List of top free tools for small businesses

List of top free tools for small businesses

1. G Suite: Office Software

Two of the most well-known office software are G Suite and Microsoft Office Suite. Google Suite requires monthly subscriptions, whether Basic or Business edition.

Google Docs, however, is a free platform that can sync and work with other Google apps such as Drive, Sheets, and Gmail. This web-based word processor provides dynamic editing and styling tools as well as smart formatting. Above all, it offers ready made templates like resume and application letters for quick document creation and can be accessed online and offline.

2. Slack: Communication

It brings all the communication together in one place, offering real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams. Messages and files are instantly searchable using advanced search, filters and sorting. Above all it enables you to filter results by recent type, relevance or file type to find exactly what you need.

3. Trailhead: Marketing

It is a free resource. It provides a guided, self paced learning path through the key features of Salesforce via a set of interactive and online tutorials.

4. Trello: Project Management

It is a project management tool for small businesses to manage Teamwork Projects for an unlimited amount of time. The free package includes 100MB file space, 2 active projects, limited task boards, and basic project management.

5. Wrike: Collaboration

This platform helps to improve speed and efficiency of employees even in remote areas. Being flexible and scalable it enables groups to collaborate and get things done effectively from a single location. Moreover, it enables you to schedule, prioritize, share, discuss, communicate, and monitor both work and progress in real time . Last but not the least, it serves as a hub for all your tasks and offers several features such as user-friendly navigation, top level security, powerful integration, at-a-glance dashboards, and real-time news-feeds.

6. Wave: Accounting 

This provides with capabilities to manage and streamline accounting and invoicing, expense monitoring, credit card payment and processing, payroll, receipts, tax calculations and deductions, yearly record keeping and more.

Furthermore, it offers unlimited receipt scanning with iOS and Android apps that let you capture receipts even when you’re offline. Thus it can automatically record these as accounting transactions in Wave. 

7. TalentLMS: Learning Management System

It is intended to address the training and learning needs of employees, partners, customers, or students. Thus it offers comprehensible analytics about everything inside your e-learning environment. It comes with a responsive design that can adjust to any screen size whether desktop, laptop, or mobile devices. 

Among its many features include support for SCORM and TinCan (e-learning standards), notifications, course selling, video-conferencing, gamification, extensible user profiles, and many more.

8. Zoho People: HR

It is cloud-based human resource management software that gives a full suite of business applications. It operates on the Zoho principle of simplicity and flexibility, containing various tools to cover employee management operations- records, time/attendance, and leave.

In addition, it offers employee self-service, performance management, centralized employee information system, form customization, HT analytics, scheduling, and real-time collaboration.

9. Zoho Projects: Project Management

It is equipped with functions to improve team collaboration, enhance productivity, and streamline project monitoring. In addition, it enables you to finish your projects on time and plan work in advance. Moreover it lets you divide your large and complex projects into manageable units, and schedule recurring tasks, dependencies, and sub-tasks according to your timelines and also gives in-depth insights in the form of charts and graphs.

10. WordPress: Content Management System and Website Builder

It is a leading web development and content management platform preferred by all types of users like bloggers, online sellers, corporate websites, online galleries, forums, photo sharing sites, etc.
You can develop and create your blog or website within minutes on this platform.

11. Wix: E- commerce

It is one of the world’s leading online website builders with an integrated eCommerce module, wherein you can create, brand, and fully optimized storefronts. Thus it smoothly operate your online business to drive traffic and provide your customers with a streamlined buying experience. Wix’s all-in-one management suite helps to handle orders and inventory, enable multiple payment options, provide multiple gift options and promotions, set custom taxes and manage prices, as well as control the shipping process.

12. Booking/ Appointment Scheduling 

It is an online booking system designed to help businesses streamline their scheduling and booking procedures. It also enables clients to make bookings anywhere, anytime with an option to cancel their bookings whenever they want.

The software also provides membership functionality, full admin control of the booking process, and customization booking page that can be added to your company website or Facebook page.

