Increasing business productivity is becoming more challenging for many entrepreneurs all around the world today. Globalization continues to make it difficult for many commercial groups to optimize their productivity. This has been going on for the past couple of decades and will continue as new trends and technologies emerge.
This has allowed new overseas product manufacturers to be able to suddenly gain massive popularity across target local buyer markets. You can lose significant market share and traction if this hits your locale. It’s also more straightforward for them because of social media, digital advertising, internet marketing, drop-shipping, and affiliate enterprising. Global logistics providers are making it quicker, easier, and more affordable for them. Your ideal local customers can also get their products from international online stores, suppliers, retailers and distributors.
A good way to mitigate negative effects is to cost-effectively increase productivity through tools. This can also allow you to spot new trends and technological breakthroughs before it hits mainstream markets. Plus, it significantly changes the behavior and habits of your target customers. In turn, you can put these trends and technologies to good use.
We’ve compiled 11 of the best free business productivity tools today to help you do this:
Wunderlist is a 100% free-to-use business productivity tool. With this tool, you can develop lists of tasks and share each list with the appropriate departments of your business. You’ll also be able to set priorities and review team output, updates, and changes whenever you want. Plus, you can collaborate these lists with your team, allowing for real-time collaboration and revisions on the fly.
Streak is a 100% free-to-use email management software that provides customer relationship management (CRM) features for your email. It gives you features for business communication, customer conversation, and sales tracking. You can set this software to send follow-up alerts and reminders on designated time periods to your customers, partners, and suppliers.
This is an ideal business productivity tool if you deal with large numbers of sales from your email marketing campaigns. You can use this to augment your mailing list management activities for your segmented lists of first-time buyers, prospects, existing customers and repeat buyers.
Hootsuite is a tool that lets you organize, curate, and schedule posts automatically across several social media platforms. Hootsuite is incredibly useful for monitoring and listening to mentions of your brand or organization across various social media streams without having to leave the platform.
3. Boomerang Calendar
Boomerang Calendar is a free business productivity tool that lets you optimize your email management requirements. This tool can provide you with helpful automation features for your task and appointment scheduling requirements in your Gmail account. Many of its features are similar to Calendly – the difference is that Boomerang Calendar is completely free to use.
Boomerang Calendar can complement your profit-generating strategies, especially if your sales team mainly relies on appointment setters. This allows your sales staff to efficiently manage their phone and face-to-face appointments with prospects and repeat buyers.
Toggl is a flexible, lightweight app that is useful for tracking time spent on various tasks. Its key feature is its simplicity – all it takes is one click to start a new time entry. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts for easier toggling.
Adding and editing time entries are quite flexible and can be done manually and in bulk. You can carefully manage your tasks with the help of tags, project colors, and reporting tools that lets you export detailed summaries or weekly reports for all users in your team.
The timeline view is also pretty handy if you want to see an overview of all your tasks and time spent on each. Toggl also lets you set reminders, which is useful in keeping track of billable hours It also supports over 100 app integrations and works well with Google apps, whether online or offline.
FreeTranscriptions is an online automated transcription platform that can transcribe your audio or video files for free. Instead of note-taking during a meeting, businesses can simply record their meetings and then have them transcribed afterward. This way, participants can fully turn their attention to the agenda at hand. By having a meeting transcribed, you can capture every detail, note every action item, and distribute them to key team members afterward.
Anyone who has experience in transcribing knows that it can be cumbersome and time-consuming. A free automated transcription tool like Freetranscriptions allows employees to be more productive and attend to more pressing matters and important tasks. The best part is it can transcribe your audio into text in real-time and you can get your accurate machine transcript almost instantly. If you want to make sure your automated transcriptions are 100% accurate, you can opt for their premium proofreading or editing services and your files will be handled by experienced human editors.
Grammarly is a free editing tool that can aid in making your writing correct and concise. Using Grammarly is like having a writing coach – it can detect grammar, spelling, and style errors instantly. It points out your mistakes and explains how you can improve them. You also have the option to set the tone and the purpose of your writing so that it matches the type of written content you want to churn out.
Grammarly is perfect for quickly editing copies, website content, and even emails. With Grammarly, you can rest assured your emails are typo-free and convey a clear message.
Slack is a cloud-based collaboration platform where you and your team can communicate on projects. While it is mainly a chat platform, its integration capabilities make it a powerful tool for collaborative work. You can pull reports, share documents, start calls and file tickets within the platform by integrating all the necessary apps. Slack supports over 1,500 integrations which makes it pretty flexible and adaptive to all the tools you’re currently using, instead of forcing you and your team to learn new apps altogether.
Having everything in one place is extremely beneficial for teamwork and staying on top of all deliverables. You can create a channel for a specific project to make sure your collaborative process is focused and involves the relevant team members. Additionally, you can also use it for sales and customer support.
OneNote is a free information-gathering tool where you can save all your ideas in one place. This tool enables users to organize, curate, and annotate freely, much like using a whiteboard online. Using OneNote, you can create freeform notes that can include text, tables, pictures, and even drawings. OneNote automatically saves your edits in real-time like Google Apps and also provides various sharing options for user collaboration.
It offers a large number of integration features for other software products and business productivity tools. Thanks to integration platforms like Zapier and IFTTT (If This Then That), OneNote can be configured to work with third-party apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail and so on.
You can integrate OneNote with Office Lens, another free business productivity tool. This enables you to capture photos of your documents that you can save as scanned files. By integrating Office Lens with OneNote, you’ll be able to quickly and easily build a database of searchable scanned files.
You can even convert scanned files into text documents for more manipulating capabilities in terms of record-keeping and archiving. You can also save transcriptions of your meetings in OneNote.
IFTTT is a free app integration platform, and is one of the all-time favorites of many entrepreneurs today. This is because it does more than just provide you with a set of business productivity-enhancing benefits. You can combine, test and optimize different applications and web tools to work together and provide you with seamless, automated functions that can help you better monitor, track and improve your business systems.
IFTTT provides integration features for lots of third-party business productivity applications and devices. You can use Alexa, a digital assistant program from Amazon, to set a reminder. Your reminders are automatically added to your task management lists in Wunderlist.
Calendly is a free appointment scheduling platform that allows end-users to schedule meetings. How it works is that you can set your time preferences for an appointment, from which the person you’ll meet can choose the best time for them based on your settings. Afterward, Calendly automatically sends a calendar invite to both of you based on your app of choice to meet on.
While simple in its objective, Calendly is very effective at making it more convenient to schedule virtual meetings. Rather than having a long-winded discussion on the best time to meet, you can simply show the other party where you’re available. Plus, you can integrate Calendly with multiple platforms of various uses, including calendars, marketing, video conferencing, and more.
Trello is a free collaboration platform that allows your team to see and manage the progress of various projects. What makes Trello unique is that it’s Kanban Board-style: your team moves “boards” across various stages of progression, which any team member can see and comment on at any time.
Trello is highly intuitive and satisfying to use. Besides the ability to manage projects easily through stages, being able to see where they are on a board and moving each project like a sticky note can be satisfying and motivating to your team. Plus, Trello is a treat to those who are already familiar with using kanban boards for project management.
Currently, you can integrate Trello with apps like Google Drive, Evernote, and Slack for a much richer collaborative experience.
Keep these free business productivity tools in mind as you’re tweaking your back-end workflow systems and front-end customer-facing processes. You can discover new productivity solutions as you begin to use these tools and services for improving your team’s productivity and work efficiency.