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Essential Free Small Business Software
Having a home business, or work from home job, means that your PC will need to be packed with functionality to help facilitate day-to-day tasks.
Fortunately, there is plenty of great free software that can help you do everything from zipping and unzipping files, to reading Adobe documents, chatting and messaging people online and protecting yourself with anti-virus.
Bear in mind that, in many cases, online/cloud services now provide free accounts that do a better job than expensive software downloads (or hard copies bought from a store).
7-Zip is a free (no payment or registration required) utility that can archive and compress files and folders as well as unzip them using a range of formats - like Windows' .zip, and the superior .tar.gz, and it's own high compression .7z format.
Because 7-Zip can handle multiple compression algorithms its perfect for anyone who works on a windows PC but runs a website (which most likely runs on a Linux server).
Skype provides free online conversations and instant messaging, file sharing, video sharing, conference calling and VoIP to land-line calls.
If you're tired of paying phone bills then switch to Skype. Anyone who has earphones, a mic and an Internet connection can use Skype to make personal or business calls anywhere in the world for free.
Avast offers a free trial of their antivrius software for 30 days. After that time you can choose to extend your free usage period or upgrade to their full, paid protection plan.
I have been using Avast free antivirus for years and noted that on more than a few occasions they were ahead of the bigger names like Norton and Symantec (who I vowed never to use again because they are as bad as malware when trying to uninstall).
Thunderbird is a modern, easy to use email client that will have you sending and receiving email in no time on virtually any platform you can imagine - Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.
It comes with a wide range of features that you would expect from any top-of-the-line software, and is comparable to Microsoft Outlook. But, because Thunderbird is made by Mozilla, it is completely free for public use - no registration, and no fees.
OpenOffice is open source's answer to Microsoft Office, which used to be bundled free with Windows, but now costs a small fortune to install separately.
Obviously OpenOffice is doing something right because they have hit the not insubstantial number of one hundred million downloads to date. In many areas, OpenOffice actually offers better functionality than its paid competitors and you should have no trouble learning your way around it.
Adobe Reader is an essential free utility for reading (but not creating) PDF documents. PDF is a widespread document format that is common online (if you do any work online, you'll need a PDF reader).
If you need to create PDFs, make use of OpenOffice's Writer (the equivalent of Microsoft's WORD), which has a convenient export to PDF button that generates a PDF from your document.
Dropbox (Cloud sharing & storage)
Dropbox is a free, cloud based application that allows you to store, share and synchronize files online.
It replicates a specified folder on your own PC into a folder held in the cloud. This folder can then be shared with other people who can also view and change stuff. These changes then reflect on your own file system.
Super useful for collaborating or sharing documents with virtual employees and employers. Think along the lines of never losing your presentation, even when you lose the flash-drive it's stored on.
Chrome (Web browser)
Google's Chrome browser has risen to become the most dominant PC browser on the planet. It did this by being fast, and easy to use while rendering Webpages elegantly.
I personally use both Chrome and FireFox because I like to test Website design and development work on a variety of browsers, but I find that Chrome handles responsive design better, which is the clincher for me.
So there's my list of absolute must-have free software - stuff that I couldn't live without in the day to day running of my businesses.
What other free software do you use? Share your tip and suggestions in the comments below.
Despite spending most of my time working on my own startups, I find myself drawn to reading about what other people are up to, or making use of - whether it
Organic search traffic from Google is so valuable that many businesses come to rely on it as their primary source of income.
And while it may seem that the sun will never set on high converting organic traffic from the search giant, you might want to think about what would happen to your enterprise if the flow dried up.
I've experienced both the frustration and despair of losing Google traffic to an unknown and unexplained penalty (only large, important businesses get the information they need to recover in a matter of days or weeks), but have also seen how other companies have thrived without Google entirely.
Small retail businesses and eCommerce sites need to consistently choose the best products to sell in order to maximize their profits.
But trying to find this information is not always easy, and there are plenty of "silver bullet" sites (and con men) that will try to make a profit by advising you to stock products that give them commission.
It's far better to be able to do your own research into which products offer the best value for money for your own customers and clients. After all, you know your business best.
Having access to a great tool like Google Trends means that it is easy to keep an eye on how important brands and
A cash flow statement usually includes money flowing in and out of a company, but this article is full of ideas and tips to get more money flowing in.
Because cash is king for all entrepreneurs, SME/SMBs, and home based ventures, it is crucial that you can generate as much revenue as possible, as early as possible.
This article will look at a very simple sales forecast and provide plenty of great sales strategies, ideas and advice for you to incorporate into your own plans.
In case you haven't already heard, there's a little kitty out there with feline dwarfism that earns more than you do.
Grumpy cat, according to Wikipedia, seems to be raking in millions of dollars, and this might strike you as odd given how difficult it is to start a successful enterprise these days.
Here are some great ideas that incorporate free stuff (products and services) in order to generate trust, improve revenue and grow your business.
Most consumers like getting free stuff (especially online consumers), so giving away a valuable free offering can help to drive traffic, generate buzz, earn trust, and make money.
This article will give you five great ideas for free product and service offerings that you can integrate into an existing organization or use to help grow a startup.
Bookkeeping, taxes, accounting, and a host of other financial and administrative tasks are vital to keep your small business running smoothly and profitably
The SBA (Small Business Administration) is a United States government department tasked with supporting and nurtur
Crowdfunding is a relatively novel way for startups and entrepreneurs to raise money to support their fledgling companies - and sometimes it actually works.
Recently I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting between my startup and one of the largest logistics companies in the country - so that we could pitch our new service.
The size of this client would almost be sufficient to reach sustainability and profitability in one go. Obviously landing a whale in your first pitch as a new startup is the ultimate dream come true, but it can be hard to turn it into reality.
The meeting went ok, but there were some hard lessons learned about how to pitch big corporate clients that my partners and I took away from the experience.