Software can be expensive if you’re running a small business from home.
A good example is Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook (and sometimes a few other programs thrown in). Bought from the Microsfot Office website, the Home and Student version of Office 2007 costs £99.99, but you cannot use it in ‘business situations’. The standard version costs £349.99 if buying from scratch and £249.99 if you’re upgrading from an earlier version.
The good news that you can get very similar software for free – check out Open Office. As an ex-Microsoft Office trainer, I didn’t look at Open Office for years. I’d spent so long learning MS Office to the advanced level, I couldn’t face learning new Office software. But if you’re a regular Word, Excel or PowerPoint user, Open Office will look very familiar indeed. A few minutes exploring should be all the training you need. If you’re worried about the files being compatible with Microsoft Office – say, you need to send a spreadsheet to your accountant who only has Excel – don’t be. Open Office can cope with MS Office file formats.
It’s amazing that we all go out and pay hundreds of pounds for software we could (effectively) get for free, but I guess that’s the power of Microsoft.
There’s a lot of open source software out there – the blog software I use, WordPress, is open source and doesn’t cost me a penny. If you’re thinking about buying new software, it’s well worth Googling to see if there’s an open source equivalent. You could save a heck of a lot of money.