The Best Free Productivity Tools for Small Businesses

Adela MeiApps, Productivity, Time ManagementLeave a Comment

The best free productivity tools for small businesses

Whether your business needs to improve its time or project management, digital storage or online presence, check out these free tools that will make running your business faster, easier and more productive.

In this blog, we’re going to look at some communication tools that can really improve teamwork and project progress. We’ll discuss some of the best free project management and collaboration tools to get your business processes flowing better.

We’ll also take a look at some free digital marketing tools to help streamline your social media and make managing your email list more effective. And we’ll recommend some time management tools to help free up your time. Managing your time well helps you work smarter, not harder, in your business.

If you want to improve the productivity within your business, we’ll look at the best free tools for online storage, and how to keep passwords securely.

Finally, we’ll take a look at some ways you can start growing your online presence with a website or web page, for free. So let’s dive in.

Here's our guide to the best free productivity tools for small businesses.

Free communication app icons on a mobile phone
Enhance your communications with three free tools

In today's quickly evolving digital world, effective communication is crucial when you're collaborating with colleagues, customers and clients. Miscommunication can lead to confusion, frustration, and even missed opportunities.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of communication tools available to streamline and improve your interactions. We’ll explore the benefits of using WhatsApp, Vimeo Record, and Whether it's quick chats, visual messages, or meeting transcripts, these tools are designed to improve the way you communicate with colleagues and clients.

WhatsApp offers a versatile platform for instant messaging and calls.

    WhatsApp works on various devices, including smartphones and desktop, ensuring accessibility from almost anywhere. Messages and calls are encrypted, enhancing security and privacy. You can create group chats to communicate with multiple people at the same time. And it supports high-quality voice and video calls.

    WhatsApp does depend on a mobile phone number and file-sharing capabilities are limited compared to other tools.

    Vimeo Record
    Vimeo Record enables you to communicate with engaging video messages.

    Vimeo Record allows you to create and send video messages, which can be easier to understand than text. It offers screen recording capabilities, making it useful for walk-throughs and presentations. Vimeo also provides analytics to track engagement with your videos.

    For real-time conversations, avoid Vimeo - instead use one of the apps we recommend in the next section.

    Transcription by's transcription capabilities bring an added layer of organisation and searchability to your business.

    It uses AI to generate accurate transcriptions of audio and video recordings. Transcripts make your conversations and content searchable, allowing you to quickly find specific information. It integrates with other productivity tools like Zoom and Google Meet. You can share and collaborate on transcripts with team members.

    The free plan has limitations on the number of minutes you can transcribe each month.

    Two people using video conferencing software
    Manage your projects more efficiently with free project management and collaboration tools

    Effective project management and collaboration can determine whether a business or project succeeds or fails.

    We’ll take a closer look at three of the most popular options: Slack, Zoom, and Asana. These tools offer a wide array of features designed to enhance productivity and keep projects on track.

    Each of these tools addresses different aspects of project management and collaboration. How you use Slack's communication tool, Zoom's video conferencing capabilities, or Asana's task management expertise, will depend on the size of your business or the projects you manage.


    Slack is renowned for its real-time messaging capabilities, making it a communication powerhouse. It offers channels for team-based discussions, integrations with various apps, and robust search features. The free version provides more than enough functionality for small teams.

    While Slack focuses on collaboration, it does not offer as extensive project management features as other tools. The free plan also limits message history access and app integrations.


    Zoom is primarily known for video conferencing, making it an ideal choice for virtual meetings and webinars. Its user-friendly interface and cross-platform compatibility ensure it's easy to access wherever you are. The free plan allows for group meetings with certain limitations.

    Zoom's free version has restrictions on meeting duration and participant numbers.


    Asana is a dedicated project management tool that focuses on task management and collaboration. It offers features such as task assignment, due dates, dependencies, and project timelines. The free plan is robust and suitable for small to medium-sized teams.

    Asana may be less suitable for organisations requiring advanced reporting or complex automation features. Some users may find its learning curve steeper compared to simpler tools like Slack.

    Icons showing social media engagement
    Streamline your digital marketing efforts

    Digital marketing is continually evolving. Succeeding in the online space can often feel overwhelming, from writing social media posts to managing email campaigns and creating visuals. Fortunately, we have an abundance of free digital marketing tools that can simplify and streamline your marketing efforts.

    We’ll take a look at three highly effective and free marketing tools: Buffer for social media management, Canva for graphic design, and ConvertKit for email marketing.

    These tools offer a range of features designed to improve your marketing strategies, streamline your workflows, and engage your target audience effectively.

