FREE Useful Software for Small Businesses

November 9, 2010 in Technical by Youssef Kassab

Software IconIn their daily operations small businesses use a variety of software applications. Text editors, spreadsheets, presentations, email, anti-virus, accounting software, Customer Relationship Management, collaboration tools and development tools are mainly used and buying all those tools can be quite expensive for small businesses. In this article I will list some good and free useful software applications that you can use as alternatives for other expensive software utilities.

You will find here a collection of free software tools from different software categories.

  • Office Suite:
    • OpenOffice is a software suite that contains full-function word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, illustrator, database and mathematical equation creator modules. If you don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a competing product, Open Office is a viable option. It can run on Windows, MacOS and Linux.
    • Google Docs is Google’s web based office suite offers online shared word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. Upload or e-mail your current documents for storage and editing.
  • PDF Creation:
    • PrimoPDF is a free software that lets you convert any document into a PDF file. It runs on Windows
  • Antivirus / Firewall:
    • AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
      AVG scans files on demand, upon access, on a schedule, and in e-mail. Its rescue disks will help you recover from disaster. It runs on Windows.
    • SmoothWall Express
      A Linux based firewall. It only needs a PC running a Pentium 200 MHz or higher with 128MB of RAM and 2 network cards to become a dedicated network firewall.
  • Customer Relationship Management:
    • vTiger CRM & Sugar CRM both are Open Source web based customer relationship management utility.
  • File Sharing / Backup
    • Dropbox is a web based service that will let you store up to 2.5 GB of data for free. The data can be accessed from multiple computers and devices and it will be fully synchronized.
  • Communication:
    • Gmail: A mail service by Google, it provides you with a huge e-mail storage space. Businesses can with a small amount of money use their own domain names with Google Apps. It has advanced search options and many advanced features.
    • Thunderbird is Mozilla’s e-mail client. It is extensible, fast, and easy to master. And a wealth of free add-ons means there’s not much this program won’t do, from calendars to encryption.
    • Skype provides easy calls and video-conferencing for nothing. You will pay for calling phones. It works with Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
  • Virtualization:
    • Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 will let you install anything-DOS, OS/2, or any earlier version of Windows-as a virtual machine. It’ll run in a separate window on your desktop.
  • Photo Editing:
    • GIMP
      The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) does most of what Photoshop does. It works with Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
  • Programming:
    • KompoZer is a full WYSIWYG Web-page authoring tool. It integrates an FTP site manager for file uploads. It works with Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
    • Notepad++ handles text–especially source code-in ways the basic Windows Notepad could only dream of, with embellishments like tabs and color coding. It runs on Windows.
    • FileZilla is at the same time an FTP client and Server. It lets you access multiple sites and has convenient drag-and-drop support.

In addition to this list Microsoft has an exciting program designed to provide early stage Start-ups with software, support and visibility for free for 3 years. Click here for more information about the BizSpark program.

Do you use any free software utilities for your business? How much do you spend yearly on software purchase?