Helpful Resources

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As small business owners, it’s good to have a list of good business tools and resources. The following links are free or very low cost!

Note: Standard disclaimer, while the resources listed here are well known and used by many with out issues, use of anything listed is always your responsibility and at your own risk. Just be safe, always have backups of your computer’s data, and take a little time to research as needed. 

Software

A note about Open Source Software, it’s often as good if not better than many commercial options out there. Often supported by hundreds, if not thousands of programers around the world. These packages will often run on Windows, Mac and Linux giving you the ability to use on any and all of your platforms!

Another big advantage to Open Source Software is that it installs on your computer(s) and is always available. No dependance on Web / Cloud based services, and NO Subscriptions!

LibreOffice – Free / Open Source MS Office Compatible Suite

The GIMP – Free / Open Source Photo Editor with some Photoshop Compatibility

Avast Antivirus and Security Software – Free and Paid Versions (though the free is pretty good!)

 

Operating Systems

While Windows and MacOS are popular, Linux is a very viable and free option. While Linux may not be for everyone, there are some definite advantages. Not only is it free, it’s very stable and has come a long way over there years. There are various versions out there to select from. Linux performs very well and often can breath new life into older hardware.

Linux Mint – Relatively easy to install and use windows like environment

 

Web Based / Related Tools

DuckDuckGo – A search engine that doesn’t track you, collect or store your personal information and follow you around with ads!

Tor Browser – A web browser that offers completely private and anonymous web browsing with no tracking or collecting of your data over secure encrypted connection.  It’s not perfect and can be slow at times or confusing with other languages showing on some websites, but can keep your info totally private when used with DuckDuckGo. It’s like having a free VPN. This can be extremely helpful keeping your web surfing private as it should be. And it’s free for Windows, MacOS and Linux!

CyberGhost – A low cost VPN (Virtual Private Network). These provide major benefits for security. First, they hide your IP address and other information about you that makes it hard for scammers to steal your info. Second, they encrypt everything sent to and from your computer adding that much more security keeping your information private. All VPNs can slow your system down a bit, but appears to be minimal with CyberGhost. Your mileage may vary.

10to8 – Appointment Scheduling Software with a free version for small businesses!

Canva – Design projects for your website, social media and marketing.

HubspotA web based CRM (Customer Relationship Management Tool) with both free and paid plans. Keep contacts, track communication, email and more. 

 

Payment Solutions

There are many payment solutions out there allowing you to accept credit cards and on-line payments. Here’s some of the popular services. Yes they have fees, and yes you can get better rates on fees from other companies. However, businesses just starting out not doing enough business to justify the cost of a merchant account or other credit card processing company. With the following options, you can have your prices set high enough to cover the fees. Pay as you go fees to accept credit cards can save money in the long run and make more sense for small businesses.

PayPal – You’ve likely heard of them, they have many payment options

Square – You’ve most like heard of Square too. They have many options as well.

Education

Udemy – A great learning platform that has no initial or monthly costs to join. With over 155,000 courses, you purchase the course(s) you need for a one time cost and have lifetime access! Watch for their specials, $10 to $15 per course offerings are awesome.

The above is just a small fraction of software and services available. When you need something, search and check things out, read some reviews and find what you need.