8 Great Free Business Softwares

Buying software is a significant outlay for any business. Licences for the Microsoft Office or Adobe suites add up to a pretty penny. There are free alternatives to most software types and some of them are very good indeed.

Now, you can't expect them to exactly duplicate a software made by someone else, with all the little features you're used to, but you may be surprised at how essential they become, once you get used to the different interfaces.

Three things to keep in mind about these softwares:

1. Save your file in the oldest file format which contains all the features you need e.g. Excel '95.

This will mean anyone, even a Mac user, can open your file. Leading software companies like to develop away from common standards so you have to use their software and only their software.

Saving in an older format lets other manufacturers 'keep up' and obeys the first rule of engineering "KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid!"

2. You can download them anywhere and get them running without a licence. This is super-handy when you're on the road or in an unfamiliar office.

3. They're free (mostly)!

Here they are:

OpenOffice http://www.openoffice.org/
A free alternative to the Microsoft Office suite.

GNUCash http://www.gnucash.org/
GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software available for Mac, Linux and Windows.

Mailchimp http://mailchimp.com/
A mass-emailing service. Free for lists of up to 2000 subscribers.

Skype http://www.skype.com/en/
A monthly subscription lets you call landlines free in many countries. You can buy local telephone numbers.

You need a good headset, broadband and a decent soundcard to get a professional sound-quality. These are small outlays when offset against a very useful telephony service.

Filezilla https://filezilla-project.org/
A rather handy FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client. You use it to upload and download files to your web space. You can also edit HTML and PHP files with it.

Gimp http://www.gimp.org/
A great graphics-editor alternative to Adobe Photoshop

Kompozer http://www.kompozer.net/
A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor. Handy for creating tricky HTML like tables on the fly.

LiveZilla http://www.livezilla.net/home/en/
An online chat client for your website. This lets you engage potential customers immediately.

Thunderbird http://www.mozilla.org/en-GB/thunderbird/
A worthwhile email-client alternative to Microsoft Outlook.

Notepad++ http://notepad-plus-plus.org/
This is a great free text editor. For when you just want the words and the code and nothing else.

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