STARTING your own business is very expensive. It is also a huge risk that could yield huge rewards if you are able to plan and execute the project correctly.

When you start a business there are many basic costs that you need to take into consideration. Rent, wages, office equipment, computer, internet connection and the like.

One thing that is often forgotten in the business plan is the cost of software. The primary being word-processing software, spreadsheet software and also presentation software. It is at times assumed that when you get a computer it will already have a word processing software package installed.

This is not true and you will need to purchase this at an additional cost. When you start a new business, you do not always have funds available to spend on software, but you do not want to install pirated software on your computer. You should really not install pirated software.

There is a simple solution. Simply download and install an open source alternative. There are a number of these available, like OpenOffice, AbiWord and NeoOffice to name but a few.

My favourite is OpenOffice and after you have used it for a week or two you will realise that whatever you can do with the better known options, you will be able to do with OpenOffice. There may be a feature or two that works differently, but if you want to edit and create documents, create spreadsheets or presentations you will be amazed at how powerful this and other OpenSource software packages are.

The greatest thing is that if you have a few employees with their own computer, you can freely install these open source packages on their computers without having to worry that you need to pay for the other copies or that you are pirating software.

Good luck in your venture, I hope the money you will save with opensource software will make a difference on your bottom line.