Business software can be ridiculously expensive, especially if you use several computers and need a license for each one. Some businesses try to get round this by using illegal copies, but the financial consequences can be huge if you are caught doing this.
There is another option. Instead of paying premium prices for software that your business needs, opt for an alternative option. Your business will still run efficiently, and you can use the cash you save to help your business to grow.
Alternatives to Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is expensive, especially if your business needs all the options included in the full suite. But you don’t need to pay a fortune for this everyday business software. Consider Open Office, which is a free online alternative to Microsoft Office: www.openoffice.org
Google Docs is another great option. In fact Google Docs can often work better than Microsoft Office, if you are working on a large project with other people. Everything is stored in cloud, and your team can access your documents, see what you have been working on and make any changes or additions.
Free CRM Systems
Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) can be expensive, but they are essential as your business grows. Don’t be put off by high price tags though. ZohoCRM has an excellent free edition that you can begin with, and once your business begins to grow, you can move onto their paid version at a relatively low cost. For more details check out:http://www.zoho.com/crm
It is much easier to do your business accounts on computer, instead of manually, once you get the hang of the software. Plus it can keep your accountant’s fees down. But software like Sage is expensive in the early stages of your business. In addition to the cost of the software you have to continually pay for their updates. Also the system isn’t simple to learn and you have to pay an additional fee for their online training.
GnuCash is a free open source accounting system that is ideal for small businesses. It is simple to use and it comes with a huge range of features including reporting, payroll and invoice management. You can find more details at: http://www.gnucash.org/
If you want a simple website for your business but you can’t afford to pay someone to design it for you, Weebly will get you off to a great start. They offer a free version that helps you to create a basic website and you can upgrade to a better version as your business grows. Having a basic website is way better than not having one at all. You can try it out at: http://www.weebly.com