Small- to medium-sized businesses have different obstacles than larger businesses. Sometimes that means that the same software is not as accessible. That’s where open-source software can offer a lot of benefits for a lot less money. We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council about the advantages of using open-source software.
In your opinion, what’s one way that open-source software can give small businesses an advantage, helping them compete with today’s tech giants?
Their best answers are below:
1. Money Saved
Most software tools require you to sign up for a monthly subscription. With open-source software, many of these tech experts already have a subscription and can afford to reduce their rate for you. You’ll also have access to other subscription services that can be bundled to your specific business needs. – Chris Quiocho, Offland Media
2. Good alternatives
In many cases, open-source software is just as good as alternatives that cost money. A good example is Open Office versus Microsoft Word. WordPress is also a free solution for blogging and CMS that has more features than many paid website builders. Even if you prefer a costly software, open source gives you a cheap way to get started until you can afford to buy software. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
Since open-source software doesn’t require licensing costs, smaller companies can save money that can be used for other expenses. Also, you aren’t stuck with one vendor, so you aren’t dependent on any one company. This gives small businesses the flexibility they need. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
I find it beneficial to crowdsource certain creative elements of the business, allowing you to bid down cost and try new and different creative concepts from a variety of minds. Typically these things would require a dedicated tech team or firm, but now we have a larger degree of control over who and what we choose to use. This direct contact allows us greater control and input. – Justin Lefkovitch, Mirrored Media
5. Building enabled
When small businesses focus on using resources to build tools they need in-house, they essentially own those tools and they won’t be paying a premium price for them. As a small business, I like to stress the importance of building your own products versus buying what is available in the marketplace. The marketplace tends to be costly without any return for your money. It’s easier for the team to just build what you may need. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing
We’ve been able to use open-source software to add special features that our customers have said they’d like to have as soon as our developers can create them, which gives us a significant advantage over the competition that offers a boxed type product. – John Rampton, Calendar
A big benefit of using open source software is its ability to power your team’s creative innovation. By having access to the details of how something works, your team can come up with unique solutions for your situations. And with the robust community support around open source software, there’s always someone who’s solved similar problems so it’s easy to develop solutions. – Jürgen Himmelmann, The Global Work & Travel Co.
While open-source software is free, I think what works particularly well for small businesses is the ability to pick and choose technologies they wish to use. Even a small tech company should not find it hard to modify an open-source system to suit its requirements, provided it has the required knowledge in-house. Besides, if one alternative does not work, it’s easy to switch to another. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns
Open-source software allows you to leverage the work of potentially thousands of developers and save millions in costs. Choosing open-source software that is widely used and battle-tested can prevent bugs and security vulnerabilities from infiltrating your product. – Michael Fellows, Broadway Lab, Inc.
Open source software provides a lower barrier of entry as it is free in cost and freedom. It can also benefit smaller companies where a developer can fix or add features of their own where paid and proprietary software doesn’t offer source code which forces that developer to wait for the software owner to provide support. It can be around forever and kept as-is or integrated into another project. – Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.