Katherine Lewis over at Current Mom writes as a new entrepreneur, I was shocked by how many valuable services and products were available for free.

We all know the failure rate for new businesses is depressingly high, largely because of cash flow problems. It pays to be cheap when you’re starting out — at least in the areas where it doesn’t negatively impact your customers — until you see some real cash flowing in.

Web Site Design/Web Site Hosting
I built my own Web site for free — twice — on the blogging platforms blogger.com and typepad.com. The same price is available at wordpress.com. And I am hardly a technological whiz kid. It just took a little trial and error (and some very friendly help desk staff) to get the sites looking the way I wanted.

Business Cards
Another no-brainer: order business cards for free. A friend who launched her own business a few years ago spent oodles of time — and money — working with a graphic designer to get her business cards and letterhead stationary just right, but never landed a single paying client. She could’ve had the same result and saved thousands of dollars by ordering business cards from Vista Print or another of the many services that offer them for free.

E-Mail Marketing
You can get a free e-mail marketing account from services like Mail Chimp if you have fewer than 500 subscribers. Or, sign up for a free trial from companies like Constant Contact or iContact. Depending on the type of business, you’ll likely outgrow the initial free account, but by using the free services, you gain a much better understanding of your needs and uses for email marketing. You’ll make a more informed decision when you are ready to make a long-term financial commitment.

Checking Account
Again, it depends on the type of entrepreneur you are, but for many it’s almost criminal to pay for a business checking account. There are so many free business checking accounts available.

Photo by inlog.org.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on September 20, 2010 in Featured.

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