Web-based Software Options for Small Business - Business software needs
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Word processing software
If you want to type anything, store information in a document and generally do the dozen other things you would do with a word processor, you are going to have to get one.
If you want to be able to keep track of your finances or cash flow, then you are going to need some kind of a spreadsheet to keep all that information organized neatly.
A secure web browser
If you going to be using web-based programs, you are going to need a secure web browser on which to run them -- otherwise, the whole plan falls apart.
An e-mail program
If you want to stay in touch with your clients, any employees they might have, or your vendors, you're probably going to need e-mail, and managing your e-mail online couldn't be more natural.
A database program
If you want to keep track of your information, look for your clients or which vendors you ordered from in the past, then you're going to need a database. Databases are also good for your marketing efforts, the newsletters you might send or general communications list making.
Project management software
If you're going to start any new initiatives, project management software might be just what you need to help you track the goals you have set and see if you're achieving them on time and within budget. In the initial stages, project management software can help you develop your plan.
Instant messaging software
Depending on your demographic and your business, you might need to contact your customers in real time. These days, many things can be handled quickly via instant message. Many offices even employ it to help widely scattered employees stay in touch.
Forms, online communities, or social networking venues
Once again, this will depend greatly on your customers' demographic: where they want to be, and what they want to be doing. If your customers are primarily web-based, or if you just want to use these options to expand on your brand, then you'll need software for that too. This category will include any blogs that you might want to use.
If in the course of business you need to make presentations to clients, or you just anticipate using them in general, then you are going to need software that helps you make presentations.
As you can see by now, that is a tall order to fill. Don't worry; by the end of this piece you will have a least one option available to you that will eliminate your costs without losing function. Not one of these options will cost you in general. You may find one or two exceptions that require you to buy after a certain number of uses, butt you always get a chance to try before you buy, and the cost will be nominal. After all, there is hardly a person, given the state of the economy, who doesn't understand that costs have to be controlled in a major way for any of us to be fiscally solvent.
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