BT Business has launched a set of free management tools designed to help small businesses run and manage their day-to-day operations.

Known as the BT Business Builder, the eight tools cover bookkeeping, payroll, human resources, health and safety, sales and marketing, as well as a business planner. A news-alert service is also included which covers alerts on new business-oriented legislation.

The tools are free as part of the basic service, but customers can upgrade to the premium service for £15 per month (excluding VAT), to gain access to a 24-hour legal helpline, as well as more advanced HR, health and safety, payroll and employment functions.

The downside of these tools are that they are only available online, meaning a customer will have to be constantly connected to the Internet in order to use the tools to run their business. Customers do not have to be with BT however, in order to use them.

“Our customers are looking for comprehensive support and that’s what we’re delivering,” said the MD of BT Business, Bill Murphy. “By offering the basic service for free, we are helping small businesses get off on the right foot, and more established ones to make their processes much more efficient.”

BT Business is division of BT Retail, and it concentrates on the small to medium business (SMB) market. It has 1.5 million customers in the UK, and provides voice, broadband and IT services to the SMB community.

Under the leadership of Ben Verwaayen, the British telco has transformed itself from a lumbering incumbent into one of Europe’s more innovative carriers, and it has relied heavily on its so called "new wave" revenue streams, derived principally from broadband and IT services.

To this end, in the SMB sector the UK carrier launched in January a service known as BT Workspace, which is hosted software that allows customers to share information, manage projects, and improve customer relationships. In April, it also launched BT Tradespace, which is a free service that offers members a social networking (blogging, podcasts etc) facility to help small business establish an online presence.