Nowadays, it’s hard to manage a business without getting the right online tools. Whether it’s to make your presence known to your prospects, or manage and share large quantities of files, surviving without making use of online-based tools is impossible. Thanks to cloud-based services, it is no longer required for you to be in your office all the time to manage your business. You can view statistics and make decisions on the go with the help of cloud phone applications. Saving you the time and inconvenience of conventional means.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 free cloud-based apps for small businesses:
Dropbox is the most successful cloud-based storage system in the app store right now. Although Dropbox comes at the cost of $12.5 per user, per month, it is possible to use the free version of Dropbox for your business, here’s how:
The free version includes 2GB of space, which may not be much but you can expand it by referring your employees, co-workers, and your friends. This gives you 500MB per referral that can go up to 16GB, not bad if you want cloud storage for free.
The great thing about Dropbox is that files are updated instantly across all devices and by making use of the shared folders you will be able to ensure that your co-workers will be able to access the updated file instantly as well. You can set files to be available for viewing only or set them so others may be able to edit them as well.
The app itself works very well and is available on Windows (including ARM devices), Android or iOS devices. It allows you to edit documents within the app and you can save them on the go.
2. Google Drive
It was hard deciding the first spot on the list since both Google Drive and Dropbox offers incredible services for free. If we were to compare the paid plans, then Google Drive would have won the top spot. The basic suite gives you access to all your files across all devices, and as with Dropbox, all files are updated instantly across all devices. The free version gives you 15GB of storage and you can upload whichever type of file you like and make it available on or offline.
The reason Google Drive earned the second spot is that it is not particularly flexible when it comes to editing files on the go if the file was not created through the Google office suite. You can always convert them, but then you need to edit them on the Google office apps.
MailChimp is an email marketing service that unlike others, the free subscription includes most of the paid-for features.
The features include email automation which allows you to trigger welcome emails, provide recommendations based on behavioral data, and tailor your campaign to fit your costumers. It also gives you access to templates which allows you to create professional newsletters. It also has Facebook and Instagram add campaigns that seem tailor-made for your brand. It also constant reports which lets you know how your campaigns are working and compare your stats to industry average campaigns. It also has sign-up forms that are essential to any email marketing campaign. MailChimp allows you to collect subscribers from Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress for a more effective marketing campaign.
The mobile app works like a dream and allows you to check your stats on the go, as well as preview and send campaigns. On top of that, the mobile app also keeps track of revenue generated through your campaigns. It also lets you track the growth of your audience and check how much your clients engage with your campaign.
4. Why Unified
Why Unified is a sales and marketing platform with more than one million small business users who rely on Unified Workplace to run their sales, day to day operations and marketing through one simple dashboard using more than 100+ business applications.
Unified Workplace is 100% free; Unified makes money from every transaction that’s processed through the various applications while providing you with a fixed processing fee which aligns and competes with major payment processors.
The features include using applications such as launching an online store through their shopping cart app, processing payments through the online payment’s app, having clients schedule appointments through the appointment scheduler and more than 100+ more online applications that enable a small business to do more, without a subscription for each application.
The workplace also includes essential features that help small business gain leverage over the competition such as predictive analytics for each app and having all of the apps syncs and work with each other to drive intelligent insights.
Already have a hosting company? Why Unified has partnered with the cPanel App Marketplace to enable you to use Workplace directly by accessing cPanel, without needing to directly use their platform.
Slack is a communications app designed for small businesses. Although it may seem like a simple instant messaging system, Slack allows you to do much more than just chatting with your employees. As with the other apps on this list, it has paid plans, but the free plan works perfectly well and is available for Android and iOS as well as Windows Desktop (there’s a beta version for Windows Phone) and Mac.
One noticeable feature is the ability to create and manage channels which lets you classify notifications, messages, and discussions by topic. Aside from channels, which give you control and flexibility in communications, you will also have a direct messages tab to communicate with individual members of your team.
The free version stores up to 10 thousand messages and gives you free storage of up to 5GB for file sharing. Notifications are also easy to customize, giving you complete control over what want to you see and when you want to see it. The app is also praised for its key searching features which may come in handy when you need to backtrack on conversations.
The free versions of these apps are great for a small or growing business; however, some of them may no longer be suitable for your business as your company continues to grow. So, you might want need to look into getting the paid versions later on eventually.