The internet has changed our perspective on a good many things. We should be able to search for almost everything, we should be able to access information from anywhere, we should be able to buy exactly what we want any time of day, and we should even be able to find our perfect soul mate. Perhaps most profound of these changes is our expectation of what we should be able to get for free. In a word: anything.
With so much free stuff available online, our attention soon shifts to answering the more important question: What is better than free? You see, as a business owner, I have money. I do not need everything for free as there are things I value more than a $0 price tag. What you may ask?
1) Being Findable. The online world is more crowded than ever, and I want my very best prospects to be able to find me online when they're ready to buy. That is more valuable than free for most business owners.
2) Customizable. Again, every business owner I know is busy. If I could design and personalize a free item to fit my needs exactly and make me happier, effective, prosperous, creative, etc., that is more valuable then free.
3) ROI. Any return on free is infinite. However, I’m happy to pay something to generate a greater return. After all, I get to keep all the profits. More revenue to my business is probably going to be better than free.
You could probably contribute items that cost relatively little yet add a great deal to your personal and/or professional life. So, we very quickly validate the premise that there are things much better than free. Now how about some specific examples that are much better than free and will improve your life and effectiveness almost instantly?
HiriseHQ is the best, simplest (It is best because it is so simple and easy to use) client data program I have ever used. If you are a small business and need to track customers, projects, prospects, and your thoughts, this is a great program. Their $24 - $49 program will serve most of your needs. It is the best organizational tool used in my business. They will give you free 30 day trial.
CloudProfile.com is the easiest way to become alive online. If you do not have a web presence, you’ll have one instantly and if you have a web site that is not generating enough business or your are not easily found on Google and local business directories, this $49 per month will likely provide a great ROI in very short order. You will love the way you look online and you'll also get a free 30 day trial to fall in love with this program.
EVoice.com allows me to manage all my inbound calls, find me where ever I am, forward messages and give my company a professional feel from the very first call. $29.95 spend here is much better than the free voice mail that comes on your phone system. 30 day free trial here as well.
Google Apps Premier will provide an instant return on your $50 per year. Customers, vendors, prospects will all make an instant judgment based on your company URL. Google will allow you to establish an email account for $50 per year per user with full functionality. Much better than free.
These small business tools help me run a very successful and profitable business and are all much better than free.
What low cost business tools do you love?