Every business needs some form of technology. It’s is virtually impossible to run any business (even the smallest ones) without it. You will need some form of computers, sometimes smartphones, perhaps a website, and other tech-associatives that you may never never even heard of. Thus, cost is always an issue. That’s where “open source” comes in.
If you’re unfamiliar, open source is basically a free alternative to popular software. It is designed and released for a variety of reasons, but what’s important is that it’s free to use and serves as a brilliantly cost-effective alternative. Here are 3 great options.
Office Suite: LibreOffice
If you own a PC you have some form of MS Office. That is, you may have Word, and a few other programs, perhaps not all of them. But if you buy them new, we’re talking a few hundred dollars, a good reason to try LibreOffice (not only because it’s free). LibreOffice is a great alternative because of its compatibility with MS Office files, and its functionality as a suite of programs.
You run a small business so you have to keep track of funds, but Quickbooks starts at $150, which is a good place to begin. Don’t want to drop that kind of cash? Then try out TurboCASH. You can manage all of your quotes, proposals, debits, credits, bank reconciliation, and so on. It comes with comprehensive feature reports and a variety of configurations. Oh, and it’s easy to use.
For most business email solutions MS Outlook is used because it comes stock on so many Microsoft devices. But what if you are starting new, with a clean slate, and don’t want to spend a lot to outfit every computer (Outlook costs $95)? Try Mozilla’s Thunderbird. It’s free and comes chock-full of great features, as well as many items that are familiar (like tabs, folders, etc). And if you already have Mozilla’s Firefox Browser, you can customize and integrate.
Removing expensive, bloated products from your life will save you money and headaches. And while there is a slight learning curve if you are making a switch rather than starting fresh, in the end, your effort will be worth more than money.
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