    Using these tools together should allow you to spend less time on your digital marketing, and more time on actually running your business.


    Buffer simplifies social media management by offering a centralised platform for scheduling and posting content across multiple social media channels. It provides analytics and engagement insights to refine your strategies, and has great support even on free plans.

    The free version has limitations on the number of scheduled posts, social media profiles, and the number of team members who can collaborate. It may not suit businesses with extensive social media needs.


    Canva is a user-friendly graphic design tool that empowers users to create professional-looking visuals and graphics with ease. It offers a vast library of templates and design elements. The free plan includes a wide range of design options. Additionally, Canva enables you to post and schedule directly to certain social media platforms, further streamlining your marketing.

    Some advanced features and elements are only available in the paid versions of Canva, and users may find limitations when collaborating on design projects in the free plan.


    ConvertKit specialises in email marketing, offering features like email automation, customisable email templates, and subscriber management. The free plan allows for email broadcasts and basic automation.

    It may lack some advanced automation capabilities found in other email marketing platforms.

    Woman using online time management tools
    Take back control with time management tools

    Managing your time efficiently is critical when running your own business. These three free tools help you gain better control over your schedule, automate repetitive tasks, and make your daily routines more organised and productive. Harvest is designed for time tracking, Zapier and IFTTT for automation, and Calendly for calendar management.

    Each of these time management tools can help save time in different aspects of the day-to-day running of your business.


    Harvest is a robust tool that allows you to monitor how you spend your time on tasks and projects. It provides detailed reports and insights, making it ideal for sole traders and small businesses. Both the app (that sits in your browser extensions) and the timesheet are user-friendly, and it offers integrations with various project management tools.

    While Harvest offers a free trial, its more advanced features may require a paid subscription. Additionally, manual tracking can be time-consuming and may not suit everyone's workflow, especially if you forget to track your time!

    Zapier and IFTTT

    Zapier and IFTTT are automation apps that help you create custom workflows to automate tasks between different apps and services. They are highly customisable and compatible with a wide range of applications. These tools can save you a lot of time by reducing manual data entry and repetitive processes.

    Creating and configuring automation workflows may require a learning curve and some technical know-how, and complex automations can become time-consuming to set up.


    Calendly simplifies scheduling by allowing you to share your availability with others and allow them to book meetings and appointments based on your calendar. It integrates seamlessly with popular calendar apps and offers features such as automatic reminders.

    The free version of Calendly has limitations on customisation options, such as branding and advanced scheduling rules.

    Phone showing cloud storage log-in screen
    Improve your organisation with free cloud storage

    Managing and organising digital assets such as images and documents is a necessary, if less glamorous, side of running a business. Storing, organising, and safeguarding these assets can be a daunting task. This is where cloud storage tools come in, offering a reliable and user-friendly solution to not only declutter your digital life but also ensure that your data is accessible from anywhere, at any time.

    We’ll look at three free cloud storage options: Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft OneDrive.

    Each of these cloud storage tools excels in different aspects of data storage and organisation. Whether you choose Dropbox for its user-friendly interface, Google Drive for its robust collaboration features, or Microsoft OneDrive for its integration with the Microsoft ecosystem, your choice depends on what type of operating system your business uses (whether Apple or Microsoft, for example).


    Dropbox is a very popular choice, for its simplicity and user-friendliness. It offers file syncing and sharing and integrates well with a wide range of apps and services. It offers both free and paid plans.

    The free version of Dropbox comes with limited storage space, which may not be enough for users with large data storage needs. Other advanced features, such as extended version history, require a paid subscription.

    Google Drive

    Google Drive seamlessly integrates with other Google Workspace apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It offers generous free storage space and robust sharing and collaboration features. Files created in Google Workspace apps do not count against your storage quota.

    The free storage space is shared with Gmail and Google Photos, so if you have a large volume of emails and photos, you may need to pay for more space.

    Microsoft OneDrive

    OneDrive is deeply integrated with the Microsoft ecosystem, offering a seamless experience for Windows users. It provides ample free storage and strong file versioning and sharing options. Integration with Office 365 is a significant advantage.

    Limited integration with non-Microsoft apps and services may be a drawback for users in mixed-platform environments. The free version's storage space may become too limited for users with large data storage needs.

    Passwords written on scrunched sticky notes on desk
    Secure your digital life with free password management tools

    In today's digital age, where we carry out much of our business online, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. One of the key elements of digital security is strong and unique passwords for every online account we use. However, keeping track of numerous and often complex passwords can quickly become overwhelming. This is where password management tools become invaluable.

