Small business owners know how crucial it is to have a helping hand, especially in the beginning. Having a full team on staff, isn’t always an option for a lot of business owners who are just starting out. This often means a lot of DIY tasks will lie ahead of you. The best way to stay productive is being as organized as possible and using apps that help you work smarter, not harder. These are our favorite apps for small business owners that we cannot live without; Pexels, Canva, Planoly, Google Drive, and Notion, and here’s why…

Pexels: Free Content

As a business owner you will realize pretty quickly how important it will be to have a large supply of ready-to-use content. Our favorite way to obtain free and quality content is through Pexels. Pexels is a free app and website that you can use to search for specific types of images. There are thousands of images available to you in a matter of seconds. All of the images are professional and of high quality.

Our favorite part about Pexels is the variety of images available. So many talented photographers and artistic designers upload their work to this application. If you’re looking for something unique and creative, it’s there. If you’re searching for something more generic and simple, you will also find it there. Pexels even has a small variety of simple graphic design images available to its users.

Canva: Design

If you are a frequent reader of the Inventora blog, you know how much we love Canva. If you’re new here, then let us fill you in… Canva is also an app and a website that you can use to create free graphic designs. They offer a dense selection of free templates that you can use as-is, or edit to put your own personal touch into. They do offer a Pro version for $12.99 a month, which if you plan to use this a lot, then I recommend, but the free version is very resourceful.

On Canva, there is an endless category of graphic design templates to choose from. They have options for nearly anything you need to brand as a business owner! Some examples of template categories they offer are, Instagram posts and stories, Facebook banners, labels of all shapes and sizes for your products, advertisements, blog layouts, and so much more! They also offer free stock images with most of their designs. This is a great tool for someone who is just starting out. 

Planoly: Social Planning

One thing we like to do to stay organized, is plan out our social feed a week in advance. This also helps us prepare for what we have planned for the upcoming days as far as projects and promotions are concerned. We also like to keep our content “on brand” and put focus on an aesthetically pleasing feed. The best resource for this is Planoly

Planoly is a free app for small businesses and influencers (they have a desktop version too), where you can plan your Instagram feed in advance. They offer a free limited version of this app, or a paid for version where your creativity is fully unrestricted. This is our favorite app to use for planning because they are partnered with Instagram; therefore, you’re not going to have to worry about your account getting restricted for violating Instagram’s terms.

On Planoly, you can write out your captions, arrange your photos, schedule content to post automatically, and even get data about your audience from your account. This can help with understanding the best time for you to post to your feed, and learning how often is best to post for your account – making it one of our top 5 productivity apps for small businesses!

Google Drive: Organizing

Google Drive is another one of our favorite apps for small business owners. It’s a free application that is offered when you have a Gmail or Google account. It’s great to use for organizing in addition to the programs that come with it. If you need programs similar to Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, this is your holy grail! Picture Google Drive as your virtual office. This is a great productivity app for small businesses.

Not only can you create documents with Google Drive, but you can store and organize within the application, too. At Inventora, Google Drive has been especially useful for storing our content. After we use Pexel to get free stock images, and Canva to create graphics, we use Google Drive to keep everything in one place. This also saves storage on your computer or desktop.

Notion: Team Collaborating

Working remotely has become the new norm over the last couple years, thus, making a shared office space nearly nonexistent. Notion is a virtual collaboration center for your team members. It’s perfect for managing projects, taking notes, brainstorming and organizing. It’s the internet’s version of a whiteboard.

Inventora uses Notion as a collaboration center. We draft our blogs on Notion, have folders with all our branding information, create a starting place for all our ideas, and so much more! 

Notion is free to use, however, a paid version is available. The “Personal” option is $4 per month, “Team” $8 per month, and “Enterprise” $25 per month. We recommend playing around with the free version, or starting a trial before selecting which version best fits the need of your small business.

There are so many great free and affordable apps to help run small businesses! These are our favorite apps for small business owners that have been the most useful for Inventora and the handmade community (while also being the most user-friendly), but we want to know what your “can’t live without” apps and websites are. Tell us in the comments which tools you’ve used that you have found most useful as a business owner!

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