11 free resources you need to run your own business

aat comment

Whether you’re just starting a business or you’re a well-established SME, time and money are usually in short supply.

Tight budgets leave for little beyond the essentials and there’s rarely time for anything other than ‘doing the doing’.

That’s where we come in. Here are 11 of our favourite tried and tested apps, websites and services to help your business succeed.


OK, here’s a shameless plug to kick us off. Last year AAT launched Informi – a free website providing guidance and support to startups and small businesses.

It covers all the information a business could need, whatever stage you’re at, including finance, marketing and sales, and technology. You’ll find hundreds of handy how-to articles, free business tools, and loads of inspiration and insight from fellow business owners. Here’s some of our favourite blogs:

10 activities for days when you don’t feel productive
Why startups fail (so you know how not to)
Businesses that recovered from the brink of disaster


Even in a time where emoji is the fastest growing language, there’s still a place for proper grammar and punctuation.

Grammarly is a plugin you can install to your web browser which will pick up and correct grammar and spelling mistakes. It’s a great tool if you’re posting on social media, writing emails or updating your website but don’t have the time or resource to proof everything.

Google Analytics

Saying Google Analytics is a powerful tool is somewhat of an understatement. Insights gathered from Google Analytics are the guiding principle behind the decisions that many businesses make – both online and offline.

Whether you want an overview of key trends or to hone in on micro details of your website users and traffic, Google Analytics is a vital part of your business toolkit.


Of course there are plenty of other email service providers out there, but it’s hard not to have a soft spot for Mailchimp with its quirky branding and down-to-earth, highly accessible interface. It’s also free – up to a point.

One of the best features from a business perspective is the automation function. This allows you to set up auto-responder emails or a series of emails every time a new subscriber signs up.

You can automatically follow up with customers after a purchase and recommend other products that they’ll love or surprise your best customers with a coupon triggered by their shopping behaviour.


If you’re one of those people who finds themselves losing track of their to-do list, Trello could be a game-changer.

A free project management app, Trello allows you to organise your work into boards, cards and lists, using a simple drag and drop interface. The beauty of Trello is both its simplicity and flexibility: you can use it to bounce around and collaborate on ideas, plan projects or to organise your weekly to-do list.

Local Growth Hubs

Led by Local Enterprise Partnerships, a private sector consortium, Local Growth Hubs bring together local business leaders, councils, business bodies like Chambers and the Federation of Small Businesses, universities and others with an interest in supporting businesses to start and grow.

There are 39 growth hubs around the UK, aiming to make advice and support accessible to all. Search for your local hub to see how they can help you.


A mentor can really help you generate new ideas and grow your business but finding one can be tricky, which is why the MentorsMe hub is such a great portal. With over 115 organisations registered and a free search tool to help you find a mentor whatever stage of business you’re at, it’s a great resource to get you the one to one support you need.


Understandably, social media can fall down the priority list when you’re running a business. That’s a shame. Utilised effectively, it can be a valuable and cost-effective marketing tool.

If you fall into the ‘don’t have the time’ camp, Edgar is here to save you. Rather than constantly having to come up with new content, Edgar recycles old tweets, blog posts and status updates, in what it terms the ‘social media queue that fills itself’.


Describing itself a virtual bookkeeper, 1Tap is the 21st century way of keeping track of all your receipts and expenses. Simply take a picture of your receipts, log them on the app, and avoid that end of the month muddle, fumbling around in paperwork.

As one app store review says, “it actually makes logging receipts fun”.


An incredibly versatile online form builder, Typeform is a super easy way to gather feedback from your customers that won’t leave them pulling their hair out. The resulting forms are mobile responsive and look, in their words, “beautiful”.

And it’s not just for gathering feedback. Typeform can save you time and resource by answering FAQs or navigating customers to the most appropriate products and services.


Manually creating and sorting invoices can be time consuming and, well, not very fun. Zervant provide free invoice software that’s quick and simple to use, meaning it only takes 30 seconds to create an invoice – and you can focus on other things.

There’s various additional resources to help you manage and organise your invoices, including payment reminders and a client database, ultimately making the whole process a lot simpler.

Ok, before you shout at us, some of these resources are free up to a point but you may need to pay to access full or premium features.

Huw Moxon is Digital Marketing Manager for Informi.

Related articles