Finding a good hosting provider to host your online business and for your web presence is hard enough. Getting the rest of your business essentials should not be as hard or pricey.
Here are some of the best free stuff and free trials to kick off your new small or medium business. Even if you have been in the business for awhile, these samples, freebies and trials can be very useful in your business, even for the short 30-day trial periods. Most of these trials and freebies are available by just signing up on the internet. Many may require you put your credit card information but you can easily cancel before the trial period is over. Most software will allow free download or online scanning and usable for free for no more than a month. Most samples are free although you have to fork a little shipping cost.
We have managed to send and receive faxes across the globe, make short but important International calls, prepare some business cards to give out to potential clients, scan our PCs for potential virus and security threat, manage our online shopping cart via Windows desktop interface, and much much more. All those at no charge!
Marketing & Promotion
- Free Business Cards – You can get 250 FREE business cards
and 140 FREE return address labels from vistaprint.com. You can also get another 250 business cards from printrunner.com. We like the ones from PrintRunner better because they have more designs and do not have their logo printed on the back of the cards. Do you have to choose? No, you can get all of them.
- Business Card and Receipt Management – Try shoeboxed.com to organize your contacts business cards or even your business receipts. Shoeboxed does the grunt work for you: scanning your receipts so you have all the data you need for taxes, bookkeeping, and expense reports. They also do the scanning of clients business cards for easy contact management. Just mail your business cards and receipts (we are relunctant to do send receipts but we are not sure about you) to Shoeboxed and they’ll do the rest.
- Free Search Engine Marketing credits – If you have signed up with a hosting provider (such as Hostmonster, Bluehost, Hostgator, Justhost) that provides the free $50 or $25 Google Adwords credits you should use those free credits to promote your business or website on Google. In addition, you can also sign up with Yahoo Search Marketing and get $25 free credits, and don’t miss the $50 free matching credits from Ask Sponsored Listing.
- Email Marketing – Try ConstantContact and iContact free trials.
- Website Monitoring – You can check if you website is always up with WebServiceGuard
- Free Calendar – Get your free sample calendar here.
- Free Window Decal – Get your free window decal here.
- Create & host your online video ads – Use coupon Code: FreeVideoAd
- More free stuff with your own brand – Rubber Stamps, Magnet, Standard Postcards, Free Sticky Note and T-Shirt from VistaPrint can add to your corporate identity. They don’t give much, but would be a great starter for a new business identity.
- Free 1800 Number
- Free Fax – Try Ringcentral or eFax
- Free Video Chat trial
- Virtual Receptionist
- International Calls – Rebtel gives 5 minutes free International call. Skype can be great too.
Business and Finance
- Product Sourcing
- Personal Finance
- Online Survey Solution – Create online surveys with advanced reporting, PowerPoint charts, skip logic, custom branding and more.
e-Commerce and Shopping Cart
- Shopping-cart desktop Store Manager – Are you running one of these open-source shopping carts? Manage your products easily from a desktop software instead of using the default web-based interface. The store manager software is available for Magento, OS Commerce, Zen Cart, X-Cart, CRE Loaded and Pinnacle Cart.
- Don’t have an online store yet? Install one quickly with Prostores. Take the 1-month Free Trial Webstore with this eBay company.
Office and Document Management
- Free Online Document Storage – Try Office Live and Tradebit (also share and sell with Paypal integration)
- Remote Backup – Try 2GB Free SugarSync (not trial), 2GB Free Mozy (not trial), or Carbonite (15-day, no credit card req)
- Remote PC Access and Control
- Online Backup & Storage – Elephantdrive and UseNext
- Optimize and SpeedUp PC – PC Pitstop, Tune Up
- Antivirus/Anti-Spyware – Trend Micro, ESET NOD32, CA Antivirus, Kaspersky Antivirus, Spyware Doctor Free Scan, PC Tools Antivirus Free Scan
- File Recover – Recovers files instantly from hard drives, floppy drives and other types of fixed media.
- PC Internet Security – Make sure your PC is secure and protected with Trend Micro Internet Security Pro
- English Writing and Grammar
- Free Website Hosting with Office Live
Sit back and relax
Tips and Tricks
- If any sign-up form requires card information, we suggest that you use a credit card instead of a debit card . Although we have not had any problem with any of the above merchants, but with a credit card, you can dispute later if anything goes wrong especially if the merchant did not honor their cancel-anytime-before-end-of-trial-period promise.
- Just in case you do not like their services, make sure you keep track of the end dates for the trial period so you can cancel before you got charged. Sometimes, a service may not be suitable for your business so you just have to keep looking for the one that best fit your need.
- If you need to cancel any account sign-up, don’t wait until the last day. Phone lines can be congested, their systems can go off-line, you may fell sick. Many things can go wrong. Make a decision 2 to 3 days before the trial period is over.