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In this increasingly digital age, email has become one of the most important ways we communicate – especially in business. If you’re a small business, having the right business email account can help you streamline your communications both internally and externally.
Not only does doing business over email give you a papertrail of everything agreed, it also offers flexibility. You’ll avoid missed calls or forgotten voicemail messages, allowing people to respond in their own time.
Keep reading our guide to see some of the best business email accounts for your small business.
A business email account is just like any other email account – but solely for your work life.
There are many benefits to creating a separate email account for your work life. Firstly, it helps maintain your brand. A business email address makes you easily recognisable to your customers, so there’s less chance of your emails being missed or sent to spam folders.
This also helps to create brand credibility – customers may feel more comfortable speaking to you through a business email account rather than a personal one.
A business email account can also help you with setting up mailing lists. You can use mailing lists to send offers and marketing promotions to your customers, keeping them up to date with your business.
If you’re using your business email address to speak with customers, make sure you read up on the latest data protection regulations.
Business email accounts can even help with internal communication. This keeps your team connected – especially if you’re not local to one centralised office.
There are plenty of options to choose from when you set up a business email account.
Consider how many employees you have and how much storage you’ll need. Do you often send large files? What about security features to protect confidential information? Different email providers focus on different aspects, so find the one that works for your business.
The first thing you’ll need to do is choose the type of email service you want: client-based or webmail?
Client-based email is software which will need to be downloaded wherever your team uses their emails. The software then syncs with your email server to give you access. You’ve probably used a client-based email in your personal life if you’ve ever used Apple Mail or Outlook.
The other option is webmail, which is the most commonly used email both personally and professionally. You can access webmail from any internet browser (though many platforms have their own app too). There’s no additional software needed, making it a more accessible option for many.
Yahoo and Gmail are common webmail options you may have used before – and Outlook even has its own webmail version for browser use.
Once you’ve decided whether you want a webmail or client-based email account, it’s time to decide on your email platform. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best options below.
Phishing and malware protection, two-factor authentication
Each user gets: 15 GB (free), up to 5 TB (paid)
Gmail, created by Google, is probably the most popular email account provider in the world. It's easy to use and has a simple interface that many are already familiar with. You can access it via a browser or mobile app, so you’re always connected to your team.
Gmail is free to use and comes with 15 GB of storage as standard – but can increase to 5 TB if you purchase a higher price plan. The free option, as well as different price plans, make it a great choice for small businesses without the budget to spend.
You might be used to seeing emails from @gmail.com, but Google for Workspace also works with custom domain names – so you can have an @yourcompany.com email address. Their Google Workspace option for businesses also has additional features, such as group mailing lists.
Advanced anti-spam, two-factor authentication
Up to 50 GB (for each user)
Yes (included in price)
Neo is a popular email platform for small businesses looking to grow their brand – but may not have the budget and technical skills to do so on their own. There are two price plans to choose from: Business Starter and Business Plus.
Both options include their own custom domain name, helping businesses build brand credibility. This saves time and money as you won’t have to buy and set up your business domain separately. You’ll also get a one-page website for your business included in your price plan, which is great for listing important information and attracting customers.
Yes (personal accounts), but not for Outlook for Business
Standard security on most price plans, advanced security and cyber threat protection with Premium
1TB of cloud storage (for each user)
Another business email account you may be used to is Outlook. Available as either a webmail or client-based platform, you can choose between Outlook’s free version or its paid Outlook for Business offering. You’ll be able to access your email from a browser, desktop app, or mobile app.
The main benefit of Outlook is its integration with other Microsoft apps such as Teams, Word, or Excel – so it’s a great email option if you use these other services.
You can use a custom domain if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription – but it looks like Microsoft are stopping this feature in the future, so bear that in mind if you hope to use a personalised domain name.
Each user gets: 5 GB (free), up to 50 GB (paid)
Zoho Mail is another email platform designed specifically for business use. You can choose from both paid options and a ‘forever free’ plan which covers up to five users (perfect for small businesses) for up to 5 GB storage each. The paid plans start from as little as 80p a user a month.
Zoho Mail is part of a wider suite of business tools, so you can have a more streamlined business experience if you buy the connected CRM, bookings, and customer service tools.
End-to-end encryption to Proton Mail accounts, password protected emails to other accounts, two-factor authentication
1 GB (free), up to 500 GB (paid)
We all have different priorities in business, but one that most of us share is privacy. Proton Mail is renowned for its privacy and is often viewed as one of the best free encrypted email accounts available. Launched in Switzerland, a country serious about its privacy laws, Proton Mail is an excellent choice if protecting your data is important to you.
Proton offers both free and paid versions. The free version includes one email address (making it perfect for sole traders) for up to 1 GB of storage and the ability to send 150 messages a day. This plan also includes 1 medium-speed VPN connection for added security.
By choosing a paid plan, you can increase your storage and email addresses, as well as additional security features.
If you’re a new business still trying to build up a reputation in the industry, looking as professional as possible may be important to you. Whilst there’s not one email address that’s viewed as more professional than the others, one thing that can help is having a custom domain name.
Internally, any email platform that easily syncs your team’s calendars and protects your data will help maintain a professional standard in the workplace.
There are plenty of different email and web domain providers depending on your budget and intended usage – and they might be cheaper than you’d first think. However, it’s important to account for this in your budget. If you’re just starting out and still building up business, a simple and free Gmail or Outlook address should be fine.
But if you do want a custom domain name, read our guide on setting up a professional email address to help you get started.
Once you’ve set up your custom domain name, you can create your specific mailboxes. If you’re a sole trader, you can choose to have your name in your email address or a more generic term. Some examples include:
If you decide not to choose a custom domain name, [email protected] works just as well to separate your business and personal inboxes.
If you have a business with multiple employees or teams, you can choose to use personal names or specific functions for your mailboxes:
What email platform do you use in your business? Let us know in the comments below.
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Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.
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