Small Business Diva

November 28, 2008

Knowing When To Use Free ‘Stuff’ In Your Business

Filed under: Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 9:47 pm

When you’re starting a business there can be a lot of costs involved, using up much of your precious capital before you even make that first sale. It’s no wonder then that so many new business owners attempt to cut back on costs wherever possible.

There are many business expenses where you can save yourself a few dollars, or sometimes lots of dollars, by choosing a free or low-cost option. Some of these cheap alternatives can be great, and the money saved can then be put to work elsewhere. However there are some areas where it really doesn’t pay for you to take the cheap version. For those who are new to the business-world, it’s often difficult to know exactly when you can and can’t go with the free options. 

That’s why we’re here to guide you. Of course, whether or not the low-cost version is suitable can be influenced by the industry you’re in and the market you are targeting, but here are some suggestions to guide you.

When it’s NOT okay to use free stuff…

Legal/financial advice: When it comes to legal and financial advice, please don’t scrimp. Although it may cost a bit to seek advice from a solicitor and/or accountant, it may save you so much more in the long run. It’s best to ensure that your structure and legal obligations are set up correctly from the start, especially if you will be entering into agreements and contracts or borrowing funds.

Email address: There are several ways to obtain a free email address, through hotmail or yahoo for example. However these don’t look professional and many people will not take any notice of such addresses, often linked with spammers. It’s worthwhile investing the small amount of money to register a domain name for your business and having an email address linked to that. You can still use the email address even if you don’t have a website at the moment. That way you will have a professional email address that will be taken seriously, such as

Business cards: These will no doubt be a central part of your marketing efforts and people do judge you by your business card. If you don’t have the funds to get cards professionally made, or don’t want to spend too much in case you change details in the first few months, as you often do, you can buy discount cards online from or You can choose one of their templates and add your contact details, or upload your own design. They are usually fairly good quality, especially for their price.

Registering a business name: This is another area where you really must invest in registering your business name and it is a legal requirement in Australia. Check with the relevant agency in your state or country as each state has their own rules. You can always look at trademarking your business name later but initially, make sure the business name registration is in order.



  1. I agree with you Donna-Marie. Email addresses are a critical part of doing business – and a free account just doesn’t cut it.

    I also recommend a professional designer create your business cards as they look more professional and create a much stronger brand presence on the market. They don’t cost all that much more than the online versions – but the results will pay for themselves.

    Comment by Ingrid — November 30, 2008 @ 6:31 am | Reply

  2. Good basic information here! I agree with Ingrid about business cards. Vistaprint et al are OK but there is still a difference between them and a professionally designed and printed card.

    I get quite a few things from vistaprint but always get my business cards done locally and their quality speaks volumes to my clients/prospective clients.

    Comment by Annette Piper — November 30, 2008 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  3. I agree too, especially about business names. There are so many people trading under a name other than their own who haven’t registered their busienss name. And the emails – I see that a lot!

    Comment by Melissa — December 8, 2008 @ 4:02 pm | Reply

  4. Nice blog you got here im reading it everyday.
    also visit my website im offering workfromhome services :

    Comment by peder — January 1, 2009 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

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