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It Pays to Be Small: Small Businesses Benefit From Free Services

Google Apps' new payment model, which allows small firms to use its services for free while larger companies have to pay up, seems to be part of a larger trend from which small business can benefit.

The trend? Some companies are beginning to offer their services at a low or no cost to small businesses while making their money on larger firms.

Launched four months ago, a new company called Apptivo is following a similar business plan.

A software-as-a-service-platform provider, Apptivo provides businesses with the tools to manage all aspects of their operation, including financials, e-commerce , procurement, human resources, Web content management, customer relationship management, sales force and fundraising.

“We offer a selection of small business apps that allows you to essentially get your business organized all for free,” Bastin Gerald, Apptivo founder, told BusinessNewsDaily.

Specific apps help businesses keep track of inventory and customer payments, create loyalty management programs, set up payment options for e-commerce websites, design blogs and send out invoices.

“The whole mission is to bring the best practices from the large corporations down to the small businesses, so they can be more organized,” Gerald said.

In addition to the free apps, Apptivo offers several cost-based services — including corporate e-mail services, website hosting and document storage.

The Apptivo apps, Gerald said, are designed for small businesses that have up to 100 employees.  Businesses can start with just one or two apps at first, he said, and then continue adding more as the business becomes more established.

“You can progressively grow as you go along,” Gerald said.
Apptivo offers live customer service representatives who can help navigate the apps.

“We have a very good support system in place,” he said.

Since its launch earlier this year, Gerald said Apptivo already has signed on thousands of customers around the world.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.