As a small business owner, you need to stretch your time and your money. Tools that allow you to do both are some of our favorites. Read along as Lisa Hephner, PaySimple’s VP of Knowledge and the Tip of the Week columnist catches you up on her favorite free tools for small businesses.

1. Free Process Mapping Tools (click here)

Many small business owners run an entire company out of their head—even if they have a dedicated, capable, and responsible team. It’s a hard habit to break; but it is one worth augmenting if not ditching all together. The getting hit by a bus tomorrow scenario notwithstanding, if you’re the only one who understands how key business processes are accomplished, then you’re the only one who can improve them. That’s not ideal— you can’t help but fall victim to your own cognitive biases, so when it comes to process optimization, two or three or four heads are definitely better than one.

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2. Customer Journey Mapping Tools (click here)

Even if your customers love your company, love your products and/or services, and think that they provide great value, you may still lose them to the competition if doing business with your company is simply too frustrating for the customer to stand. Of course, before you can find solutions you must first identify the problematic issues. This can be difficult, as it may not be obvious to you, and the customer may not volunteer it. One approach to this problem is to create Customer Journey Maps.

3. Tools for Restoring Deleted Files (click here)

We’ve all experienced the frustration of accidentally deleting an important file and not realizing it until after emptying the recycle bin.  If you’re lucky, you haven’t yet experienced the even greater frustration of losing all files on a corrupted hard disk, partition, or removable storage drive.  And, while “backup, backup, backup” is drilled into our heads, it is understandable that this task sometimes gets sidelined by something more pressing, like running your small business.  But fortunately, when it comes to computers, deleted or corrupted doesn’t necessarily mean gone forever.


4. 360 Performance Review Templates & Instructions (click here)

Whether you chose to do formal reviews on anniversaries (likely making them a monthly chore), or at the end of each calendar or fiscal year (to get them all out of the way at once), there are things you can do to make them more valuable to both yourself and to your employees, as well as things you can do to ensure they don’t create more problems than they solve.

5. Free Tools for Small Business Desktop Publishing (click here)

As a small business owner, you know the value of doing more with less. However, when it comes to your advertising and marketing tools, you don’t want to compromise on quality just to save a buck or two. So, you will typically need to choose between free or low-cost tools with minimal capability, and robust packages that cost a fortune and provide the functions you need along with an expansive catalog of features that you’ll never use. Here are some tools that can help that dilemma.

6. Online Vector Graphics Editor: Easy, Simple, and Free (click here)

A great image never goes out of style; and apparently Tip readers don’t get tired of reading about new sources for free graphics and new options for graphics editors. Posts about these free resources continue to be some of the most popular and widely read.

7. A Fast, Easy, and Safe Way to Get, Share, and Update Freeware (click here)

Check out this tool that can help you get that free Windows software quickly and safely, with a single download. It can even enable you to update your freeware in the future, so that you are always running the latest available version—which is particularly important if updates are required to patch security holes.

8. SEO for Small Businesses: 15 Stats, 10 Resources, and 1 Free Tool Suite (click here)

How’s your small business Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program doing? What…you don’t have one? That’s a problem, because SEO continues to be one of the most cost effective ways to attract new customers and to remain engaged with your existing customer base. So, what’s holding you back? If it’s a lack of knowledge, this post is for you.

9. Free Full Feature Photo Editor (click here)

In a world where it seems like nothing worth having is ever free, it is refreshing to find truly useful freeware available without strings attached. PhotoScape is one such application. It provides robust image editing and enhancement features that rival those in expensive industry leading applications such as Photoshop, in an easy-to-use package ideal for small business owners on a budget.

10. Free HR Management System for Small Business (click here)

If you’re like many small business owners, you started your business because you are passionate about what you do, rather than passionate about the nuts and bolts of running a company. Those business management chores (such as employee time tracking, bookkeeping, purchasing, invoicing and payment processing, recruiting, payroll, office cleaning, filing, etc.) are the price you pay to ensure that your dream business succeeds. And while outsourcing them all or purchasing software that automates most of them is tempting, it can often be cost prohibitive.

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PaySimple is the leading payments management solution for service-based businesses, powering the cashflow of over 20,000 companies nationwide. PaySimple builds long-term partnerships with companies to drive growth providing flexible payment and billing solutions and personalized customer service to suit their distinct business needs.

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