses are profitable before they go into receivership or bankruptcy. This means that some of these businesses are “good businesses,” but still manage to fail.

Most businesses that go under, don’t go under because of some catastrophic event, but because there have been many tasks that they have, or have not been doing over an extended period of time.

By completing an evaluation and taking the time to step back and have a look at your business, you can often identify problems and issues before they get out of control.

The old saying of “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” rings true. If you don’t evaluate your business, it can be hard to put the finger on what the issues are.

2. You have blind spots!

As the saying goes, you can’t proof your own work. It’s very hard for people to objectively look at their business and fairly recognize the holes and mistakes that they might have and inadequacy within the business. This is especially true if you have been involved in the industry or business for a very long time.

This is the main reason why people get business advisors and business coaches involved. They want someone from the outside to help them with their business that’s coming at it from a different angle.

3. You don’t know what you don’t know. So, ask and find out!

As a business advisor, you come across many interesting people. I had a discussion with a guy one day, and I asked him a question, “How do you quote on your jobs?”
He proceeded to explain in great detail how he priced his jobs. To my amazement, he had been misquoting his work for the last 25 years. Now, I don’t mean he quoted differently, I mean incorrectly!
He was under-pricing his work substantially in relation to industry averages. He didn’t know what his competitors were charging; he was in a race to the bottom all by himself.This practice over a period of 25 years had him losing money (leaving money on the table) on every job.
Now, if we take a figure of $15,000 per year (loss), and we span that out over 25 years, we could say that this person lost $375,000 in revenue.
For a solo operator, that’s a chunk of change.

The lesson here is having a deep understanding of your industry, and make sure you know everything there is to know about it.

4. Know the key areas of your business.

A solid evaluation should cover the following areas (see list below).
Examining these key areas will ensure the greatest chance of success and reduce your business risk.

Business Strategy

  • Business Strategy Plan
  • Cost Reduction
  • Compliance and Risk
  • Legal
  • Process Improvement
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • New Product / Service Development

Marketing

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Branding
  • Website
  • SEO
  • Digital Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Lead Generation

Sales

  • Business Development / Sales Strategy
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Quoting
  • Tendering
  • Pricing

Customer Service

  • Customer Service Policies
  • Measure and Analysis
 

Human Resource

  • Recruitment
  • Training and Development
  • Employee Incentives and KPI’s
  • Workplace Culture

Leadership & Wellbeing

  • Time Management
  • Wellbeing
  • Leadership and Direction

Accounting & Finance

  • Bookkeeping
  • Tax Compliance
  • Payroll Administration
  • Financial and Cash Flow Forecasting
  • Financial Goals
  • Budget Management
  • Financial Policies and Procedures
  • Financial Performance

Operations

  • Operation Management
  • Administration

Technology

  • Productivity
  • Cloud and Infrastructure
  • Cyber Security

5. You have limited resources. Identifying what to focus on is vital.

Most small businesses don’t have an endless supply of funds, time, and resources to achieve their goals.
This brings me to my next point of identifying and focusing on the key tasks that are going to drive your business forward. But in order to get to that point, you first have to understand your business; what’s going on and what are the things that are going to generate the greatest impact.
One lesson SME’s can learn from private equity and venture capital firms is; when working for a company, they identify what the industry’s 3-5 must-wins are.

They focus on the key things that drive a business forward. What this does is that it creates a laser-like focus on the activities that are going to produce the greatest results for the least amount of resources possible, thus maximizing their return.

What solo, small, and medium businesses can take from this is that once you have evaluated your business and you’ve identified your must-wins, you can then allocate the required resources to achieve those tasks and disregard other tasks that have little or no value.

Below is an example of a chart that shows the different pain points within the business. You can see which initiatives are the most important based on Impact and Priority.

Pain points within the business chart


Click below to download your free “Business Pain Points” chart:


6. Evaluating your business helps with planning your business strategy and tactics moving forward.

In terms of business planning and strategy, as discussed earlier, businesses have limited resources for achieving initiatives.
Evaluating your business and identifying the areas that you need to work on helps with the business planning process. It enables business owners to focus on tasks that need to be completed over three months, six months, and 12-month periods.

This type of planning enables team members to concentrate on tasks that are going to have a direct impact on the profitability and competitiveness of the company.

Typically, after an evaluation has been completed, business owners can break tasks up into:

  • 100-day Plan
  • 6-month Target
  • 12-month Target
  • 18-month Target

This can also be supplemented with monthly reporting and adjusting your KPI’s accordingly.

7. Give your team and advisors a higher learning curve position.

We should all strive to buy a high learning curve position; i.e., we want to gain the greatest amount of information in the shortest time possible so that we can make better-informed decisions.
This also applies when utilizing the resources of a business advisor. Business advisors, like many other service providers, want to provide the highest value possible to their clients.
To do this, they need to have a deep understanding of your business. The more they know about your business, the better, and higher value information they can provide. There is nothing worse for an advisor to find out several months after the initial engagement that crucial pieces of information have been undiscovered.

Do yourself and your advisor a favor by giving your business a full evaluation before you engage in their services. Give your advisor a strong starting point. You want your business advisor to be thinking of ways to double or triple your business in the next 12 months.
You want them to be focusing on things, such as scaling your product, creating leverage, joint ventures, and alliances. Things that are really going to grow your sales. You don’t want them working on tasks that are not going to directly drive growth.

Recap

No matter what stage or size of your business, by conducting a business evaluation you will better identify opportunities to create growth and sustainability.

After identifying these growth initiatives, you’ll reduce mistakes and gain a better return on your time.
Business evaluations give owners a helicopter view of the business that allows them to analyze key areas of their business in one concise document.

Below is an example of the overview page from the Strategy States Business Evaluation:

Overview page Strategy States Business Evaluation

Like to find out more about how you can evaluate your business and take things to the next level? Read more about the product.