Owning and working in a startup can be one of the most stressful experiences, since it takes a lot of effort, hard work and sometimes even luck for a startup to be successful. Sometimes it might seem like you are always looking back, making sure that you are on the right path, and that you are doing everything you can to make sure that your startup won’t fail. That usually means that you can use any help that you can get. Sometimes that help is money, educated staff, a great new space that just became available etc. But, usually, the biggest developments, the fastest improvements and the most significant money-saving ideas are coming from technology. As a startup, one that you can most certainly take advantage of is open-source software. What is Open-Source Software? No matter what business you are in, you are using some type of software. Chances are, not all of them exactly fit your needs. Perhaps your calendar isn’t easily connected to your company interface. Or your CRM can’t pull out a solid report. You might even have an internal struggle of keeping track of your employee’s sick days. The open source model allows you to overcome these obstacles by allowing you to modify these pieces of software to better suit your own needs. Creators let you inside the source code and you can go from there. In many cases, creators of the code will help you improve the software, and guide you through using it. The end goal is for you to have the product you want in the end, regardless of what is your business. Can Any Business Benefit from Open Source? People often associate open source with the world of technology. And although it is created there, its use expands across all branches, sizes and company values. If you own an outsourcing company, you can use open source to keep track of all of the requests. HR industry often uses open-source software for candidate management. Taxi companies can keep track of their drivers, and marketing agencies can manipulate their printed media. There’s no limit to what a piece of open-source software can do, since it’s modified based on your business need. A company of five employees can derive as much benefit from it as a company that needs to fulfill five million daily orders. How Can Open Source Help You Grow Your Business? In startups, as well as in other companies, employees often create something from scratch. This is beneficial since it gives them a sense of ownership, it stimulates their creativity and it helps them become an integral part of the team. But, at what cost? Unless it is a scientific breakthrough, chances are employees are going to lose a lot of time creating something that already exists in the market, and probably does the job better. Using open-source software, enables you to have a better product for less time. And meanwhile, your employees can focus their efforts on improving it, or working on a completely different project. When it comes to what kind of open-source software you should use, it depends on the need of your business. What is sure is that you will be able to control the content, and manipulate it to fit your needs. In addition to this, many experts in the industry claim that these types of solutions are often more secure and stable than the regular ones that you can’t modify. If you work in the IT industry, you can use this type of software to train your staff, especially the newcomers, and help them boost their problem-solving abilities and programing skills. What Do I Need to Do Before I Choose this Type of Software? If you don’t have any well-trained programmers amongst your employees, make sure that you choose a software developer who can match your needs. If you do have in-house knowledge, use it to your advantage. Once you take care of that issue, make sure that you know exactly what you are looking for. In order to use the benefits to the fullest, you have to know your needs first. That way, you can easily give directions and instructions, and you can wound up with a program that really makes your startups daily operations way easier. But, even if you don’t have all the answers, you can change the program as you go – that is the beauty of open-source software! Open-source software allows you the ability to control and manipulate, it helps you train your staff, and lets you create something that fits your needs perfectly. As your startup grows, your needs will grow with it – tracking your employees, communicating with your customers, keeping tabs on all of the requests… Use open-source software to improve the way you work and generate stability and a solid foundation for your ever-growing startup.