Archives for February 2011

Ultimate Selection of 60 Tools for Business Owners

Today, to create a company is one of the easiest things you can do – simply fill all necessary papers and you are done. However, once you create your own business, you will have to start managing it, which where you will definitely need some extra help. I tried to cover all aspects of business management and provide you with a list of tools you can use, so I hope you like my list.

Human Resource Management

GreatBizTools.com

GreatBizTools offers solutions for managing the whole personnel from the managers to the new, just hired employees. They will grant you with software that may perform several tests to select new employees or to build specific test procedures for measuring the knowledge and the skills of your staff. These solutions will help you to develop a more competent workforce for your company.

ProfilesInternatinal.com

These solutions provide measurement for various types of employees. They measure how a person fits customer service jobs and how well a person fits sales jobs. They also do analysis of how individual fits in your organization. They also do rates of manager-employee compatibility, motivation intensity and behaviors.

Oracle.com

Oracle offers several solutions that will help you to enhance current workforce effectiveness and to make your process of transformation or the change from integrating new software, easy and fast. It also offers several tools for capturing organizational knowledge and managing the level of service delivered by your employees for every size business.

Hrtools.com

They offer the following solutions:

Administaff – for human resources (HR) outsourcing, more strategic business decisions, recruiting services for the best employees available by using good retirement services, which provide excellent retirement plans and are included in the package also.

PerformSmart – for statistics of your workforce that will help you to align employees’ performance with your business goals.

Orangehrm.com

Their solution OrangeHRM is open source package that includes features like easy installation and administration, personal information module, recruitment module, support and customizations available to purchase, employee self-service module and report generation for any business size at comparatively low costs.

PerfectSoftware.com

PerfectHR is their human resource management solution that allows management of employee information like employment status, contact details, complete dependent information, benefits’ details, performance reviews, training, and workers ’ compensation. You can automate HR processes like delivering documents, forms, files, notifications and reports.

iCIMS.com

iCIMS is award-winning HR software that offers benefits like: one platform for your HR needs, eliminates cost of implementations and the need of training different users on multiple systems while you can manage the Talent Lifecycle of candidates and employees with 24×5 customer support team.

HR.blr.com

This is a hosted HR solution that will provide you with HR Library, HR Time servers, HR Tools, Salary Center, HR Training Materials and many other services. Some of them are HR Challenge, where you may sing-up for a weekly HR Quiz or HR Strange But True where you may sing-up for humorous HR news.

ICeHRM.cygeek.net

ICeHRM is open source Human Resource Management system, which is web-based and it is most suitable for small and medium-sized companies. AJAX user interface includes features such as administration, leave management, attendance and time tracking, timesheet submission, punch in/out time submission, store project and customer information, store employee pictures, automated installation and support in several languages.

WaypointHR.com

WaypointHR is another open source software which will record and store all important employee information including: personal details and emergency contact information, holiday/sickness/absence history, discipline and grievance records, performance appraisal records, exit interviews and employment termination, current and historical data and much more.

Billing and Accounts Payable

SalesForce.com

Known as the most popular CRM provider that offers solutions, which are cloud-based. In them are included many other CRM business functions and tools except billing and account payable. Over 87 000 companies have chosen this way of approach which must mean that it is bringing satisfying results and all the information is well-kept.

NetSuite.com

NetSuite is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that offers support for the entire company from accounting and billing to web capabilities and customer relationship management (CRM). With NetSuite Financials you will be able to run all of your key back-office operations like accounting, order management, inventory and supply chain and business intelligence.

SimplyAccounting.com

Sage Simply Accounting is software solution that is offered in five different package sizes – First Step, Pro, Premium, Enterprise and Accountants’ Edition for all sizes of businesses. It will help you to solve your accounting needs by customizing the account options available for your business functions, which results in maximized efficiency and profitability.

Aplicor.com

Their product Account Playable is on-demand web-based system that provides good control over internal expenses, reports of cash flow, and processes of payment, payables and more. You may use Workflow Designer to coordinate routes of cash and approval processes that may be automated.

