Small Business Saturday: Running Your Business On Free Software

I’ve decided to add a new weekly feature to this blog – Small Business Saturday. Since many of my readers run a small business themselves either as a full-time or part-time job so I thought a weekly post was in order. Each week I’ll give you a tip that will help you run your business more efficiently.

This week I’m excited to discuss a topic that has saved me thousands of dollars over the last three years – running my business on Free Software.

Let’s face it – Microsoft has been the dominant player in the business software market for…well really they’ve been at the top forever! With very little competition Microsoft has been able to rake-in the dough charging whatever they want for their software.

Well I’m here to tell you – the small business owner – that you can escape and now is the perfect time to do it. With a few pieces of software you can run your business even MORE efficiently than you can with Microsoft Office…and of course the best part – it’s free!

Ready? In a few simple paragraphs I’m going to cut the fat off of your software budget and free-up some cash for your business!

Google Docs

Not only is Google Docs free – but it offers some nice advantages over Microsoft Office. It is much easier to share documents since its all available online and automatic backups means you don’t have to worry about losing your work. Of course another huge advantage is that you can work on absolutely any computer since Google Docs is online. The Word Processing and Spreadsheet Apps are more than sufficient for most tasks and of course you can export to all the popular Microsoft Formats for seamless integration with Word and Excel.

Skype

Tired of paying a fortune for your office phone and voicemail system? Skype can be a life-saver by offering completely free phone calls from Skype-to-Skype. When I first started using Skype there weren’t many people on it – now just about everyone I do business with is on Skype – which means whether they are next door or in Hong Kong I can talk for free – for as long as I’d like! Add Skype to your iPhone or Droid phone and you’ve got a mobile solution.

Mint

Struggling with your finances? Can’t keep track of everything and that darn Excel spreadsheet you made is just too clunky to keep updating manually. Don’t worry – Mint is here to rescue you. Just go to Mint.com and you’ll find a complete personal finance solution that can be easily adapted to small businesses.

TextWrangler

As you all probably know by now – I’m a Mac guy. Having a Mac has a million advantages but one piece of free software that I use daily is TextWranger. This is a great piece of software for editing HTML or PHP code and does automatic color-coding based on the language used so it’s easy read your code the moment you open it. With some great power-user features to this day I don’t understand why this is free – but it is so enjoy!

I hope the free software I’ve recommended above helps you reduce your costs and put more of your profits back where they belong – in your business!

Please feel free to share any free software you use yourself that wasn’t mentioned here – of course I’m always excited to learn about new solutions!

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Phio May 1, 2010, 1:36 pm

    Great idea you have brought: Small Business Saturday. Thanks Morgan.
    I’m going to try out Google Docs — been wanting to for a while.
    I use paint.net to make quick logos. I believe it is still free at getpaint.net

    Reply
  • Ace May 1, 2010, 2:15 pm

    Might want to mention OpenOffice as an alternative to MS Office, and the whole suite of products from Google Apps (Email, Docs, Calendar) is perfect for any business that has tiny budget.

    Reply
  • Valentin May 1, 2010, 2:19 pm

    My alternatives: OpenOffice for writing, Audacity for audio, Gimp and Picasa for graphics/pictures and Free Easy Burner for burning my DVD’s.

    Reply
  • dnclips.com - More than domain feeds May 1, 2010, 7:06 pm

    Thank you for the list… For finance, there is also GnuCash. Completely Opensource and a vibrant community also. For web designing, there is Nvu, another opensource.

    Reply
  • Morgan May 2, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Great comments everyone! As always thanks for sharing you thoughts and opinions – that’s what this blog is all about!

    Reply
  • George May 4, 2010, 7:14 am

    You should also have a look at SSuite Office for a free office suite. They have a whole range of office suites that are free for download. πŸ™‚

    Their software also doesn’t need to run on Java or .NET, like MS Office and so many open source office suites, so it makes their software very small, efficient, and easy to use. πŸ˜€

    You may try these links for more info:

    http://www.ssuitesoft.com/index.htm
    or
    http://www.ssuitesoft.com/ssuiteexcalibur.htm
    or
    http://ssuite5element.webs.com/thefifthelement.htm

    Reply
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