This article is about the top 10 best free and open-source software for small businesses.
When starting a business, you will undoubtedly be concerned about the costs involved. What would the payroll cost? What will the rent be on your business space? What is the IRS’s cut?
You may not understand the costs of having your business’s technology up and running at first. These, however, can quickly add up – and even with an email provider in place, there are still other packages to buy, such as communication and accounting software.
To help you save money, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten free software solutions for small businesses.
Whatever your industry, effective communication among team members is almost certainly critical to the smooth operation of your company. Slack, an online communication tool, allows you to try its services for free for an unlimited period. If you use this software, you can organize your team messages into channels, allowing those working on a specific project to communicate more effectively.
The free plan gives you access to 10,000 of your team’s most recent messages. Other benefits include unlimited one-on-one voice and video calls for individuals, as well as 10 integrations with other applications such as Google Drive and Office 365.
If you want access to more functionality, you can upgrade to one of the company’s paid plans, which offer services such as group video and voice calls.
If you’re juggling numerous projects across your company, you could improve your efficiency with project management software Restyaboard. Based on the Japanese model of Kanban management, Restyaboard uses virtual boards that enable you to visualize your progress on key projects and then decide on your next steps. The most common analogy used to describe the software is a whiteboard covered in Post-It notes.
You can also assign tasks, establish timelines, create calendars, and view metrics. Once you’ve created a new task, every aspect of the task can be managed, tracked, and shared with other members of your team.
Another point in Restya’s favor is that the software has integrations with apps such as Confluence, Slack, Dropbox, and Evernote.
While the term “spamming” evokes a sense of dread in most legitimate business owners, email marketing can still be vital to the success of many businesses.
Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform and email marketing service based in the United States. Using the free version, You will have access to many features, including one-step automation, which will deliver messages to your customers based on who they are and how they communicate with your business.
You can send messages to a single audience of up to 2,000 contacts with this version. While these figures are likely to be sufficient for many small businesses, you can raise them by upgrading to one of the company’s paid plans.
With the rise of remote working, it is important that you choose the best video conferencing platform for your company’s needs. Even though many competitors have appeared in recent years, Skype’s free plan remains one of the most attractive on the market. In addition to one-on-one chats, the app allows group video calls of up to 100 users.
A major advantage here is that you don’t need to download an app to use the service, and can do so through your browser.
For many small business owners, invoicing is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the accounting process. Using the free version of Wave’s customizable software, you can create an unlimited number of invoices in any currency.
You can also view your customer transaction history, set up invoice notifications to email your customers when payments are due, and track sales tax. Another attractive feature of the software is the ability to set up annual billing for repeat customers, which could significantly minimize the amount of time you spend chasing down payments.
If your business requires a website (which it almost certainly will in the digital age), Wix’s free website-building tools will come in handy. The software, which operates through a simple drag-and-drop interface, allows you to add key elements to your site without any knowledge of coding, making the process much less complicated for beginners.
If you want a simple website, the company offers hundreds of free design templates. However, bear in mind that the free version will automatically view Wix advertisements on your company’s website.
If you’re a fan of traditional Microsoft Office packages like Word, Powerpoint, and Excel but don’t want to pay for them, LibreOffice is a good free alternative.
Its main services are Writer (word processing), Impress (presentations), Calc (spreadsheets), Base (database), and Draw (vector diagrams). As the successor to OpenOffice, LibreOffice is compatible with a range of document formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
Whatever your organization’s size or industry, sending and receiving email is likely to be at the heart of your operation. While it is less well-known than some of its competitors, the free email app Thunderbird is likely to provide all of the features you require to manage email communications across your business.
It has a mail account setup wizard, a quick filter toolbar, tabbed email, smart folders, and an add-ons manager as its main features. You can also add people to your contact list with a single click by clicking on an icon next to their name when they send you a message.
If you’re sharing large documents, you can also speed up the transfer by uploading these to an online storage provider and sharing the link.
Also, read 10 Tools to start a Small Business
Duplicati, an open-source backup software, allows you to back up files and folders using solid AES-256 encryption. It will also save space on your network by performing incremental backups and removing duplicate data.
If you use Duplicati, you can perform updates through the web-based interface or the command-line interface. The software is configured through a web interface that runs in any browser and can therefore be accessed from any location.
Duplicati is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.
Smart HR software Freshteam provides services such as applicant tracking, onboarding, and time-off management. The company’s Sprouts plan is free for up to 50 employees and provides a dedicated recruiting team inbox, a basic careers site, and an employee directory.
If you’re not sure if Freshteam is right for your business or have questions over which plan to use, the company provides a free demo of its services. The free plan is also available as iOS and Android mobile apps.
While you’ll probably never reduce software costs across your business to zero, the open-source apps listed here can at least help you make significant savings.
Remember to pay close attention to licensing when selecting free software for your small businesses, as you could put yourself at legal risk if you choose a tool that isn’t certified for professional use.