The Best Free Online Services to Get Your Business Started
Being an entrepreneur requires quite an investment. But in today’s Internet age, your greatest investment may be the time you put into it, not money. In fact, depending on your particular business venture, the monetary investment might be next to zero. But for any business, whether you operate out of your home or have a brick and mortar storefront, there are many free services that can get you up and going until you see a profit. Thanks to the Internet, your virtual office can operate as efficiently as if you have an entire staff.
Here are some free services online that can enhance your business immediately.
Google Voice – Although much business today is done via the Internet, a phone number for your business is still a must. Google offers phone numbers specific to your area code, free of charge through Google Voice. Plus, you get to choose your number from a variety of numbers and, then, direct your Google number to your cell or landline phone. You can make long distance calls to anywhere in the U.S. directly from your computer at no cost. And, all you have to do is have a Gmail account. There is a minimal cost for international calls.
FaxBetter – Free fax services used to be common; however, now it is very difficult to find one that is completely free and does offers more than just a free trial. Unlike many so-called free fax services, FaxBetter does not ask for your credit card information. The only stipulation is that you use the service at least once every seven days. There is a limit to how many faxes you can send within a 24 hour period, but you still cannot beat this for free.
Vista Print – Vista Print has the best deal online for free business cards and a lot of other promotional items. The only drawback is that the free designs display small Vista Print advertising on the back of your cards. You can use your own logo or choose from their design directory to create your cards. Of course, you do have to pay for shipping and handling but that is minimal compared to what you could pay a local print shop. Also, Vista Print has almost daily offers of free items like customized t-shirts, mugs, car magnets and other items.
Free Conference Call – There are several conference call services available but many of them only offer a free trial. is absolutely free. They do have advanced features and upgrades that you do have to pay for but as long as you use the basic service, it’s free.
PrimoPDF – In business, it is safer to send PDF files rather than Word documents that can be changed and may show all of your editing marks. Convert all of your Word and PowerPoint documents to PDF files by downloading PrimoPDF, a free PDF creation tool. There are other free PDF converters but PrimoPDF has more users-over 15 million-and does not show advertisements like some other free PDF converters.
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition – AVG is, by far, one of the most popular free anti-virus software. With millions of downloads per week, it offers satisfactory cyber security with options to upgrade to a “paid” version with more features. There is also other free anti-virus and firewall software such as Zone Alarm that can be used as a compliment to AVG.
dotMailer Free Email Marketing – Yes, there is another option besides Constant Contact. You can actually do your email marketing for free without having to provide your credit card information. With you can send up to 500 emails per month.
Sage Billing Boss – Billing is important to any business and Sage Billing Boss gives you the opportunity to do it effortlessly. You can create and send invoices to your clients and also get paid online. You can accept payments through an existing merchant account and even accept payment on your smartphone.
Skype – For the new, savvy entrepreneur that needs to do videoconferencing, Skype is the answer and it’s totally free. You can talk to and see clients and colleagues if you want to add a visual effect to your conferences. You will have to invest in a webcam but you can pick one up at your local Wal-Mart for under $20. If you ever want to upgrade to the premium service, you can do so at a very inexpensive rate.
Amazon Cloud – Amazon has a cloud for your music storage but so do Google and some other providers. If you’re in the music business and you need to download lots of music, this service is invaluable. Like all of the freebies mentioned, you can always upgrade to a paid service with more download capacity.
Because of technology and the Internet, starting a business today is easier than it’s ever been. And, of course, the Internet has made accessible, a myriad of services that new business owners, just a few years ago, had to pay a small fortune for.