Tips on Using Freemium Apps for Your Business

Lauren Hockenson understands the limited budget of a startup business. She recommends maximizing free resources such as app suites through some tips published at She advises, “Before you start app shopping, focus on what your goals are for the particular service you’re considering, then find the free plan to fit your needs.” She adds, “Don’t be enticed by a service’s premium option just because it’s within budget”. Consider “freemium” options first – these could address your company’s needs to optimize efficiency and to grow the business. Take for example PayPal’s free merchant account. A close look at the fine print will reveal benefits such as special discount on transaction fees for transactions exceeding $3,000 monthly. The same goes for transactions that average less than $10 or for non-profit companies.

One of the most difficult things about bootstrapping a startup is utilizing the right resources to optimize efficiency and promote growth.

Over the last few years, startups benefited from the so-called “freemium” model — a company offers the basic functions of an app suite for free, and then charges more for premium features and bigger storage space. Taking advantage of freemium options can help you put together the enterprise arsenal of your dreams while also maintaining that shoestring budget.

Here are some tips and tricks that will help you hedge your bets within the freemium system — and benefit like a high-rolling VIP.

1. Never Underestimate the Power of Google Apps
The proof is in the pudding — Google is free, easy to use, and can be tinkered to do a lot of heavy lifting that a startup needs. These apps also never go out of style, and can be integrated well into a company’s enterprise stage.

2. Don’t Overdo It
Make sure you seriously analyze why a premium service is necessary before jumping the gun and overlooking the free option.

Do you have an alternate option for tracking analytics? The basic and free HootSuite tools may suit you just fine.

3. Mind the Fine Print
Believe it or not, there are some apps that offer extra deals beyond free — it just takes a little digging to find it. Read through everything your plan offers, and you may find an extra benefit hiding, if you work for it.

For instance, PayPal’s free merchant account is an indispensable asset to product-focused startups looking for a cheap way to do transactions. But there’s more to it — a closer look at the fine print of PayPal’s transactions and payments reveal that some companies can benefit from a discount on all merchant fees. In fact, companies are allowed to apply for a special discount to transaction fees if transactions exceed $3,000 monthly, if transactions typically average less than $10 or if they are a registered non-profit. That could mean big savings for a bootstrapping business, and it could put more dough in the company account, not less …

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