Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What good's a laptop if you don't get the software with it

One of the biggest startup costs for me has been the purchase of a new computer. Do you buy cheap then find you've got to replace it in under 18 months or so, or do you go to the top of the market and hope you get some future proofing at least for two to three years? I kinda opted for the middle ground and bought a DELL laptop hopefully without the battery they were having problems with a couple of months ago.

And then you open it up, switch it on, do all the usual online registration of product, etc., etc. and ......

Well that's about it. You can surf the net until your hearts content, but you can't write any letters, prepare any presentations or get cracking on the latest figures with a spreadsheet. What doesn't come as standard is the software and it's not until you start looking for the best deals via the web that you find out the software you need to work with is more expensive than the laptop computer.

Now I realise that PC World maybe not the cheapest, but as a guide three choices of software I need to run the business are going to set me back the following:

Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003 - Complete package - £279.99

FileMaker Pro ( v. 8.5 ) - complete package - £199.99

MindManager Pro ( v. 6 ) - complete package - £187.06

Almost £700 to be added here. OK I could probably do without MindManager for a wee while. Need a database though for client contact details, etc. and where would we be without Word and Excel, etc.

OK. I know some of you will be saying go OpenSource, use something like StarOffice or whatever else is out there. And I'd love to, but I'm not sure at this moment in time I've got the space to start re-learning how to format various documents and then save then in a way that everybody else on the planet can access.

Yet another hard earned lesson. Although I had put in monies for software and the like in my business plan its still a sore one when you've got to pay all this money upfront before the income starts being generated.


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Paul said...

OpenOffice is good and not too much of a jump from microsoft.

Shirley Grant said...

Hiya Jacky,

As an alternative to Mindmanager try FreeMind ( ). It's pretty good and opensource.

I've got a Dell too in my new job - gives me the opportunity to say, fairly regularly - OK every day - how good Macs are! I think they're wishing they had got me a Mac!

Hope that the first event has gone well - best wishes for the new adventure - there's a whole new world out there!