We at B&J Bookkeeping love free stuff. If you feel the same, you probably already know a few tricks yourself. Who doesn’t enjoy taking a free sample at the grocery store, especially sushi? After the bite, the makers of the product want you to buy what they’re selling in the end. Yes, you enjoyed the sushi. Do you want to spend real money on it? This principle can also be applied to small to mid-sized businesses. You wouldn’t believe it, but there are several benefits you can obtain by leveraging your ability to utilize freebies. We’ll show you how below.
Great Free Trials for Small Business
There are many instances in which a free trial can benefit your business, and we’ll share a few.
To shop around – Do you need an expense recording app? How about a document editor? Think of any tool or piece of software that could ultimately save you time and money. Giving it a free trial allows you to see how well it works for you. Tracking time and especially time saved can lead to big bucks in hours paid. These tools can also save you time on random tasks you may not know you were doing. These include storing receipts, looking for documents, tracking an invoice, etc.
To compare to your current tool – Using the case of software and apps, is your current one failing you? Give the competition a trial to see how it works. You can even have one or more employees sign up for a free trial and compare the results with the other group. Trying yourself is not a bad idea as well. You need to be able to know how to use it should you decide to switch over.
To see if it can replace multiple tools – Do you use separate tools for expenses, invoicing, time sheets, or any other related tasks? Some of the tools out there can do it all. What if they are too complex? The free trial is perfect to see if you can or cannot utilize them.
For short jobs – I have a client who had documents created in a previous version of the software converted to the new industry format. She didn’t need the new software, just the conversions. Our suggestion? A free trial of course. She was able to use this software to convert all her documents. She even appreciated the software she used and said she would consider buying it down the line. The software will also help her know if the competition is better or worse. Which brings us to–
Side by side comparisons – If you really are ready to buy, get a free trial of everything (or at least your top 3) in the field you are buying. Test each contender yourself and have an employee or several do the same. At the end of the trial periods, you will be able to come to an informed conclusion.
Awful Free Trials for Small Business
There are also many scenarios in which you do not want to touch a free trial. These include but are not limited to:
When they come to you – They have a great pitch, slick promotional materials, and are ready to give you an on the spot demonstration. We think of the vacuum demonstrations of old. These salesmen used to show housewives how their vacuum was so powerful, it could lift a bowling ball. Little did many of them know that just about any vacuum can. In short, is what they are selling you something that can be done presently in-house?
Malware, spyware, adware, etc. – In the case of software trials, you may not realize some of them come with strings attached. These strings come in the form of an item that is laden with little bits of poison. They spring into action as soon as you open the download file. These include:
- Viruses – This addition will crash your computer and possibly system, and should be avoided at all costs.
- Ransomware – A new type of bug, it will lock your computer and hold you data hostage. The only way to get it back is to pay their ransom. If you’ve backed your data up, you may have to reformat the entire computer.
- Malware – This is an umbrella term for the above and below.
- Spyware – Think you are being spied on? Spyware on your computer may be the cause. It is programmed to capture everything you do online, including acquiring your accounts and passwords.
- Adware – A great nuisance, this will install software that will show you ads whether you want them or not. It’s also bad for computer speed.
The best way to avoid this is to run the files through a virus program, make sure you are downloading from a trusted site, and even Googling the software to see if others have found malware.
Automatic billing – Some of these free trials will ask for payment information. This is standard. However, charging you before the trial period has ended is not. They must also let you know how long the free trial is. Be sure to keep note of the day before it expires so you can make a decision as to whether or not to continue.
Our Houston Bookkeeping Services
If you live in Houston and need bookkeeping services to help keep up with your expenses, feel free to contact us for assistance.