It is not always exciting - but every plumbing business has to set a little aside for its IT budget: the computers, software and printers. Most businesses use Microsoft Word for typing up letters - but Microsoft Office also costs over US$400 per computer.
So if your business runs from a single computer or a small network, you may be pleased to learn that there is a brilliant alternative to Microsoft Office out there. It's called Openoffice.org and best of all it costs ABSOLUTELY NOTHING per computer. It's free.
Of course, many, many people and businesses already use it, but if you haven't heard of it yet then you could save quite a few dollars by investigating.
If you already own Microsoft Office, then of course stick with it. But if you don't, or are thinking of upgrading, then you can download Openoffice.org from their site here.
Two good reasons to stick with Microsoft Office: if you use Outlook 2003 (i.e. the full version, rather than Outlook Express) for organizing your diary, then Openoffice.org does not have an email program. (If you are looking for a good free email program (although it doesn't have a calendar), consider Mozilla Thunderbird). Another reason is if you use some of the more advanced features of Microsoft Office - but the truth is that most users don't.
Openoffice.org comes with an equivalent of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access (and more). It even has one great feature that Office (currently) doesn't - it can create pdfs without needing any extra software.
Think - if you run two or three computers in your office, you could even save US$800 - US$1200!
[And, of course - hint, hint, - invest that money into your marketing budget with a view to reaping even more! ]
If you use broadband - also be aware that Google recently purchased an online Word processor called Writely that they are going to open to the public - again for free. [Update: available now].
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