Alternative Software: A Guide to Ditching Commercial Business Software

Starting a small business, no matter your industry is an expensive venture. The average cost of a startup for a small business will run between $2,000 to $5,000. This includes all your standard overhead costs like building rent and utilities.

One cost of the startup process that all businesses include, but few consider, is the cost of licensing professional software.

Think about it. Whether you work as a creative or standard business pro, the Microsoft Office and Adobe Suites are expensive. So, if you want to reduce your costs, finding alternative software is a necessity.

Our guide will show you amazing free and open-source options that will save your business money.

Alternative Software for Microsoft Office

The Microsoft 365 (once Microsoft Office) Suite is a titan in small business software. It’s dominated the scene since the very beginning.

In that time, many open-source software alternatives have become available. A list of these alternatives, their benefits, and drawbacks lie below:

  • Apache OpenOffice (also known as OpenOffice) functions like Microsoft Office but has been discontinued
  • LibreOffice is a lightweight office software suite alternative but lacks cloud support
  • FreeOffice most resembles Microsoft’s function and design, but like others, lacks built-in cloud support
  • Thunderbird and Lightning in concert offer an email and calendar alternative to Microsoft Outlook

There’s one issue with many of these open-source alternatives to Microsoft’s commercial software. They lack cloud support.

If your business requires cloud-based tools to function, you’re not out of luck. You can work with the Google ecosystem for free as well.

Alternative Software for CRM, Invoices, and More

Whether you need to draft invoices, track customer metrics, or create paystubs for your employees, you can find open-source alternatives to small business software.

TurboCASH offers a free, open-source option over QuickBooks. SugarCRM gives you free CRM management tools. SimpleInvoices will let you save over Freshbooks.

Do your own research. You’ll find plenty of free or low-cost open-source options for your business management needs.

Alternative Software for the Adobe Suite

If your business is more creative, you’re not out of luck. There are plenty of alternative software options for the Adobe Suite.

GIMP and Krita are among the best in their class for digital art software. Audacity and Shotcut are free, open-source alternatives to Audition and Premiere. (Although they may not be as full-featured.)

It doesn’t matter what type of creative business you run. You’ll be able to find open-source software that will suit your needs.

Let’s Recap

Commercial software licensing costs for small business software can be expensive. Fortunately, there are loads of alternative software options available to you for free if you take the time to search for them. This will save your business money in its early stages, and set you up for later success.

If you enjoyed this article about business software alternatives, check out our blog daily for the latest business and tech news!

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