SageAccpac.com

This solution has two versions – software and hosted. The software version Sage ERP Accpac offers Accounting and Financial Management module that will handle well your accounting and decrease its cost and time. That way you will receive more resources for other aspects of your business. The hosted version offers the same features but at different easy and fast to access way.

SAP.com

SAP have 35 years history in this sphere and they offer single application for mostly small business with different versions for the appropriate count of users that are going to use it. The whole application includes more functions than just managing the billing and accounting processes, which need to be customized for each kind of industry.

Made2Manage.com

Made2 Manage ERP is a software solution designed for medium and small size companies, which has powerful tools and functions to help the automation of all your needed back-office functions so you may keep your attention on your business goals. The system also provides real-time visibility of all the current processes.

US.Intracct.com

Intacct is award winning hosted solution that will provide better operational efficiencies to help you work smarter and not harder. You will be able to improve productivity and the whole billing and accounting processes and to do that you need real-time observation of the financial performance, which is a part of the web-based software.

Tabs3.com

They offer award-winning Tabs3 Taskbill software solution, which provides full control over your billing process – from tracking billing time to generating useful reports to see the status and the history of each individual customer statements. Except that all the security is on your hands and you may decide the level of access to customer information of each manager or employee.

Collaboration Software

JiveSoftware.com

Jive is a software, which is a collaboration solution for companies that need to produce full projects over big distances and to help them work as a whole team even if they have never seen each other face-to-face. They will be able to work as if they are next to each other because this platform offers the communication needed to do that and you may access project information 24/7/365.

Teambox.com

Teambox is an online collaboration tool that was founded by people who prefer easy and fun to handle project management for everyday use. You will be able to succeed in your teamwork by integrating social networking utilities like activity streams, threaded conversations and commenting, inbox management and alerts, RSS feeds and anything else, which will give you a good look on your needed tasks.

CentralDesktop.com

CentralDesktop is cloud-based platform, which you may access from anywhere, at any time and it will establish the connection between your colleagues, partners or customers. The solution has high security and you may use it inside and outside firewalls to manage your teams, documents, tasks and projects.

ProofHub.com

ProofHub is another software solution, which will help you organize projects easy and simple. In the program are integrated chatting tools for important discussions with your project team as well as your customers. You may schedule deadlines, post upcoming milestones that are visible for all team members on the fully customizable dashboard included within every different project.

BasecampHQ.com

The software Basecamp supports good clear communication between people who work on the same projects to insure one well-done job. You may send messages through the program and attach files, comments, milestones and assign dates for every task, which needs to be done on time. Except that the software is available in dozens of languages and you can manage your projects on your mobile phone also.

HyperOffice.com

Hyper Office is a provider of hosted collaboration service which does not require difficult software to integrate or server maintenance. You may focus on your main business goals while they deliver the technical support for the necessary communication. They offer task manager, lifetime training and support for the product, online calendar, online contact manager, business e-mail service and online document management.

ThinkProject.com

Think Project is an online collaboration platform, which offers single repository for all project data, integrating team members and project partners easily, minimum user administration, one electronic workplace for all cooperatives, automatic dashboard, traceability of all processes and tamper-proof storage of all project documents – similar to an aircraft’s black box.

IBM.com

IBM delivers several solutions about collaboration for different purposes, implementations, and associates or social groups. They offer either stand alone ready-to-use applications for integration or specified customization or hosted versions covering the following categories: Massaging & Collaboration, Unified Communication, Social Software, Portals and Mashups, Online Collaboration Services and Mobile Collaboration and Wireless.

EasyProjects.net

EasyProjects also offer the two ways of implementations – either application for server or hosted on the cloud. With this software you may create unlimited projects with auto-assignments, milestones, project-level permissions, project billing, unlimited custom fields, interactive charts and more. You will be able also to batch operations to change priorities, status and assignees on multiple projects at once.

