Business Tips

Use free trials and freemium to lower small business costs

Starting and growing your own business is not for the faint of heart. Not only think about profitability, risk and the long-term success of your company, also consider dealing with mounting costs. From product inventory, shipping services and professional fees to administrative expenses, sales and marketing, benefits, wages and, of course, technology costs, it can seem overwhelming.  

One way small businesses can save money, at least in the technology arena, is by taking advantage of all the scalable free software or freemium tools that are now available to them. From free trials of project management software, and freemium video conferencing tools to team collaboration opportunities, many entrepreneurs are saving big, while also getting a feel for the capabilities this scalable software can provide as the business grows. 

Let’s take a look at why software like this is so essential to your small business. 

  • Critical aspects of small business success 
  • Good communication 

While communication plays an ongoing role in a company’s success, keeping everyone on the same page as your business begins to grow will help make sure things are moving accordingly. After all, it takes a village to turn ideas into realities. 

A recent study found that companies with highly effective communication practices see 47 percent higher returns than those without. One way to boost communication is to take advantage of freemium team software that allows you to:  

  • Communicate more effectively. Bring everything together in a shared workspace with group chat, online meetings, calling and web conferencing. 
  • Work better together. Collaborate on files with built-in popular built-in apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and SharePoint. 
  • Customize your workspace. Add in your favorite apps and third-party services to keep the business moving forward. 
  • Keep your team secure. Get end-to-end security and compliance. 
  • Project management  

A valuable project management tool can help mitigate costly mistakes and give you a jump on the competition. Especially when you consider that only 58 percent of the other organizations out there fully understand the value of project management. But not all free trials are the same. Here are some benefits to choosing the right project management software

  • Reliability, ease of integration and ease of use. Good software should work seamlessly across universally-popular tools like Office, Office 365, PowerPoint, etc. and offer leading cloud-based PM services to add flexibility and security while easing technical complexity. 
  • Effective management of virtual teams. With more and more people working remotely, even globally, in different time zones and across various cultures and languages, communication skills and time management have never been more meaningful. Choose PM software that gives you valuable tools everyone can use on-the-go, allowing them to easily share or access the latest statuses, conversations, project timelines and document versions through a dedicated project site. That’ll keep everyone connected and organized. 
  • Built-in tools at your fingertips. Time is money for small business owners. Make sure the free trial project software you choose comes with familiar scheduling tools like Gantt charts and built-in customizable templates to get you started. 
  • Ability to upgrade to a premium product. Having the ability to “try before you buy” with a free trial gives you the freedom to test many of the features of the software, without any risk.  

While free software has its obvious benefits, it’s often worth it to invest in the paid version from the get-go to get the additional features and services you need. For example, if you want team management software with added benefits like advanced reporting, the premium product may be a better choice. 

Same with project management software. If you’d prefer having features like in-depth analytics or fully-installed, up-to-date desktop applications, you’ll need to consider that, as these features can often end up paying for themselves in the long run.   

No matter which path you choose, a software subscription or a free version, be sure you research all your product options to find the perfect fit for your business. 

About the author

Microsoft 365 Team

The Microsoft 365 team is focused on sharing resources to help you start, run, and grow your business.

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The Growth Center does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. You should contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.