Free resources for small businesses are few and far between, especially quality resources that help you be more productive and efficient! The current economy is tough, and most small businesses are looking for ways to save money, so when we read about these free tools, we wanted to make sure and share them with you so you had an opportunity to utilize them in your small business.
1. Google Apps for Business. Google Apps for Business was created especially for small businesses with less than 50 employees, and it’s absolutely free. The Google Apps for Business umbrella offers email with your company’s domain name, a private Google Docs system, and your own Google calendar system. It takes almost zero configuration and maintenance, and you don’t need your own mail server.
2. Dropbox. We’ve talked about Dropbox before (see 5 Great iPhone Apps for Small Business) but it’s worth mentioning again for use with your small business PCs. It’s a synch and back-up tool that uses the cloud to remotely store your files. The file storage limitation for the free version is 2BG per user, which is enough for hundreds of modest office docs. If you create a lot of large presentations or have a lot of large media files, you may have to bump up to the paid version, which is 50GB for $10/month.
3. Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft Security Essentials is a great, free anti-virus tool for small businesses. Free antivirus tools for businesses are rare, and this one is free for up to 10 computers in your small business.
4. Linux. Using Linux for your small business’s file servers eliminates the need to pay for expensive Windows Server licenses. Ubuntu is the most popular form of Linux, and installation is free for an unlimited number of client computers. In addition, support for Ubuntu is abundant, so it’s easy to find answers if you have any issues. If you’re wary or lack experience in IT, there’s lots of free documentation to help you get started, or you can hire a freelancer pretty inexpensively to set it up for you.
5. Go-OO office suite. OpenOffice.org is an open source (free) office suite. It supports Microsoft’s XML-based file format, which makes it a great choice for your small business if you’re not a heavy user of office suite applications. It’s definitely the best free office suite currently available!
(Source: 5 Awesome Free Tools for Small Businesses, PC World)