MangoSpring.com

Mango Apps 2.0 is a package that contains several applications for your needs or requirements – MangoTalk for social networks, MangoEvent for event management, MangoDocs for document management, MangoIdeas for innovation management, MangoProgects for project collaboration, MangoTasks for task collaboration and MangoChat for online communities and chat solutions. This package is available for hosted, on-premise or mobile phone usage.

E-commerce

BigCommerce.com

BigCommerce’s software solution is a program that helps you to build entirely your internet retail store. The program is easy to use and install, even from people who are beginners, and does not require any additional training. The included features are payment gateway integration, credit card processing, shopping cart, website building, hosting, Google Website Optimizer, Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Market, fully customizable product information and more at high level of security.

Shopify.com

Shopify offers online e-commerce software, which is very easy to access – you need only a web browser and you may start building your own online store. Through that same web interface you will able to fully customize and maintain your web site. Advanced customization available through easily explained language for customization and numerous payment gateways and every personal data is well protected.

goEmerchant.com

The e-commerce solution delivered by goEmerchant is very good for beginners. The software has three user levels – for beginners and more advanced software users. The range of features is wide – different product variations, unlimited bandwidth, visitor reports, search engine optimization (SEO), safe and reliable transactions but it doesn’t have many payment methods – it only accepts credit cards.

Volusion.com

The Volusion software solution set comes with very long list of features with award-winning 24/7 live support but that doesn’t come at low cost. Their services aim to satisfy every need with features like step-by-step training videos, free live software updates, security alerts, integration with PayPal and Google Checkout, free live chat, SEO, comfortable shipping and so on…

3DCart.com

3DCart solution software is also easy to set up and is entirely online based but it requires a little time to use step-by-step wizard. A well designed interface offering a robust set of tools including many features available for all levels of users. On the way of creating your desired online cart, everything is customizable. The software has good CRM orientated information about valuable customer information.

Fortune3.com

Fortune3’s software builds your online store through with store builder or with offline wizard by the help of easy to navigate forms and menus. They offer more features more than every other competitor with solid support behind them. Secure transactions with around the clock assistance by support ticket system or e-mail.

CoreCommerce.com

Another web-based solution is CoreCommerce and it offers many pre-made design templates or wizard to design your own. Supported payment methods like e-checks, checks, COD’s not only the usual PayPal, Google Checkout, Pay Flow and Authorize.net. Also all needed features around full site as hosting, site building tools and the usual features for all the management, customization and maintenance at high protection.

Smallbusines.yahoo.com/ecommerce/

Yahoo offer solution with unlimited amount of disk space and data transfer but it has 50 000-products limit. You may build your site from 380 possible variations and templates or other methods, which require programming. Great inventory and sales reports with readable graphs, advanced tracking statistics, good support and encryption of all your valuable data.

ProStores.com

ProStores Business is eBay company cloud-based software, which offers website creator, shopping cart and hosting. The creator has 143 design templates available for up to 10 000 products. FedEx and UPS shipping, several wizards for customization, various reports, qualified support and reduce risk transactions are some of the features included.

NetworkSolutions.com/e-commerce/

Another good solution is Standard E-Commerce from Network Solutions for your online store and by the way, it will best fir your needs. Also there is a pro package but it is not suitable for beginners. The features that you will meet here are: already made templates, 8GB monthly bandwidth, 200 MB storage, standard security, online live chat, QuickBooks, 300 products, payment by PayPal and Authorize.net. However, gift cards, gift-wrap and coupons are not available for the standard version.

Corporate Portals

Traction.TractionSoftware.com

Traction TeamPage brings one secure and scalable platform, which combines blog, wiki, social tagging, social networking opportunities, profiles and discussions and it has been awarded through the years. The features include content management, legacy system integration, custom user interface, message boards, mobile access, customizable functionality, multi-language, customizable reporting, search functionality, secure login, document manager, software development kit and user access controls available for Windows, Mac, hosted, Linux and so on…

Oracle.com

Oracle Portal 11g is a complete framework for portal deploying, managing and building for portals with integration of Oracle WebLogic Server. That solution provides environment for building web interface and access to dynamic data by the help of J2EE-based application. You may use Enterprise 2.0 features by Oracle WebCenter Services 11g, integrate Oracle Fusion Middleware or Oracle Applications for better functionality and manage your content by Oracle Universal Content Management.