13. Freshservice: Customer Support

It is a cloud-based platform enabling companies to provide great customer service and support. It includes a robust ticketing system, accessible knowledge base, asset discovery, and CMDB. Freshservice is equipped with capabilities such as vendor management, incident management, problem management, change management and release management. It enables access and responds through multiple channels, automate all routine tasks, and let your team collaborate in order to find the best solution for each query.

14. HubSpot CRM: CRM

CRM tools are utilized by the organization to handle customer-related functions like sales, marketing to build strong relationships with customers. CRM manages stores and disseminates customer information from multiple interaction channels (phone calls, website visits, social interactions, emails, etc).

HubSpot CRM is designed to provide small businesses with everything they need to organize, track, and nurture leads and customers. The software offers massive integration with dozens of business apps and services and smoothly connects with HubSpot sales, marketing, and customer service.

List of top free learning platforms for Entrepreneurs

List of top free learning platforms for Entrepreneurs

1. CodeAcademy

This learning platform enables you to learn free programming sessions to help you learn programming languages like HTML, JAVA, Ruby, PHP and CSS etc. one of the great advantages is that you can save your progress as you go with a free account.
In addition, you can create your own interactive website.

2. HubSpot Academy 

This is a free certification program that offers courses on inbound marketing. This also includes website optimization, and lead nurturing which is a must have skill to grow business and online advertisement.

3. Skillshare

It’s a huge learning platform for creators and contains over a thousand online classes on design, business and more. The platform will allow you to learn specific skills from the hundreds of videos available in the community.

4. Moz

It is a paid service platform but t has a free academy also. This online platform enables to learn search engine optimization to increase online presence. Besides this it also provides with webinars and beginner’s guide.

5. Busuu

Busuu is one of the world’s largest education website for learning languages. The platform allows you to connect with native speakers and learn one of the 12 languages. It’s available on tablet and mobile also.

6. LearnVest

The platform offers finance classes. Apart from this it also offers classes on building money and budgeting.
There are both paid classes and free classes. There are really interesting courses like “Home Buying: A Guide to Getting Prepared” or “Boosting Your Money Confidence in 2015”.

7. EdX

This is a free platform that provides over 300 courses on various topics. This platform helps in learning key business and other skills required for setting up a startup.

8. Khan Academy

The platform was created to give everyone access to education in science, arts, technology and more. There are over 100,000 interactive exercises to put your education to practical use. In addition there are numerous courses on taxation and accounting which are crucial for entrepreneurs to have a command on.

9. Coursera

Similarly, this site has some 114 educational partners that provide free courses to almost 10 million users. One of the advantages of this platform is that it provides courses on specific niches, such as “Data Management for Clinical Research” and “Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace.

10. OpenCulture

The platform collects and shares free resources from around the web. It contains some 150 free online business courses and offers classes from iTunes U and other lessons. In addition it also contains free audio books, certificate courses and other online courses.

11. YouTube

It is a great source and platform for learning. There you can find videos on numerous areas. The greatest advantage is that it is a free resource for learning.

12. Alison

The platform offers free online from some of the most well-known names on the internet today, including Google, Microsoft, and Macmillan. It covers topics such as economic literacy, personal development and business/ enterprise skills.

13. Saylor

The foundation offers tuition-free courses and also works with accredited colleges and universities to offer affordable credentials.

14. TED

It is one of the most inspiring and learning platform for entrepreneurs. Here, incumbents can learn from people who share their experiences and can utilize their strategies in an efficient manner.

15. Tuts+

This is another huge education online website. It also offers various topics and thousands of the courses.

16. Lynda

It is an online education company offering thousands of video courses in education, the web, design, business and much more.

17. Skillcrush

It is an interactive online learning platform for thinkers, and makers. For startups this is a great platform to look for resources with regard to design new products or start a new venture.

18. Podcasts

Even though it’s not an official course, podcasts are an amazing (and easily digestible) way to become a better entrepreneur. Podcasts can be listened to via streaming on your computer (if that certain podcast offers it) or via iTunes for iOS and apps such as Podcast Republic for Android.

Business lessons from Bill Gates

Business lessons from Bill Gates

1. Patience and success go hand in hand

According to Bill Gates, you have to be patient to taste the fruit of success. One cannot become a millionaire overnight. He quoted –

“you will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school.”

