5 Free Tools to Help Small Business Owners With Organization and Communications

If you’ve started your own business, you probably find yourself working more hours than ever before and covering a broader range of responsibilities. Maybe you can’t afford to hire additional staff, but you can work smarter by taking advantage of free tools that will help you communicate better and stay organized. These are 5 services you may want to start using if you don’t already have them.

  1. Google Voice (google.com/voice): You can teach an old phone new tricks. Add some nifty free phone features to any computer or mobile device using Google Voice. It works with any phone or carrier. One of the most popular features is “One Number” that provides you with a single number that will ring you anywhere on any device. There’s also online voicemail that delivers transcribed messages straight to your inbox. Meanwhile, “Cheap Calls” offer free calls and text messages in the U.S. and Canada and very competitive rates for other parts of the world. Last month, Google Voice announced they’ve taken their first step in response to heavy demand for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) support. Google Voice users can now receive pictures and other multimedia attachments from Sprint subscribers and arrangements are underway with other mobile operators.
  2. Skype (skype.com): Skype has over 600 million registered users so it’s one easy way to cut your phone bills fast. You can call other Skype users for free and get low rates for calling other landline and cell phones. Many additional features are also offered including instant messaging, file transfers and videoconferencing. Pick the service best for you by comparison shopping between Skype and its competitors like Empathy and Google Talk. You may also want to talk with your network administrator if you have any concerns about security and bandwidth usage.
  3. Phonevite (phonevite.com): If you like broadcast email you’ll love broadcast voicemail. It works about the same way. Set up an account and you can leave a voicemail message for multiple people all at once. It’s great for reminders and alerts.
  4. Dropbox (dropbox.com): Dropbox is one of the most popular online backup and storage programs. Like they say, bring your documents and files anywhere and share them easily. You can access your files from multiple computers and create separate folders for information you want to share and information you need to keep private.
  5. Google Tasks (http://mail.google.com/mail/help/tasks/): Organize your to do lists and tasks. Gmail lets you convert emails into tasks. Create tasks with due dates and they’ll automatically display on your Google calendar. Use iGoogle to add a tasks gadget to your personalized homepage.

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