6 Free and Low-Cost Software Solutions for Techie Entrepreneurs

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Whether you’re going it solo or you’re the driving force behind a tech startup, you know that the software you choose is crucial.

Unfortunately, your budget likely dictates that you can’t go hog wild buying up the costliest software solutions out there. The good news is that there are many affordable (and even free) software solutions targeted towards entrepreneurs with tech leanings. It’s all about research and figuring out how to stretch your budget.

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Consider this a cheat sheet to some awesome software options for techie entrepreneurs. The right solutions can make your job easier, faster and better (all great things for a tech startup). Going without can be detrimental, especially considering that most startups fail in the first year. Why not stack the odds in your favor?

1. QuickBooks

Yes, it’s “basic” but unless you have it in the budget to have a full-fledged accounting team, you need to start your tech business with the right bookkeeping. Quickbooks is a staple for a reason, and non-profits even have their own option to play with. The initial fee might be a bit much, but remember that business software is a tax write off (actually, with Quickbooks, the software will remind you of that anyway).  If QuickBooks isn’t your style, there are also some great QuickBooks alternatives out there.

2. Spiceworks

This software is totally free and offers some of the best network monitoring and management out there. You’ll get a helpdesk for users, full equipment inventory and everything else you need to oversee anywhere from one to thousands of PCs. There’s also an iPhone feature to manage on the go, ensuring a streamlined IT tool.

3. Google Drive

Technically any good cloud technology will do the trick, but for easy file storage and sharing, Google Drive works with ease and offers enough free space for many techie startups. If you’re smart, you’ve got plenty of virtual workers in your company and that means your workers need to have access to files from anywhere at any time. Start with the right cloud technology software, and you can lower overhead, reduce double work and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

4. Stamps.com

It doesn’t matter if you’re not an e-commerce company because with running a tech business comes some very classic administrative tasks. With Stamps.com, you can print postage from anywhere and avoid making post office runs. It might seem like a small thing, but when you’re knee-deep in wooing investors or grant proposals, every ounce of elbow grease and every penny counts.

5. Microsoft Office

Again, you’re probably so used to having Office that you’ve totally forgotten how powerful and important it is. Just make sure you have the latest (or your preferred) version of the whole suite. From putting together presentations to record keeping, it’s the staple for any tech business well before those high-end software suites that only a few employees can use.

6. Adobe Acrobat

As techies, you live for PDFs (not .docx’s), and don’t forget about the free Reader software, too. Unlike other types of businesses, your work has a bit more permanency attached to it.

Don’t underestimate the power and quality of free. When it comes to software, all’s fair in pricing and user friendliness.

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Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Google Hangouts should be on this list, best free video conferencing I ever used!

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