Every business, even the big shots like Apple and Microsoft, all had to start somewhere. Dove Computer Solutions are a small company, and we understand how stressful and costly it can be when starting out, so any saving is a big saving. That’s why we have compiled a guide to help you save money without sacrificing quality where it matters, on your business software.
Every penny counts for a new business
When it comes to starting up your own business, one of the first and most vital tasks is to set up your business’s IT systems, meaning you need all the necessary software to run your business. But the cost of even the most basic software needed for any business, before you have even considered any specialist software that may be key to your field, the cost can shoot sky high.
Typically a standard business would need at least Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Microsoft Outlook (email, contact manager, calendar). Then there is the accounting software and a customer relationship management (CRM) system that can keep track of your customers, prospects and sales pipeline. This software alone would amount to over £2,000, then add on the cost of the PCs you already had to purchase to run the software on, and any installations, maintenance and upgrade costs you may incur. Looking pretty steep isn’t it?
The good news is there are plenty of cheap and in some cases free alternatives to the conventional and expensive software, ideal for avoiding some of the major costs of a business start up.
Office 365 cloud services can be a cheap alternative to Microsoft Office Software
There are various web apps, sometimes refereed to as cloud services, that are a cheap and hassle free alternative to the usual purchase of software on a CD. Rather than having to buy the CD, and run it on your PCs, Macs or business severs, etc to install it you can use applications that are delivered over the web. The product vender hosts all the applications and data on their servers meaning there is no need for software installation and maintenance, you simply access the system via your web browser, and the product’s vendor handles all the updates and backups. These systems are ideal for new start ups as they allow you to pay a monthly fee for their use, which can be cancelled at any given moment, and saves paying a large lump sum up front for software. Some of the recommended web apps are Office 365 to replace Microsoft Office (email, word processing, and spreadsheets) and KashFlow Accounting for bookkeeping.
Mozilla Firefox Web Browser is a popular open source alternative
Open source software products are those developed by a community of programmers and then offered free to the world, with the option to donate to them to aid the cause and help with the creation of updates and more open source software. There are many of these types of products that are very technical and require a high level of competence to use and get the most out of, such as Linux operating system designed as an alternative to Windows, and MySQL database application that’s a free alternative to Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server. There is also plenty of less technical free software available out there, Open Office, an alternative to Microsoft Office, which is easy to download and use, as well as the FireFox alternative web browser and Thunderbird alternative email client, which are popular offerings from the Mozilla foundation.
Dropbox is a popular 'freemium' product
Freemium products can be very useful for business start ups as they offer free basic version software with a choice to upgrade to the premium version at any time. They are worthwhile as they have no time limits, unlike free trials, and mean if you do decide to purchase the premium version if your needs grow and alter, you have already sampled the software before you buy. In many cases there is no need to ever upgrade to the premium, as the basic software covers all the needs of the business. Recommended freemium products to consider include DropBox for file back-up, access and sharing, Really Simple Systems for CRM and Skype for video calling and instant messaging.
Dove Computer Solutions offer business security from people they trust, such as Sonic Wall and MessageLabs
As your business grows and your needs start to exceed those available to you through free and cheap software, you can then look into creating a tailored made business software package at Dove Computer Solutions. If you find you need a business server, Dove Computer Solutions offer honest prices for small businesses, and can also help you find the right level security to protect your data and your client’s data at a reasonable cost that will fit easily into your new start up budget.
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