The same success mantra applies to life. Patience is the key to deal with the adversities of life. Patience develops better decision taking and thinking skills.

2. Start now

If you are planning to start a business or to be an entrepreneur don’t wait for the right moment to strike. Start now and indulge in it wholeheartedly. Bill Gates said that –

“This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.”

Be it a business or life, the right opportunity does not strike twice. So don’t wait for tomorrow to accomplish a task and start now.

3. Be a risk lover

If you want to be a successful you can’t be risk averse. One has to accept risks to win big. Risks are the part of success and failure. On this Gates said that –

“to win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”

Life is uncertain and so are the returns. But higher returns are followed by high risk. One has to take big risks in life to be successful.

4. Adapt to changes

Change is an eternal process. To lead a carefree and happy life one has to learn to adapt to changes in society. Bill Gates said that –

“People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they?”

Be it technological, economic, or sociological changes are always initiated for the betterment of the people and society. Society always welcomes changes. And one must learn to adapt to changes for one’s own welfare.
Otherwise, we would have been still dealing with the telegrams.

5. No profession is small.

One should not consider any profession or task below their dignity. Everything is just a matter of opportunity. Bill Gates quoted –

“Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping- they called it opportunity.”

Each and every profession is a matter of pride and opportunity. One should not underestimate the dignity of a task. Just focus on grabbing the opportunity at the right time.

6. Learn from your failures

You will either succeed or fail. There is no third option. Bill Gates said that –

“Its fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

One should learn and experience from failures. He further added –

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

Failures are equally important in life. The best part is how well you acknowledge your failures and work upon the loopholes.

7. Don’t underestimate your uniqueness

Every person under the Sun is born with unique qualities and every person is different. Don’t underestimate your value by comparing yourself with others. Bill Gates said that –

“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”

If you want to live a better life, value yourself, and recognize your capabilities rather than comparing yourself with others.

8. Welcome feedback in life

Feedbacks are a prerequisite for technological advancement. Similarly, you can improve your lives if you welcome and accept feedbacks. Bill Gates quoted –

“we all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

So, surrounding yourself with people who provide you with constant feedback is the key to improve your lives.

9. Be leaders who empower others

A successful and appreciated leader is one who empowers others also rather than one who is self – centered. Bill gates said –

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

Leading a life wherein you empowers and inspires others as a leader is more meaningful than leading a bossy life.

10. 3P’s rule

The three P’s – persistence, perseverance, and passion are the qualities to lead a happy life. One should always own a ‘never give up’ attitude, no matter how harsh life is. Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft said that –

“Bill craved closure and he would hammer away until he got there”.

Bill himself said –

“There is nothing that was overnight.”

So you must be persistent and passionate in your efforts to achieve the desired heights.

Entrepreneurship lessons from Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Entrepreneurship lessons from Vijay Shekhar Sharma

1. Think out of the box

To be a successful entrepreneur you must focus on innovations. New ideas and approaches are need of the hour.
A start-up can be successful with a unique idea only. For this, you should work on the advancement of current technologies. In addition, startups should work towards ease of living standards through perpetual usage of R&D.
This is what PayTM is doing. It has eased payment systems, increased transparency, and hence proved out to be a revolution towards digital payments.

2. Overcome your adversities

The first and foremost important thing is that you must not feel shattered due to the adversities of life. If you want to successfully sail through the odds then you should muster the courage to overcome them.
In an interview with India Today Enclave, Vijay Shekhar Sharma said that-

“poverty in India is an asset, which sometimes our countrymen love to play with.”

He further added that these four lines on poverty changed his life forever.

“I am poverty; I love you; I can’t leave you, because you love me more than I do.”

He learned from his poverty-stricken life that you have to change the existing state of affairs to remove poverty.

3. Look for combo of skilled and passionate

Hire employees in your startups who are really skilled and passionate about their work and who can devote themselves with utmost sincerity to achieve the mark. Moreover, the employees should be capable of taking decisions on their own and stand by their decisions too. He says –

“If you are skilled but not passionate, then you are a weight on the team. But if you are passionate and not skilled, it means it is just a hobby for you. Therefore, a combination of passion and skill is what I look for.”

