Financial Post: Free apps that can help you run a small business


(October 22) The best things in life may be free, but they get better when you pay for them. At least, this is the rationale behind the freemium model, which is taking the mobile and web application world by storm.

There’s no doubt that freemium applications have appeal. These apps, generally available on both mobile and web platforms, use a simple approach: They offer something for free, with the idea you’ll get hooked, and go back for more. The idea is gaining traction quickly, says Raza Zaidi, founder and chief executive of San Francisco market research company Velositor, which specializes in mobile applications research.

“If you look at the various models, it has the highest growth,” he says. “This is going to be the leading model in the future, starting in 2013.”

The benefits for small businesses are obvious: no initial outlay, and the chance to test software before paying for more functionality. But Ben Dickie, research analyst at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group, points out another advantage. He says it gives employees a chance to use tools that they are already familiar with.

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