Brian Ma's Blog (@zealoustiger)

Weekly insights from an Entreprenuer: To spend one year as a tiger is better than to live forever as sheep

Free is Powerful

Free stuff sells.  I was just at Denny’s free grand slam breakfast today and even though I’m not a big fan of standing in lines for giant breakfast with over the top calories – I went.  How can you say no to free?  (The wait time was actually much shorter than I expected and they were very fast in terms of service.  Props to you Denny’s)

dennys

In business, free is good.  When we approach recruiters with the concept of Eggsprout, they’re always amazed at our concept of free job posts and free resumes.  On the big job boards – they go for hundreds of dollars a piece for job posts and thousands a month for resumes.  That’s a big contrast from free.  And it sells – because we make it such a no brainer.  What do you have to lose for trying us?  Just 5 minutes of your time.

My suggestion – in whatever business you’re trying to build, always offer a low-cost option.  It could just be a free trial, a basic package, or even a free place for people to connect with you and your brand (like a forum or blog).  Structures like these allow you to obtain new customers quickly at a very low cost.  You’re thinking this is pretty obvious stuff – and it is – but I really didn’t understand the power of free until I found myself dropping my plans today to spend the 10 minutes driving and 15 minutes standing in line just to get my little piece of the grand slam deal.  It’s powerful.

Want to get better than free?  Pay people to use your product.  It sounds strange, but that’s exactly what Google Adsense and Microsoft Live Search rev share does.  That’ll be a post for another time.

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