4. No fear, no greed, no entitlement culture

Follow a no fear, no greed, and no entitlement culture. He says that –

“We won’t fear whoever you are, and we won’t carry any sense of entitlement that we will be successful just because of what we are.”

Moreover, keep your startup equipped with hardworking people. This defines the true culture of a startup.

5. Hard work is the key

Hard work is not about just working hard, it is about loving what you are working hard for. He once said that –

“Work-life balance is such an overrated thing. If you enjoy something, you don’t balance it, you do more of it.”

6. Be a pioneer

A good mind follows a good heart. So be a pioneer, not a follower to become a successful entrepreneur. Vijay Shekhar Sharma said –

“I never wanted to go out to Silicon Valley. Instead, I wanted to build something out of this country. If I couldn’t be an army man, let me be a civilian who does something good.”

So take pride in what you do as an incumbent entrepreneur for the good of the society.

7. Be deterministic and futuristic

To be a successful entrepreneur you should be future-oriented and deterministic. He once said that –

“The Uber of India is Uber. The Google of India is Google. I can sign it on a wall that the PayPal of India will not be PayPal.”

And thus he gave birth to Paytm.

Lessons from Ratan Tata

Lessons from Ratan Tata

1. Be a risk taker

Taking a risk with utmost confidence is the key to make big returns. Ratan Tata once said that –

“I don’t believe in making the right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.”

Don’t wait for the right moment; just make the moment right for you. To be a successful leader you must behold confidence to make tough decisions associated with risks. It’s your confidence that inspires others in taking decisions in risky situations. He once said –

“Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going because a straight line even in an E.C.G means we are not alive.”

So you must keep going irrespective of the situation. This is what distinguishes a leader from others.

2. Be well read

Ratan Tata is well known for his intellect.
A great leader is one who is well-read and has an abundance of intellectual opulence. Well occupied with knowledge is an important trait of how well you can handle things and make others do so.

3. Be visionary

Work on creating new possibilities and opportunities for others. Always welcome innovation and new ideas. Ratan Tata’s vision of providing basic amenities in terms of conveyance for a family of four led to the invention of the cheapest new car Tata Nano.
Visionary aspects build motivations and thus create opportunities. He quoted that –

“The day I am not able to fly will be a sad day for me.”

If you have a vision for the future you can make impossible possible.

4. Be soft spoken and systematic

Always deals with situations with a calm and composed demeanor. Always be polite to people working along with you and below you. Such traits not only inspire others but also build stronger ties with employees and thus create a sense of respect for you.
On being compassionate Ratan Tata once said that –

“I admire people who are very successful. But if that success has been achieved through too much ruthlessness, then I may admire that person, but I can’t respect him.”

5. Own a positive attitude towards criticism

A leader should always accept criticism positively. Criticisms work as a medium to analyze your work through other’s eyes. If you can handle the criticism, you can establish yourself as a distinguished personality. Criticism ignites perseverance and new ideas.
Ratan Tata summarises this with a beautiful quote –

“Take the stones people to throw at you. And use them to build a monument.”

Thus a leader is one who can build an empire through critics.

6. Prioritize healthy team work

A leader must value the inputs of all employees and teammates. Healthy and positive teamwork promotes new and advance initiatives and cooperation among all. Ratan Tata said that –

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.”

A good leader should consider all team members in the decision-making process to achieve great heights with sustainability.
He further added-

“I have been constantly telling people to encourage people, to question the unquestioned and not to be ashamed to bring up new ideas, new processes to get things done.”

7. Handle your arrogance wisely

One of the best advice by Ratan Tata to become a successful leader and to refrain from destruction is to widen the horizon of your thoughts and enhance your mental opulence. Ratan Tata once said that –

“None can destroy iron, but its own rust can! Likewise, none can destroy a person but his own mindset can.”

There is a fine line difference between arrogance and pride. Pride makes you work constantly on being the best version of yourself. Arrogance makes you believe others as less important.

