Top 8 Open-Source Solutions for Small Businesses

I think you will agree with me when I say: Running a business is not for the faint of heart. There are just too many things to handle at any given moment. 

As a small business, the challenges can only get tougher, especially with tight budgets you often have to labor under.

It’s precisely why it’s critically important to maintain the expected level of quality and functionality while keeping costs down. 

Many businesses fail during the formation stages. You don’t want your business to be part of these statistics, especially when you’re putting your best foot forward and working with limited resources. 

As a small business, you can forego expensive proprietary solutions in favor of open-source solutions. That way, you can save money and still deliver without running out of business. 

In today’s article, we will cover eight (8) open-source solutions for small businesses. We will touch on areas such as eCommerce, customer service, CMS, project management, and so on. 

Without further ado, let us start because there is a lot to learn.

Why Go Open Source?

As a small business owner, you might be wondering why you should consider open-source solutions for your business. Well, there are clear advantages of choosing open-source solutions over proprietary solutions. Here’s a quick list of the merits.

  •     For starters, open-source solutions are usually cheaper. Many open-source solutions are actually free. For example, the WordPress CMS is free but you must pay for hosting and perhaps a premium theme if you don’t want to use free themes.
  •     Secondly, open-source solutions have large communities of contributors. As such, you can expect to find software that is more secure than proprietary solutions.
  •     On top of that, open-source solutions are more transparent in their operations, because again, the products don’t belong to one entity, but to the entire community.

That being said, let us talk a little bit more about open-source solutions that are perfect for some of the most common business needs.

eCommerce

For many small businesses, running an eCommerce website is a no-brainer. It can be an extension of the brick-and-mortar store or the whole business.

If you’re a small business looking for an eCommerce solution, you probably already know that bespoke or proprietary solutions don’t come cheap.

What to do? For your eCommerce needs, you can choose open-source solutions such as WooCommerce and Zencart, among other website builders. 

The above solutions offer you powerful eCommerce features at a fraction of the price. Plus, they are incredibly easy to configure you don’t even need to hire an expensive developer to start. 

Ticketing Systems

The customer is always the king, and we all know that for a fact. A happy customer translates to more sales down the line, which is why you should strive your best to offer the best customer service you possibly can. 

To offer amazing customer service, you need the right tools for the job. One of the best customer service tools in the market is ticketing systems.

Now, commercial ticketing systems don’t come cheap, and when you’re struggling with tight budgets, you need to keep your costs down, especially in customer service. 

Well, you’re in luck because there are a ton of help desk ticketing systems out there to help deliver customer service like the pros. 

Great examples include the likes of Zendesk, FreeScout, Helpy, and osTicket, among others. Choose one that works for your business, and you won’t regret your decision

POS Software

POS (short for point of sale) software is any system that helps you to close sales. When a customer walks into your store and uses their card to pay, the system you have on your computer (that facilitates the purchase) is a point of sale. If they checkout on your website, that’s also a point of sale system.

Now, every small business needs a robust point of sale software. However, commercial POS systems don’t come cheap, which leaves us with open-source options such as LemonPOS, Odoo, and SambaPOS, among others.

Thanks to these open-source POS systems, you don’t need to break the bank to run your small business like the big boys. If you need more options, don’t hesitate to Google “open source POS systems” and you’ll more options than you’ll ever exhaust.

CMS (Content Management Systems)

In the past, you needed sharp website design skills to build a dynamic website. Nowadays, a fourth-grader can build a website thanks to open-source content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and many others.

Nowadays, you can whip up and deploy websites (and other web apps) in a matter of hours, and not days. Open-source CMSs are free but powerful, especially something such as WordPress.

Project Management Software

You must stay on track if you will hit your business goals. Without the right project management software for your business, things will go haywire. In short, you end up wasting lots of money – money that you don’t have.

Astute small business owners invest in project management tools to keep everything on track. Most don’t maximize the value of such tools and end up regretting when it’s too late.

Performant teams have clear goals and project tools to help them achieve said goals. Good open-source examples include OpenProject, Orangescrum, and more.

Mind Mapping Tools

Mind mapping software is an example of open-source software done right. It’s basically a type of software that helps you to organize your ideas in embeddable mind maps.

Popular tools in this domain include Xmind, Gitmind, Bubbl.us, and SmartDraw among others. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll love the fact that these tools are free.

Video Editing

Video marketing is no longer a fad that’s here today and gone tomorrow. Many small businesses are using video marketing with great results, and so can you.

But to excel in video marketing, you need the right tools to create videos that rock. If you’re eager to find video editing software, you will open-source options such as OpenShot, Blender, and Pitivi, among others.

Office Software

You will definitely create documents as you run your small business. It’s inevitable, just part of the business. For that, you need solid office software, you know, like Microsoft Office, but – well – free.

Welcome to the world of open-source office software. Leading projects include LibreOffice, and Google Docs, among others.

Rylie Holt