What do small businesses and start-ups look for when searching for software tools? Value for money, quick to setup and easy to use. There are thousands of great tools out there, so we used the following criteria to filter the list.

  • Free (or provide a free version with adequate functionality)
  • Need to get up and running fast (sign up and start using the basic functionality in under 2 hours)
  • Easy to use (intuitive enough for you get started by going through a quick video or tutorial, no reading documentation)
  • Accessible from anywhere and multiple devices (web based, no downloads or installations needed)

1. Evernote

evernote small business tool

Evernote is a great tool to capture pretty much anything you want – ideas, meeting notes, lists, web clippings. You can capture in many formats like text, audio and pictures. It’s available as a web application, desktop installation and smartphone app, allowing you to capture anywhere, sync & access. The free version allows you to capture 60 MB of data a month.

2. Wave Accounting

wave accounting small business tool

Probably one of the best 100% free small business tools out there. Great features for the novice as well as pro including tracking expenses, sending out invoices, integration with bank accounts, reports and journal entries if you want to do some good old fashioned double entry. Their customer service is very responsive, which is hard to find with a free product.

3. Expensify

expensify for small business

Great for creating expense reports and tracking mileage. It has the ability to import transactions from your credit card which makes matching receipt images (uploaded from a variety of sources such as your smartphone app, evernote, email, capture via chrome extensions etc.) with expenses. Free edition allows you to do all of the above and includes 10 auto scans a month.

4. join.me

join.me for small business

Quick and easy web conferencing including a dial-in number. Does not have all the bells and whistles of a tool like Webex, but for a free tool it does a great job.

5. WordPress

wordpress small business software

Every business no matter how small needs a website or a blog. If you are somewhat tech savvy it’s pretty easy to setup a website or a blog using free themes and plugins. The best way to go would be to get your own domain and hosting account (this is not free, but will only cost around $70-80 an year for a basic plan) and install WordPress. In fact most hosting providers will allow you to easily install WordPress through their control panels. If you don’t want to do it yourself, theNetStuff can help you get online fast with domain and hosting included from Site5. Click here to learn more about our services.

6. Google Tools

google for small business

Google offers a host of tools free for small businesses and start-ups. These are well documented and reviewed elsewhere, so I won’t go into details, however, the list below should get you started.

  • Google Apps – free email with your domain, calendar, docs and more.
  • Google Analytics – want to know detailed stats on website or blog visitors? Setup a google account, add the tracking code to your website and you are good to go.
  • Google Drive – create, share and store your documents, upto 2 GB for free. Also check out Dropbox and SkyDrive.

7. MailChimp

mailchimp for small business

MailChimp helps you design and send email newsletters, share on social networks, and track results. Free plan allows upto 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.

Sound off in the comments below with your favorite free software tools that you use at your small business.