8. Be unique and modest

Have your own vision and passion for life. Don’t imitate others and their lifestyles. The one who imitates others can become successful for a short span of time but can’t go far. He said that –

“We live in a highly competitive world- and we Indians have to struggle to catch up. So modesty is necessary, even if there is a need for a certain amount of national pride.”

So take pride modestly in what you achieve.

9. Always stand up for right

A true leader is one who can muster courage to take right decisions with utmost confidence and sincerity. Your true legacy lies in this only; not in your power and wealth.
Ratan Tata said that the legacy that I would like to leave behind is a simple one that –

“I have always stood up for what I consider to be the right thing, and I have tried to be as fair and equitable as I could be.”

He further added that –

“power and wealth are not two of my main stakes.”

Entrepreneurship lessons from Elon Musk

Entrepreneurship lessons from Elon Musk

1. Set a long term vision

Elon Musk advices that young entrepreneurs must set a long term goal instead of running behind accruing high profits in short span.
Setting a long term goal enhances the possibilities of start up survival in the business world. Entering the world of entrepreneurship with a long term objective makes you to grasp market conditions better.
Moreover, the long term vision should be productive and transformational which creates a positive impact in the society.

2. Push the envelope

Start as early as possible and grab the soonest available opportunity. Elon Musk took advantage of being a first-mover. Being a first-mover decreases the amount of competition one has to face in startups.
So be a pioneer rather than a follower. Elon Musk is a pioneer be it Space X or Tesla. This is what made him the best known future-oriented entrepreneur.
Furthermore, he tried his hands in serial entrepreneurship.

3. Spend your money wisely

To become successful an entrepreneur should work on advancement of current technologies and work towards ease of living standards through perpetual usage of R&D. Moreover, you should refrain from wasteful expenditure on advertising. Elon Musk once said that –

“At Tesla, we have never spent any money on advertising. We have put all our money into R&D, engineering, design, and manufacturing to build the best car possible.

He further added that –

“When we consider spending money, we ask if this will create a better product. If not, we don’t proceed with spending the money.”

4. Think out of the box

To be a successful entrepreneur you must focus on innovations and new ideas and approaches.
A start-up can be successful with a unique idea only. This not only provides you with less competition in the market but enhances your chances of long term survival with better returns.

5. Hire dedicated and talented minds

While hiring people for your corporation, focus on dedicated, hardworking and innovative mindsets.

6. Admire the criticism positively and work upon it

An entrepreneur should always work on improving his product. For this, he should not only admire the praiseworthy feedbacks but also accept the criticism and work upon the loopholes.
This not only improves your product according to the market demand but also diminishes the bridge between the costumers and the entrepreneur.
On this Elon Musk said that –

“When I spoke with someone about the Tesla Model S, I didn’t really want to know what’s right about the car. I want to know what is wrong about the car.”

So you can get your mistakes fixed in this way.

7. Don’t focus on hiring huge employees

An entrepreneur should focus on hiring experts and people who are talented in their respective fields. He says-

“I think it is a mistake to hire a huge number of people to get a complicated job done. Numbers will never compensate for talent in getting the right answer, will tend to slow down progress, and will make the task incredibly expensive.”

So it is better to have a small productive team rather than a large but unproductive one.

8. Read, read, read and read

A well read entrepreneur is far more intellectual. Reading makes you a perpetual learner and shows your dedication towards further improvement.
Elon Musk is always fond of reading. He developed this hobby as early as in his fourth grade. He completes at least two books every weekend reading 10 hours per day.
So to win big in your field you should be an incessant reader and well acquainted with knowledge in your field.

9. There is no substitute to hard work

It is said that hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. Elon Musk always gives importance to hard work. He says-

“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80-100 hours every week. This improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40- hour workweeks, then even if you are doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.”

A great idea can become successful only if you work hard.

10. Never give up

Never give up approach shows your passion for your goals and ambitions.
Initially, even Elon Musk faced failures. But his dedication and foresight in automation and aerospace industry materialized into success despite enormous obstacles.
He was once asked that what he is willing to give up towards realizing his dream and he said –

“I am willing to give up everything that others hold dear.”