The year is nearly coming to an end. If you’re in charge of finance, or the overall business direction, you need to be serious about your company’s financial budget. To help you get a headstart in your business, we’ve identified online tools you can use for your business, completely free, and free forever.
While it can’t be stressed enough, that you don’t send a business email if it has a @gmail.com ending, you can still use the free Gmail with your custom domain.
What it means is that your custom company domain, for example, yourcompany.com, should have an accompanying email that goes with it. For instance,when you send out your email from firstname.lastname@example.org, it would appear that your company is more ‘legitimate’ and real, rather than sending from email@example.com.
You can connect your custom domain, the example of yourcompany.com, to the free Gmail account and use it from there. However, you do need to purchase your own custom domain for this to work. A custom domain can cost from as little as USD2 per year. Custom domain names need not end with a dot com, or dot org, or dot biz anymore, as the cheapest option can start with a less familiar domain extension such as dot app, dot xyz, and so on. You don’t even need to have a domain hosting for this, you can just use smtptogo, which is an email delivery service provider, with a free option.
To set up your custom domain name to a free Gmail account, just follow the steps in this video.
You can use a free Google Drive for your business, for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, which are essentially the free alternative to Microsoft Office. Google Drive also works as a cloud-based server, so you can store other digital data onto the server, without you having to invest in a computer server. It’s free up to 15 GB, which is a better alternative than Dropbox (which only has free limit of 2GB).
You can use free templates already inside Google Drive, such as in Google Sheets (spreadsheet), such as an annual business budget, or even a template for a company financial statement. For presentations, there’s even a pitch deck template or a consulting proposal template. For documents, there are plenty of proposal templates to choose from.
The best part about using Google Drive for your business for free, is that you can collaborate working on the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, with your team members, online and remotely by sharing files and folders remotely.
To access it, just use your free Gmail account. Did you know you can also access Google Drive on your phone or tablet? Android or Apple, it works on both, and perfect for those who always need to visit a site and have access to a document.
Just use Wave, a web-based tool for your accounting needs. Track your income and expenses, and allow selected users to collaborate with you. It is completely free, and you can easily switch from your spreadsheet to use Wave, or vice versa if you want to use a paid accounting software such as Quickbooks or Freshbooks.
You can also use Wave’s Invoicing feature to create professional-looking invoices. What’s more important is that your customers can make a payment on these invoices via Wave’s payment processor or via credit cards.
To keep track of expenses, you can also use their Scan Receipts feature, which is available on mobile. These three features are completely free to use. It is only their payroll feature that is a paid version.
CRM is a Customer Relationship Management software. It’s used to manage business relationships and keep information on people of interest, like potential and current clients in order to retain the business and also grow sales.
The basic idea to use CRM is to understand your customer behavior and send different marketing messages to your different customers, therefore have more effective marketing campaigns. CRM can also be used to effectively resolve customer complaints with templated email responses.
CRM works well with digital marketing, especially in email marketing. Hubspot offers a free, forever for its CRM tool, as well as email marketing and ads management tool.
For your email marketing:
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the dot my domain is only for Malaysian companies. It is multilingual and is used by companies across the world. From the US, to Argentina, to Mauritania, to Pakistan, and of course Malaysia, these are some of the companies that found using HR.my as the cloud-based, web-only platform for managing their HR needs. It prides itself as a secure platform, given the amount of employee data it saves on its server.
HR.my features include multi-user, with unlimited number of employees per employer, managing employee data, from present to past employees, to expense claim management, to leave approval workflow, to attendance management to timesheet approvals. Employees can also log in from the platform to track their own HR needs.
HR.my is able to stay free as it funds its operations from selling ad space, as well as raising funds from crowdfunding.
If you don’t already have a website for your business, use Google My Business as your free website. However, it is only possible for local businesses, and not for digital-only businesses. Simply connect your custom domain (remember yourcompany.com?) to Google My Business site.
This is the easiest and fastest way to get your local business to be ranked high on Google search for local businesses, such as restaurants, and other local shops or offices.
There you go. You can actually start your business for almost free, you just need to have an idea and implement that idea to get your halal business going. If you already have a small business, you can use these software and online tools to keep your costs low and grow your business.
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.
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