Free Desktop Apps to Boost Small Business

Free Desktop Apps to Boost Small BusinessThere has been a lot of hype for cloud-based apps lately, and understandably so. Cloud based apps let you do all of your business online, and let you pay relatively little for their services. That being said, there are still a lot of great desktop apps that can help your business as well. As for cost effectiveness, the cloud isn’t the only place to find cheap software tools. The following list of desktop apps is sure to come in handy around your office, and they can all be downloaded for free.


Jing – Jing is a free and functional desktop application used anytime you want to share what you see on your screen with someone else. Jing allows an easy interface for capturing, editing, and sharing screenshots for online conversations, marketing, web-posting, email, or whatever else you can think to use it for. Exclusively for the Mac, Skitch is equally effective, and just as free.

Skype – Many have already signed on with this popular communication software that can put you in contact with anyone in the world. Free and desktop-based, Skype can be used for anything from worldwide video conferencing to inter-office collaboration via instant message. Also it’s hard to beat their file-sharing with quick speeds and no limit to file size.

TweetDeck – If you use Twitter for your business, TweetDeck is a must-have desktop app. It saves you the time of opening a browser and signing in, and the visual interface makes it easy for your marketing team to craft tweets, manage contacts, and spread the word about your business.

Documents and Organization:

Google Desktop – Not only can you search the internet right from your desktop, but Google Desktop syncs with your hard drive so you can search your computer just like you would the web. Google Desktop instantly pulls up files containing your search terms, and also provides a slew of free gadgets that connect you to weather, news, and other Google apps like calendar and docs.

OffiSync – If you’re tired of jumping from Google Docs to Microsoft Word, OffiSync has you covered. Once installed, OffiSync exists as an extra tab in the MS Word interface. From there you have a two-way portal to open, save, edit, and collaborate on any of the documents in your Google Docs. Collaboration is especially useful because it lets employees work in the familiar MS Word interface while still benefitting from the accessibility of Google Docs.

ScanDrop – ScanDrop is another free desktop application that links to Google Docs, but instead of sending your Word files, ScanDrop lets you scan and upload paper documents directly to Google Docs. Developed by the paper and digital document management service, OfficeDrop, this application makes it easy to get hardcopy information online with scanning, viewing, editing, and uploading in one simple interface. ScanDrop is compatible with most personal scanners and is easy to set up.


pfSense – For advanced network security, pfSense will be a big help making sure your internet connection is securely firewalled. For no cost other than download time, pfSense lays down serious network security, and can also be employed as a network router.

TrueCrypt – So you’ve got your network covered, but what if someone steals your hardware? To protect the valuables on your hard drive, TrueCrypt is a free open-source software that lets you encrypt a single file, or your entire machine. If you encrypt your laptop, for example, a password will be required for access every time it is turned on. Far more secure than just assigning a password in your OS, TrueCrypt renders any stolen machines about as useful as a paperweight.

So, while there are many web-based applications that help your business, there are also a number of desktop applications that can be equally productive and cost effective. These cases, it’s worth a few MBs of disk space for an application that makes your life easier.


Prasad Thammineni Prasad Thammineni is the Chief Product Officer at Choose Energy, an electricity, natural gas and solar marketplace for residential, SMB and commercial customers. He founded consumer and B2B startups namely OffceDrop, jPeople, WeBelong, Indolis and LaunchPad. He has an MBA from Wharton and Computer Science and Math degrees from BITS, Pilani, India.

10 Reactions
  1. Martin Lindeskog

    Prasad Thammineni: Great list of applications. I will check them out. Will you write a post on smartphone apps sometime in the future?

  2. Thxs for helpful list. It is my understanding that Mac version of OffiSync will be available in late 2010. Until then any suggestion for similar desktop app for Mac users?

  3. Prasad Thammineni

    @Martin Lindeskog Thank you for the feedback. You read my mind. I will be writing a post on smart phone apps. I did write one for ipad –

    @Shea Maultsby I am not aware of a OffiSync like app that is available for the Mac as of now. DocVerse, a competitor of OffiSync and now part of Google, may release one in the future. Look out for it. Let me know if you find something for the Mac meanwhile.

  4. I just created an app that may be helpful, it’s “The Social Media Dashboard”: (free)

    Mike Saunders, MBA

    Author of: “The PRISM Salvation-a 3-Step Solution to Social Media Domination for Busy Business Owners”
    Available on Amazon!
    Get the 1st Chapter here:

  5. I thought I was a connoisseur of free, but I don’t even use half of these. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Prasad Thammineni

    @Robert Brady I am glad I could shed some light on Free apps you have not used.

  7. mmm…interesting, I heard Protemac netmine good app too for protection computer…

  8. I like ProteMac NetMine. NetMine by ProteMac is a firewall for your Mac computer running OS X. It monitors and controls all the Internet and network activity of your computer.