Top 5 Business Software Applications
Businesses have more software available now than ever before, and even a small business can streamline its operations with the right software applications. Cost and efficiency are important factors to weigh, as some expensive applications fall short of the features filled by many inexpensive packages. Here is a list of the Top 5 Business Software Applications for small businesses.
5 Sage Peachtree Complete Accounting
One of the best accounting software packages, Sage Peachtree will give you all the tools you need for a complete accounting solution. Job costing, banking, and inventory are easy to track. They have a wide array of charting and graphics capabilities, which are easy to use and beautiful to see. Watching your business figures open in a colorful series of charts can be helpful to get a quick overview of your situation. Information is power, but you also need it presented in a way that you quickly understand.
They often offer $100 rebates or promotions on their $299 Complete package (or the $499 Premium), so consider it $199. That makes it the best accounting solution, and the Complete package level is the one I recommend.
4 Active Desktop Calendar
Every business needs to manage its contacts and activities, and Active Desktop Calendar is a full package to do just that. It integrates with Outlook to include your contacts and also works with Google calendar. You can choose calendars for different countries’ holidays. If you do a lot of business with the UK or Japan, you might need to know their holidays at a glance. World time, and lots of smaller features are a bonus. The calendars can be shares across multiple PC’s within the office. At $29 it’s not a huge investment.
3 Omnistar Mailer
It’s called spam when you get it, but it’s called marketing when you send it. Potato / Potahto? Well, spam is annoying when its for unrelated and unsolicited information. Personally I live in the city and I do not own a car, so I delete all the junk emails I get about car insurance. However, someone else who is in the market for insurance may welcome your email. It’s all about targeting properly. In any case, if you decide to do email marketing, then Omnistar Mailer will help you. It’s a full package and service that can manage your mass mailing. It is an auto-responder software, and it can tell if someone has responded to your email. It can time additional emails and track the success rate. The application can be used for multiple websites from one package interface. You can send mailings to your site or forum members at specific intervals for various promotions. Starting at $287, and going up into $800 from there, this is not a cheap investment. However, it can help you to market your product to a target audience.
The best open source software for website design is Joomla (Joomla.org), and small businesses should consider its use. You can build and edit your website right online, meaning you can work on updates from your notebook even while traveling. Keeping your business website updated and fresh is key to any business, and Joomla makes this easier than most applications. It is module based, meaning you can plug in various pre-made components. Even if you have a web designer on staff, having Joomla means you can also dabble into the site. It’s intuitive and easy to use. Best of all, it is free.
One of the best solution for all your writing and editing needs, OpenOffice (openoffice.org) is the most complete. It’s interface and tools surpass the expensive Microsoft Office Suite, and all of its functions are fully compatible with MS. This means you can still exchange and edit documents and spreadsheets with MS Word and Excel users. The multiple functions of OpenOffice include a word editor, a spreadsheet, graphic designer, and math processor. I have used these for more than a year now, and I find them easier and more functional that their competition. There is even a plug-in that emulates Trados/Wordfast for translators. Since OO is a free open source program, updates come quick and easy. This allows you to stay current without affecting your wallet. OpenOffice is a must-have for small businesses, even if you already use other word programs.
Regardless of the software you choose, make sure it fits your own business model. Weigh the cost and performance. It doesn’t make sense for a small office to spend $3000 on software. Try to choose just a few programs that fill all or most of your needs, rather than a dozen spread all over the place. It will be easier to train your staff on 3 or 4 really good applications.
The Best Google Apps for Small Business
Google Apps is giving many small businesses an alternative to Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes. The Google Apps are a cost effective and hassle free option that currently has more than 2 million businesses using them. These Google Apps are a part of the growing Google Apps Marketplace, an online storefront for cloud applications. These five Google Apps have been singled out as the best for small businesses.
1. Google App BatchBook Social CRM
BatchBook is a social CRM that organizes contracts, views customers’ social networking activities and tracks sales leads all within one application. BatchBook is a customizable, web-based contact relationship manager that will synchronize with existing Google contacts. The BatchBook application is very effective in monitoring small business relationships.
2. Google App Offisync
Offisync is an add-on to the popular Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010. It extends the core processes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint functions by utilizing Google Docs and Google Sites. Offisync is a free application that lets small business utilize Microsoft Office functions in a Google web-based solution.
3. Google App Rhino Accounting
Rhino Accounting through the Google App Marketplace is a free substitute to QuickBooks Online. Small businesses will enjoy the Rhino Accounting easy to use solutions for their basic bookkeeping requirements. Reports are generated through Google Docs and invoices can be sent by Gmail. As a web-based solution, users can view their financial data from home or on the road.
4. Google App Tungle.me
A free personal scheduling application, Tungle.me will simplify a small business day. The web-based application allows users to publish their availability to colleagues and customers. It integrates with Google Calendar and allows small businesses to schedule meetings and book time with customers.
5. Google App Tripit
It seems that small businesses are always on the go. Traveling to meet with clients, collaborating with partners, or attending trade shows. The Tripit app organizes and shares your itinerary with family, colleagues and even social networking contacts such as LinkedIn to make it easier to coordinate schedules. This Google app can be accessed through an iPhone, Android or Blackberry for easy use.