If you are a small business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur you likely know all too well how expensive software can be. But good software can certainly be a competitive edge – it can improve efficiency, help with tracking of numbers and even allow for creative collaboration. So what if you can’t afford the latest Microsoft Office Suite or Photoshop? You should consider a free open source software solution!
As part of the American Express OPEN Forum, Mashable regularly contributes articles on how social media and technology can be leveraged by small businesses (I read the articles through Mashable). The latest one focused on free open source software alternatives for small businesses. In it they highlight great alternatives to Microsoft Office, Photoshop, proprietary email systems, and even full operating systems. I really enjoyed playing with GIMP, the free software for graphic designing that allows you to do almost everything you would with Photoshop – and certainly more than most small businesses would need. GNUCash also seems to have a lot of great features for your accounting needs.
As noted in the article, the great thing about free software options are they are free! You can try them out with no risk and see if they work for your business. And if they do, well you just saved some money. I certainly would welcome our IT department exploring some of these options (I was recently very annoyed with one of our proprietary vendors when the software agreement we had with them wouldn’t cover software for Macs!). Definitely take a look at the article and see if any of the open source solutions might work for you. Let me know any recommendations you may have for free software solutions.