If you are now entering into business for the first time, there are many software tools available out there, both paid and free, that could prove priceless to you, in terms of their usefulness. Even if you already an established business person, you may not be aware of some of the tools out there – and there are absolutely mountains of them – the problem is cutting the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
Below, we make this task somewhat easier for you, allowing you to just get on with your business, not having to worry about the possibility that there might be something better or more functional out there.
Office tools, such as a Word Processor & Spreadsheet application, are pretty much essentials these days in business. And the chances are, if you have purchased a Windows machine, these may be preloaded with trial versions, allowing you access for a limited time, before you need to purchase a key to unlock access on a more permanent basis. However, this can be pretty costly, and with Microsoft looking to move to subscription basis, charging monthly, is another bill to be concerned with every month. Thankfully, there are several open source alternatives available out there, the best of which is likely OpenOffice. Compatible with pretty much every file type you can imagine, OpenOffice Is every bit as functional as Microsoft’s suite of Office tools. The learning curve is not too severe, and after an hours use or so, you will be entirely familiar with the layout.
Honorable mentions – LibreOffice, WPS Office (also on mobile)
Another absolute essential tool in modern day business is email. And again, odds are that you will have MSOutlook built in to your PCs upon purchase. However, if you are not very tech savvy, this program can be pretty finicky to get set up correctly, for best use. There are a massive amount of free alternatives out there, many of which are easier to use than MS Outlook. One of which is Thunderbird, from Mozilla. Fully customisable, and amazingly easy to set up, Thunderbird is one of the best email clients out there, and best of all, it is free to download.
Honorable mentions – eM Client, Claws Mail
One thing that is very important to get right in your business is the payroll, as you sure don’t want upset employees! And not to mention the tax implications that may arise also. There really is no “best” software out there when it comes to these kinds of packages, as it really depends on your business size. So for example, if you are operating quite a large company, with a lot of employees, then something like Ultipro might be best. This package is quite pricey however. If you have a smaller business, then something such as Patriot Payroll may be better suited. It is recommended that you incur the expense of a payroll package, rather than seeking out a free service though, as you will have the benefit of free customer support, should anything go wrong while using the package. That in itself is invaluable, for the peace of mind alone.
Honorable Mentions – Gusto, APS
Productivity / Delegation:
If you are responsible for delegating workflow to your staff, then there can be no better tool available to you then Trello. It’s card & label based system couldn’t be any easier to use. And the fact that there are mobile apps available, and is entirely free, are all huge plusses. Trello enables you to delegate out work to your staff, provide instructions, communicate directly with the staff, monitor progress and completion of tasks, and much more. And the fact that you can access the “board” for each staff member, remotely or while out of the business premises is an amazing feat for something that is entirely free.
Honorable Mentions – LibreBoard, Aha!
Your best bet is, no matter what you require software wise, just put the name of the application into Google, and type Open Source after it. This way, you will discover a massive wealth of free alternatives to paid applications or programs!