Recently a friend of mine was talking about starting his own consulting business and it got me thinking about how viable it might be to completely run a small business on free software like Ubuntu. I mean completely run your business on free software, down to the last detail. I don’t mean mostly, but 100% create, manage and run your small business using free software. That got me thinking about what is required to get a small business off the ground, which quickly led to marketing materials. Business cards. Labels. Letterhead. The things you just assume you’d have as a small business, but don’t really think about creating until you’re in the situation.
While I was thinking about this I came across an application that looks like it’d fit this need perfectly. It’s called gLabels, and is designed specifically for creating labels and business cards in the GNOME desktop environment. From the website:
gLabels is a program for creating labels and business cards for the GNOME desktop environment. It is designed to work with various laser/ink-jet peel-off label and business card sheets that you’ll find at most office supply stores. gLabels is free software and is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
Sweet! Looks like that’d fit the bill perfectly, and it is available in the Ubuntu repositories! To install, enter the command (or click on the link):
sudo aptitude install glabels
Once you’ve got it installed it really looks like a breeze to use as well! I also found a site that has a good, more in-depth tutorial on getting started with it. Printing Labels in Ubuntu outlines some basic usage of gLabels, including screenshots. Worth checking out.
While I was at that link I also found a really detailed tutorial on creating quality business cards using Inkscape, another application available in the Ubuntu repositories. Ubuntu wins again for application availability! If you have never used Inkscape before it really is worth checking out. It can be installed using:
sudo aptitude install inkscape
Inkscape is a great tool for creating business cards, letterhead, etc. It’s great for all kinds of detailed graphic design while on Linux. Again I’ll refer you to the Business Card Tutorial using Inkscape for a great writeup of how to do business cards.
In conclusion, I have to admit that Ubuntu appears to have just the right tools to get a small business going. Business Cards. Labels. Letterhead. The best part about the whole thing is that none of these applications adds any additional cost to the difficulty of starting a small business. You’ve got to love “Free as in Beer”.