    We’ll look at three password management tools: 1Password for comprehensive password management, the Chrome Password Manager for Google users, and Keychain for Apple users.


    1Password is a robust and versatile password manager that offers strong security features. It supports multi-factor authentication (MFA) and provides a secure vault for storing not only passwords but also sensitive documents and information. Cross-platform support ensures accessibility on various devices.

    While 1Password offers a free trial, it eventually requires a paid subscription. Some users may find the interface slightly complex initially, but it becomes easier with use.

    Chrome Password Manager

    Chrome Password Manager is convenient for users using Google ecosystems. It automatically saves and auto-fills passwords for websites, making login processes quick and easy. It's available as an extension for the Chrome browser and is integrated with Google accounts.

    Chrome Password Manager may not provide the same level of security features and multi-device support as dedicated password managers. It may not be ideal for users who prefer to use different browsers.

    Keychain on Apple

    Keychain is Apple's built-in password manager for macOS and iOS devices. It offers strong encryption and seamless integration with Safari and other Apple apps. It can generate and store passwords securely and is available at no extra cost for Apple users.

    Keychain's primary limitation is its exclusivity to Apple devices and services. If you use non-Apple devices or platforms, you may not have access to your passwords stored in Keychain.

    Person building a website with an online web builder tool
    Build your online presence with free website builders

    Having an online presence is a necessity for any sole trader or small business. The idea of building a website from scratch can be intimidating for many. That's where free website builders come in, offering an accessible and user-friendly way to design, create, and publish a web page or site, and fast.

    We'll look at:, Google Sites, and Each of these free website builders offer different options for website creation and customisation. Whether you choose for its versatility, Canva websites for its great design and ease of use, or for its design flexibility, your decision should match your specific business needs and objectives. offers a free plan with a WordPress subdomain. Currently, around 43% of the web is built on WordPress and more bloggers, small businesses, and companies use WordPress than all other options combined.* [Source: website]

    It's highly customizable and has a vast library of both free and paid plugins and themes, which gives plenty of options to improve and customise your website as your business grows. is suitable for bloggers, freelancers, and small businesses looking for flexibility, as well as larger businesses.

    It is also possible to use your own domain (e.g. instead of the branded Wordpress domain ( for a small upgrade fee, making your business look more professional instantly. is not to be confused with which requires separate paid hosting. You can find out more about the difference between them here.

    While is user-friendly, it may have a steeper learning curve compared to some other website builders. The free version includes WordPress branding and limited storage.

    Canva Websites

    Canva gets a second mention in this post, as it also offers Canva Websites, a basic web builder that allows you to get a web page or site up fast, and for free.

    On the free plan, you are limited to design elements, and storage space, but overall it’s a pretty good free website builder.

    Additional functions like maps or forms can be added using third-party integrations from the app library. However, this does start to make a simple web builder more complicated.

    An important aspect to bear in mind is that the mobile responsiveness is lacking, and considering that most of your customers are likely to use their smartphone or tablet, especially if they are out and about, this is a big drawback.

    One main thing to remember with Canva is that its focus is design, and you will find the functionality restrictive. It’s not recommended for e-commerce sites or larger projects.

    A popular platform with sole traders and small businesses, Wix offers a free plan if you use a Wix-branded domain (e.g.

    Overall, it's user-friendly and provides a drag-and-drop builder for designing your website. There are various templates available for different business types, and Wix is known for its flexibility and customisation options within the website builder.

    If you feel it’s time to grow your website, or add functionality, you can upgrade to a Premium plan. Check out the difference between the free and paid plans here.

    The free version of displays Wix branding and has limited storage. To unlock more features and remove branding, users must upgrade to a premium plan.

    In today’s world, if you have a process that needs simplifying or speeding up, there’s probably an online tool to help you. Our top tip is to do your research to find the right tool for your needs. By reading up on an app's capabilities before you start using it, you can avoid wasting time on setting something up that might not actually be useful. Hopefully, this article has got you off to a good start, but there are many other useful review sites – such as Tech Crunch and Mashable – dedicated to giving in-depth reviews of all things new in the world of technology.

    Using free tools is a great way to start off, or grow, your business. With some apps, staying on a free plan will serve your business for the long term. With other services, such as free website builders, it is likely you will need to upgrade to a premium plan at some point to keep up with the demands and growth of your business.

    In need of some business advice?

    From strategic planning to finances, marketing to pricing, HR to sustainability, we've been helping small business owners in the south west for over 30 years. Take a look at our Business Support page to see how we could help your business develop, grow and thrive.

    Previous PostNext Post

    Share this Post

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.