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How to Run Your Small Business with Free Open Source Software

Businesses can take advantage of the vast open source software that is available for download for free. The major setback for this software is lack of support though it can be sought at a fee from the author or third parties. The support for free software is also readily available on the commercially licensed versions of the software. There are various options that make it possible for businesses to run on free software. They include:

Office productivity Suites from Open Source

The Microsoft office can easily be substituted with the open source software available at no fee, thus making financial savings for the business. Even if one was to use the Microsoft Office software, support from Microsoft would not be necessarily required. Only a few companies get such support from Microsoft. Therefore, when a business acquires a free software that pretty much works the same as a Microsoft Office, it can work without requiring day-to-day help from the authors of free software. Though the open software suites don’t have as comprehensive features as other proprietary software, the features available are sufficient for running a business. In fact, most users don’t make full use of all the features available on the proprietary software.

Accounting Applications from Free Software

The open source applications provide good alternatives to the existing commercial packages. For instance, the GnuCash has lifted the workings of the small businesses by helping them in applying principles of accounting. This ensures that the businesses balance their books professionally and are able to make reconciliations with the bank accounts. It helps the businesses, particularly the small businesses to make accurate financial reports.

Businesses that sell their products online can also get support from the open software by using the available open source e-commerce tools. The tools have all the features that support the end-to-end process of the e-commerce business. That is, from the presentation of the products, the shopping carts, checking out and making payments for the goods selected. Examples of such tools are the OpenCart and Prestashop.

Open source software is also available for the customer relationship management.

There are good alternatives to the Oracle system and which are widely used by most companies. The alternatives to this widely used software include SugarCRM Community Edition and OpenCRX. These softwares have the capability for full automation of the sales force. The software comes a long way in improving the relationship between the business and the partners, customers, suppliers and the intermediaries. This is a good alternative for small and medium-size businesses as it saves a lot on their expenses while at the same time enjoying the benefits enjoyed by users of the similar but proprietary software.