Web design software: Free
Online marketing campaign: Free
Long-distance calling: Free
Running your small business for next to nothing: Priceless.

If there’s one example above any other of an entrepreneur who has used free online tools to build his business, it’s Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary and his father own the Wine Library, a wine store located in Springfield, New Jersey. But in many online marketing and social media circles, Gary is known more for his video blog — Wine Library TV — and his extensive use of other sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I tell you all of this because Gary and I were both interviewed for a piece about free online tools for businesses, which appears in the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine.

If you’re running a business of any size, Gary is one guy to keep an eye on if you want to better understand how to use online tools to connect with customers and build your brand.

Below is the list of tools originally posted at the bottom of the online edition of the article, along with some of my own additions. I’m sure there are plenty of others, too. Add your favorites in the comments.


Dimdim: open-source web conferencing application; free basic service
I Want Sandy: keeps track of daily details
Jott: voice-to-text service for creating notes, lists, e-mails and text messages; free basic service
Oovoo: video messaging, chatting and conferencing
Paltalk: group IM, chat and video call application
Plugoo: direct chatting with any blog or site visitor
YouSendIt: send files up to 2GB; free basic service


Adrive: 50GB of online storage and backup for all file types; free basic service
Box.net: Lite plan offers 1 GB of online storage for free
JZip: Data compression utility
Mozy: 2GB of online, data and remote backup solutions; free basic service


BizEquity: company valuations
Mint: personal finance, money management, budget planning and financial planning software
MyBizHomepage: financial dashboard for small business QuickBooks users
QuickBooks: small-business accounting software; free download (Simple Start 2008)
Wesabe: financial advice, analysis and planning


Audacity: open-source software for cross-platform audio recording
Blip.tv: video blogging, podcasting and video sharing service; free basic service
BlogTalkRadio: radio network for users to host their own shows
DropShots: video hosting and photo sharing
FeedBurner: media distribution services for blogs and RSS feeds
Fix My Movie: video enhancement service; free basic service
Paint.NET: image and photo editing software
Phixr: picture and photo editor
Seesmic: video conversation platform
SlideShare: share and embed slideshows, PowerPoints and PDFs into web pages
VideoSpin: video-editing software


Blogger: blog publishing tool
Craigslist: online classifieds and job postings network
CollectiveX: create social networking and collaboration sites for groups
Entrepreneur Connect: Entrepreneur’s social networking site
LinkedIn: business social networking site
Pligg: open-source, community-centric site for discovering, rating and sharing content
PolicyMap: geographic and demographic information system for creating custom maps, tables and charts; free basic service
YouNoodle: networking for startups and valuation with Startup Predictor
Your Pitch Sucks?: PR pitch reviewing and advising

Office Productivity/Organizational

Adobe Buzzword: collaborative word processor application
CutePDF Writer: PDF creator; free basic service
Dabble DB: create, manage and share online databases; free basic service
Doodle: schedule and coordinate meetings and other appointments
FreshBooks: invoicing, time-tracking and expense service; free basic service
Google Calendar: shareable calendar and schedule organizer
Google Docs: collaborative word processor and spreadsheet applications
OpenOffice.org: open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets and more
Stikkit: organization and reminder system that integrates with productivity applications
SurveyMonkey: create and publish custom online surveys; free basic service
ThinkFree Office: office productivity suite; free basic service
WuFoo: HTML form builder for creating interactive forms; free basic service
Zoho: office, productivity and collaboration applications

Project Management/Collaboration

LogMeIn: remotely support and access digital information; free basic service
ProjectStat.us: project management solution and updates
Project2Manage: collaborative project management solution
Remember the Milk: task management solution and to-do lists
Socialtext: wiki and website collaboration; free basic service
Team Task: collaborative project management and community website builder
Yugma: web meeting and collaboration service


Adeona: open-source laptop tracking and recovery software
BitDefender Online Scanner: virus scanners; free basic service
ZoneAlarm: firewall protection from hackers and threats; free basic service


Google Alerts: e-mail updates based on choice of query or topic
KickApps: platform of applications to integrate social features into a website
Microsoft Office Live Small Business: create a company website, domain and e-mail; free basic service
Synthasite: web hosting and building
Weebly: website and blog creator
Widgetbox: web widgets for various applications
Woopra: web tracking and analysis application; free basic service