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When starting a business, grappling with the various startup costs can be a daunting affair. The key is to invest wisely in core aspects of your business. But even then, you can cut costs by taking advantage of free trials (before settling on a service you’re happy with) or free software (before you upgrade to anything with more specific features). Here are some online tools that could really benefit your business:

Managing Your Social Media

Social media is a marketing cornerstone of any business. However, attempting to manage the frankly unwieldy amount of content and contacts generated by various social media platforms can be overwhelming. That’s why Hootsuite is such a handy tool; amongst other things, it allows you to manage unlimited social networks and profiles under one interface (including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ posts), track keywords, mentions, and trending topics, and measure campaigns through social analytics.

The free service is more limited feature-wise, but users of the paid service HootSuite Pro include such corporate giants as McDonalds, HBO and Sony Music so you know you’re paying for quality! Even if you’re just looking to dip a toe in, you can do so with a 30-day free trial.

Creating an Online Store

For people looking beyond Etsy to sell things but are not quite able to develop a fully operational e-Commerce site of their own, BigCommerce may be the solution. It’s quick and easy to develop your own high-quality e-Commerce website, and BigCommerce takes its hosting duties a step further with all manner of SEO and responsive web design features to help boost clients’ sales. While you process orders and manage your inventory, your site will already start featuring prominently on Google search results pages through inbuilt SEO techniques. Users also benefit from access to analytics and product reviews, at no extra cost – though you can start out with a free trial.

Windows Antivirus Software

Maintenance of office facilities is vital, especially when it comes to securing and protecting your employees’ computers. Adequate antivirus software can set you back a great deal, but the damage that can be wrought on your computer network through malware, spyware, spam, Trojans, worms and other viruses can seriously compromise your company’s day to day operations.

With so many forms of antivirus software out there though, it’s difficult to know what to go with. You can start out by downloading AVG’s antivirus protection for a free trial, upgrading only if you like it or switching to a different form of software.

Keeping It Clean

Office maintenance doesn’t stop at running and maintaining computers and software efficiently. Costs are limited to just those things you buy – what about the expense of paying staff when they’re off sick and not working? As an employer, you have some responsibility towards keeping your employees healthy by providing a clean, germ-free working environment, and you’ll reap the rewards in more motivated employees who take less time off sick.

The company Evo Cleaning provides a cost calculator that tells you how much you could be losing per year on sick pay based on how often your offices are currently cleaned!

Human Resource Management

When your business starts expanding and you find yourself having to keep track of more employees, what do you do? Do you start bringing in people for human resources at additional cost? Fortunately, there’s another solution at hand through HR management software like OrangeHRM, which is free and open-source and enables users to keep track of things like employee records, timekeeping, job applicants and performance review systems.

For more advanced features, there is a paid version – alternatively, you can shell out for training or software customisation if you have the budget for it and your business is large enough to warrant the expense.

Are you a business owner? What other software or services would you recommend for saving your business money? Share them in the comments!