By Claire West

With the start of 2011 barely a few days away, many budding entrepreneurs may be contemplating setting up businesses.

It is often said that anyone can start up ‘on their own’. All you really need is a PC, some office software and a great deal of time and commitment. Yet, even though the barriers to entry for running a business have never been so low, in today’s challenging times, any expenditure can feel like too much, especially if the prospective new business is running on a shoestring.

A major area of expense for any fledgling business is office equipment and, in particular office software, especially if the start-up business has more than one employee. The most commonly used office productivity suites can represent a significant cost of hundreds of pounds per employee and this can even limit a start-up’s ability to grow. In fact, the most popular software can cost more than the computer.

IBM offers an alternative that is free to use and offers comparable levels of functionality to paid for office suites. IBM Lotus Symphony 3 is the latest generation of IBM’s free and fully functional office suite. The real benefit is that anyone planning to start a business only needs to secure hardware, they can download the software for free. As well as providing support for the latest Microsoft Office file formats, Lotus Symphony 3 also supports the emerging standard of Open Document Format (ODF) and is a full part of the OpenOffice forum.

To find out more and to talk to an IBM Lotus Symphony expert, please contact Jonathan Brayshaw at Text 100 on (0208) 846 0712 or (07974) 161142.