nurturing small businesses

Three free alternatives to Google Apps (now Google are charging for new sign ups and you still need a business email address)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

It’s not an exaggeration when I say that many companies I come across still use suffixes such as gmail, yahoo, and hotmail in their business email address.  Firmly believing that in order to appear more professional and capable, businesses should have a business email address that reflects their business domain name.  Thus I’d fully intended this post to look at how such an address can easily be set up, for free, using Google Apps.  That was until Google Apps announced that they are now going to be charging new users for their service…



Of course, this prompts the question of whether ‘free’ is better for your business.  Some may also argue that Google provides a great service and as you’re using it for business purposes then you should pay for it.

However, The Business Greenhouse’s experience of working with startups, sole traders, microbusinesses and even small businesses, suggests that business owners will want to make their money go further so if free options are available they will explore them.

So if you’re a business owner wanting a more professional-looking email address, here are three free alternatives that we’ve found to Google email:

Mozilla Thunderbird
Mozilla claim that their free email application is easy to set up and customise.  Our experience of Thunderbird only extends to importing mail from a different account, but it appears to allow relatively easy management of mail and is fairly intuitive once you’ve had a run through of their features.Windows Live
Again claim that their email is easy to manage and customise.  Going through the set up instructions it does all appear to be relatively straightforward – as you would hope from Microsoft.

I hear this provider mentioned with increasing frequency, which may or may not be an indicator of it’s popularity or usefulness.  It’s free for up to 3 users and provides up to 5GB of storage for one domain at this level, with further capacity that you can pay for as your business grows or demands change.

What’s your view?  Are you disappointed that Google Apps has brought in charging for new users of their service?  Are you happy to pay, or will you seek out the still free services?  Please do comment below.

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