As a small business owner I am constantly pursuing the “bottom line”. It’s a simple formula, really. Just increase sales while decreasing expenses, right? Easier said than done I’m afraid. The fact is that most production costs like fuel, rent, internet access, insurance, etc, continue to rise and don’t show signs of slowing any time soon. That means I’ve got to be downright cagey in conserving every dime I can, where I can.
So, when I upgraded to a new computer I went with the most performance for the lowest cost. That meant no frills, especially where software is concerned. Manufacturers want an arm and a leg to pre-install software bundles on your new machine. Even if you’re a little more technologically savvy and purchase and install software yourself, Microsoft Office Standard is like four hundred bucks, and you still have anti-virus and other vital software to shell out for. What’s an entrepreneur to do?
I’m fortunate enough to know a few people who work in the tech sector and are a lot more knowledgeable than myself on the subject of personal computing. When I told one of my tech-head friends I was looking for a less expensive software solution he told me to check out Open Office software.
He sent me to this site where they have an Open Office software suite available for download, bundled with a free anti-virus suite! I tried it out and I’ve been very impressed with what I got for my dollar. The open office programs have all the same features as their Microsoft counterparts, as well as a few advantages unique to Open Office.
The bundle includes a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a database, a program for creating multi-media presentations, and a drawing program.
I haven’t got to spend a whole lot of time with the presentation program, Impress, but it interfaces nicely and seems to be able to create anything I will need for a great sales presentation. Draw, the graphics program, is great and creates artwork in bitmap, GIF, JPEG, and a couple other formats I’ve never even heard of. Most important to me though have been the word processor, called Write, and the spreadsheet, Calc.
Write has all the features, there’s nothing missing. It also has its own helpful options like auto correct and auto complete, and it can create documents in open document format, a file format developed by an industry consortium to be the new standard in compatibility. In addition it can read and edit my old Word documents, as well as create new ones. It can also create .pdf files.
Calc shares the same virtues as its word processing counterpart, with the abilities to read and write existing Excel docs. This is huge for me because almost all of my payroll, invoicing, and expense tracking are kept on custom made spreadsheets I built myself, and the ability to keep the data I have and continue my book keeping without starting over is crucial. I also love the natural language formula feature. It allows the creation of formulas using actual words like “sales-costs”. It’s really slick and saves me a ton of time.
Now if you’ve done your homework or have a background in computers you know that Open Office software is open source code software, meaning essentially that it’s free. So why pay for software that can be gotten for nothing? Well the answer lies in the extra features, bonus software and support provided in this Open Office suite. At under $50 dollars for the whole Open Office software bundle, the anti-virus suite alone makes it worth the cost. Also included is one whole year of free technical support, which is important for the less technically inclined, such as me.
Open Office is a Free Microsoft Office alternative but with a small fee you can get an entire Office Software Suite packaged with everything you need for your school or small business computing including an anti-virus program. Try http://www.OfficeSoftwareSuite.com
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