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The Best Free Stuff for Small Business Owners

Lower your costs dramatically by taking advantage of these free products and services

By Gwen Moran

When you’re running a small business, the onslaught of expenses can seem endless. You have to spend money on equipment and website management and office supplies and insurance and on and on. But I’m happy to tell you that there are actually quite a few ways small business owners can get free products and services. Here are my favorites, in nine areas:

 

Business Consulting

 

 

For free advice on developing a business plan, you also might try your local SBA Small Business Development Center. And the website Bplans offers more than 500 free business plan templates online.

 

Web Design and Hosting

 

Banish steep fees for website design and monthly hosting with Google Sites, which lets you create a simple site using one of its predesigned templates, entirely free. Another alternative is Intuit, which offers a free site-building tool and free website hosting for a year. 

 

Market Research and Statistics

 

 

Web Analytics

 

With Web analytics, you can find out who’s visiting your website, which search terms they used to find it, and where they spend time on the site once they get there. You can gather this kind of valuable information from the free version of Google Analytics, which presents the numbers in vivid charts and graphs.

 

Conference Calling

 

Don’t pay for another conference call when you can ring up one of these four free conferencing services: Freeconferencecall.com and GroupMe.com (a division of Skype), for mobile phones; Wiggio.com, for online virtual meetings; and Fring, for video chats on mobile phones and tablets.

 

Office Furniture

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Instead of spending a bundle on fancy office furniture, check out Freecycle. This site lists giveaways from local people who are trying to get rid of items including office furniture. The Craigslist and Listia sites are also good places to search for desks, chairs and other office pieces. All three tend to be hit-or-miss, but the time you spend on them could pay off.

 

Logos

 

Need a distinctive logo for your business, but don’t have the cash to hire a designer? LogoMaker, LogoSnap, and AllFreeLogos can help you create professional logos at no cost.

 

Shipping Supplies

 

If your business involves shipping products, get a free Priority Mail shipping kit, complete with four boxes and an envelope, from the United States Postal Service.

 

Tax Help

 

 

Gwen Moran is a small business authority and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans. She has been running her own businesses since 1992 and was a national finalist in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards competition. Read More
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