In today’s digital world having the right software can make or break your business. While there are many thousands of programs available, only a small fraction of them are really worth your time and money. If you’re at the start of your business journey, you absolutely must download some (or all) of the following five programs.
1. Microsoft Office
It may be the old school dinosaur, but Microsoft Office is still the gold standard in the software department. Even freeware, such as OpenOffice, can’t survive without the ability to export documents in the Microsoft format. The whole desktop suite can be purchased for a flat fee or on a subscription basis, and allows installs on up to five computers and five mobile devices. As it’s the most important program in your toolkit, formal Microsoft Office training can be invaluable if you really want to get the most out of it.
2. Apache OpenOffice
If you can’t afford Microsoft Office, Apache OpenOffice is the next best thing as it allows you to read and write Microsoft Office files – although the formatting doesn’t always work properly. While it doesn’t boast many features or have web-based cloud functions, it’s free to download, easy to use, and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux systems. The entire suite comes with a word processor and spreadsheet program.
Every small business needs a logo, website, and collection of offline marketing materials. As a business owner you have two options: outsource to a professional or make them yourself. Granted, learning Photoshop is no easy feat; however, if you plan on updating your website and graphics on a regular basis, having somebody on your team who can do everything in-house will save you a great deal of money in the long run. Alternatively, if you can’t afford the license fee, you could also download GIMP (the open source equivalent).
Having a program that allows you to keep leads and customers separate can be very helpful. Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that allows you to keep tabs on your sales funnel and how close your leads are to buying. It provides a complete history of each customer, along with their “position” in the sales process and what steps you’ll need to take next.
5. BitDefender, Kaspersky Or Norton
It’s more important than ever to take digital security seriously. Over the past few years we’ve seen just how vulnerable the digital sphere can be. One of the problems is that businesses don’t take security seriously until it’s too late. Don’t make this mistake and get yourself a decent virus checker. BitDefender, Kaspersky and Norton are generally considered to be the best; however, AVG also provides an excellent free alternative.
There are plenty of other business-oriented tools on the market that will make your operation run smoother: Slack is perfect for team projects, UpWork is great for hiring freelancers, and Trello can be very helpful if you want to implement a business plan.