The modern business world is undoubtedly an exciting and varied place. Organizations across a range of sectors come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from large multi-national brands to smaller start-ups with a more regional focus.

The business models that companies adopt can also vary, with some calling on customers to pay for individual services and others using subscriptions. Remarkably, certain areas have even taken the rather surprising step of giving away advice and products for free.

Free to play

The idea of offering expertise or other items for no charge might sound bizarre in a business sense, but it has become possible in some areas.

For instance, one of the biggest trends in video gaming across recent years has been the rise of free-to-play titles. As Techopedia explains, the concept essentially gives players access to a game for no charge. However, developers then look to generate revenue through both advertising and the sale of items within the game. The latter might include expansion packs or new characters.

Many games now follow this model, with a notable example being Call of Duty Mobile. Last month, the game’s official site revealed that the title had surpassed 500 million downloads across both iOS and Android devices. To mark the milestone, the team behind the title sent 10 free Radio Current Crates to the in-game mailboxes of players.

Free financial support

Free financial support

The idea of offering free services is clearly proving popular in the gaming world. But, how are other companies and sectors approaching the issue of providing services for no charge?

Well, another interesting example can be found in the world of financial services. The UK-based site Trussle states prominently on its homepage how it offers expert mortgage advice and searches through thousands of deals to help customers get the right one. However, it also adds that the latter do not have to pay any fees in relation to the service.

So, how is this ultimately possible? For complete transparency, Trussle outlines how it is actually paid by mortgage lenders after a home purchase or remortgage has been completed. It adds that such payments are referred to within the industry as a procuration fee. The company also takes a similar approach in terms of how it handles insurance products, with it being paid by insurers once cover actually begins. Customers also get a breakdown of the relevant fees when product information is issued.

Lessons to learn?

There is a lot to consider when establishing a business, but one of the most fundamental issues is how you will ultimately make money. However, did you ever think that offering services for free could be a good way forward?

While the approach might seem counter-intuitive, it is interesting to reflect on how industries as diverse as video gaming and financial services have made it work. Are there lessons that you could potentially learn from their strategies as you look to move your business to a whole new level? It may well be something to think about.

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.