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Running a small business can be costly and time consuming. Small profit margins demand cost-cutting measures at every opportunity and time demands make searching for bargains a problem. Fortunately, there are many free deals available on the Internet that are designed specifically for small business owners.
Business owners can save money on almost everything that is needed for running a small business today; everything from websites, website building tools, web hosting, software applications and business management tutorials.
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Free Websites, Web Hosting & Building Tools
There are many online web-hosting companies that offer free websites for personal and small business use. Google Sites, Blogger and WordPress are a few, and these offer free templates, building tools, tutorials and customer support centers to help build web pages.
Most web hosts offer a limited amount of space with the free sites they offer, as well as e-commerce tools such as encryption, shopping carts, and secure checkout that are available for an additional fee. To make money, these companies place their own ads on the web pages you create to generate revenue, which some may feel gives the site an unprofessional look. Usually the ads can be removed with an account upgrade.
Money Saving Tip: Always try and select a web hosting company that has good reviews and a solid reputation; fly-by-night hosting operations have been known to disappear, leaving unfortunate business owners with no website at all.
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Free Software Applications
There are many free applications available on the Internet that are comparable to Microsoft's Office suite. IBM offers a free suite of office applications called Lotus Symphony. The suite contains applications for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.
Google Docs features free word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs that be downloaded to the desktop and accessed online.
Money Saving Tip: Most software manufacturers offer free demo and trial versions of their software programs. Take advantage of these offers when you do plan on purchasing business software; they allow you to determine if the product is right for you and your business before any money is spent.
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Free Business Lessons
The U.S. Small Business Association offers a series of free online lessons for small business owners. Lessons cover such topics as business start-ups, accounting, financing, management, taxes and e-commerce.