July 22, 2022

Wyoming Biz Tip: Are You Paying for Business Services You Could Get for Free?

by Mike Lambert | Jul 14, 2022 | Biz Tips2022 Biz Tip Free Business Services

If you have been a user of Google’s G-Suite or Google Apps for your business, you are undoubtedly aware that this formerly free program has transitioned into a paid subscription service that is now called Google Workspace. Businesses will now need to pay a monthly fee of $6 to $18 per user, with an additional per user fee of $6 for the Cloud Identity Premium service.

This change may be challenging for many businesses, so it may be helpful to examine a number of services that you may be paying for as a business that are (for now at least) available for free or at a lower cost.

1. Office Suite:
While the full Microsoft 365 Business suite is priced the same as Google’s new subscription, free versions of  Word, Excel, PowerPoint are also available.  Although the free versions of these popular programs lack some advanced capabilities you will find in the paid version, you can get access to the applications from any device. There is also a “free” version of Outlook, but it is more limited than the full paid version and includes targeted ads.

If Microsoft Office isn’t working for you, there are some other free alternatives that will accomplish the same tasks as common Microsoft Office programs.  One of the best is LibreOffice.  This suite offers Writer, Calc, Impress (presentations), Draw, Base (database), Chart (graphs and charts) and Math (Equations). Another free alternative is Apache OpenOffice® which features the same program options as LibreOffice except for a chart tool. Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice are free downloads. Both will open Microsoft .docx and .xlsx (Word and Excel) files, but only LibreOffice is able to save to these formats.

Free Business Email: Many internet providers offer free email addresses and hosting to clients with their services. Check with your internet provider and see if their email service will work for you. As mentioned before, there is also a free but limited version of Microsoft’s email program, Outlook. If neither Outlook’s free version nor your internet providers email program seem to meet your needs, a good full-featured alternative could be Zoho Mail. While not free, the “Lite” version costs $1 per user per month and also includes calendars. Their “Workplace” suite costs $3 per user per month and includes online word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, chat and meeting software.

Document Storage: 
While Google really wants you to sign up for Google Workspace, they still offer 15 GB of storage for free through Google Drive.  Note that if your needs exceed that 15 GB storage cap, you can always increase your Google Drive storage, but it does come with a fee.  The next step up is for 100 GB of storage and that currently costs $2 a month or $20 annually, 200 GB is $3 per month or $30 annually and 2 TB are $10 a month or $100 annually. If you are an Apple user, iDrive has a free plan that includes 5 GB of storage, and if you want to upgrade to more, 10 TB costs only $3.98 annually. Microsoft One Drive also offers 5GB for free.  Their 1 TB / user plan for business is currently $5 per user per month with an annual subscription.

Other business services that you may be paying for that you can get for free from the Wyoming SBDC Network are shown below.

  • Website review and analysis
  • Social media review and analysis
  • Accounting and financial training
  • Market research, including competition, industry, trends, average financials
  • Business plan preparation assistance and review
  • Selling to US and State governments
  • Business startup assistance
  • Funding for technology innovation
  • One-on-one and web-based training or a large variety of subjects.

About the Author: Since 2003, Mike has built an information resource for Wyoming businesses that is unique in the nation. The Wyoming SBDC Network’s Market Research Center specializes in providing any Wyoming business with access to advanced marketing information that was previously available only to a few of the largest corporations. Mike’s individual expertise also includes marketing, product management, product development, international trade, and exporting.

This project was developed by the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network and funded through a Cooperative Agreement with U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) funds appropriated by Congress through the CARES Act to assist businesses in recovering from the negative effects of COVID-19. SBDC appreciates ongoing support from the SBA, The Wyoming Business Council, and the University of Wyoming.