LifeRay.com

LifeRay is package for building business solutions that includes several capabilities to insure as soon as possible return of the investments. Capabilities like document and content management with Microsoft Office integration, shared workspaces and web publishing, enterprise collaboration, mashups and social networking, identity management and enterprise portals.

TechExcel.com

TechExcel’s has integrated CRM solution known as CustomerWise, which offers you customer management, which covers sales, support, assets and marketing in on-premise and on-demand variants. All of the supported features are not different than the other representatives and the support available may be reached in the normal business hours by e-mail or online or you may choose the option to train yourself or an employee to handle the product.

IntelligenceBank.com

IntelligenceBank is an online easy to use platform for knowledge management service, which is accomplished by media monitoring, document management, charting tools and online collaboration. You may manage, share and store corporate information and staff, resources, knowledge and external sources of information via API’s and RSS feeds. This product is designed for beginners – it doesn’t require special training and it’s available on the cloud or for Linux/Unix.

eBdesk.com

eBdesk’s package contains three applications: Portal Builder, which generates portal pages and delivers applications and channels to users according to their access rights, SDK for the creation of new applications and channels and Groupware for collaboration with robust implementation. The whole package runs on most of the popular operational systems and supports and on most of the leading database technologies.

JBoss.com

JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform delivers Web 2.0 applications, SOA services and back-end operations to users who interact between and require access to them. By JBoss you may take advantage by benefits like faster results, simple administration tools, simple management and creation of web content and robust performance.

Paratude.com

Paratude Portal is a module of on-demand customer service software, which gives you identical as your web site support portal for the needs of your customers. Despite that, you have the option to change the look and the feel of your portal to guide your customers to the right information for them. Your customers may access easy to reach knowledgebase, submit tickets, submit feedback, and support history or to check their ticket status.

DynaPortal.com

DynaPortal is a package of portal software products, which provides professional and reliable portal internet software solutions from 1996. The package contains more than fifty web applications to help you create and customize almost any kind of website or portal.

Jahia.com

Jahia provides the opportunity to use social gadgets or portlets on every one of your site’s pages and the process is similar to the process of adding a text. The integrated Mashup Center offers centralized and unified user interface to help end users categorize or manage the available numerous micro-applications. Also you will be able to take management of all your mashups like JSR168/286 portlets, Javascript-based mashups, Open social gadgets or RSS/Atom feeds.

E-mail and Instant Messaging

Gmail.com

Gmail is the solution for e-mail, social network and instant messaging from Google and it is distinguished from other competitors by simple but very smart and practical interface.

Zoho.com

Very powerful-hosted mail service for business users and mail administrators. The features available for mail administrators include multiple domains, control panel, unlimited groups, e-mail policies and easy migration while these for business users are powerful search, folders and labels, instant chat, calendar, tasks and multiple accounts.

Skype.com

Skype is one of the most popular software and it offers free Skype calls, calls to phones and mobiles at very low cost, free video calls, free instant messaging, conference chat/calls, send or receive files, good support and implementations for almost any kind of operational systems either for computer or phone and even for some TV sets.

ICQ.com

ICQ is one of the oldest representatives of this category and in the latest versions, the messenger offers new tool for messaging history, Facebook Chat connectivity and e-mail notifications from Yahoo! Mail and Gmail.

MSN.net

MSN messenger – except the instant messaging you may share multimedia files and links to other participants in chat or video calls and stay always well informed of the latest news from social networks like Facebook and Myspace. Microsoft delivers also free e-mail services called Hotmail.

AIM.com

AOL Instant Messenger one from the originators of the chat services launched in the early 1990, this product has several years of evolution and the latest version supports Google Talk and Facebook chat at almost every platform or operational system. AOL’s e-mail service has very good spam protection, simple and rich interface and is known as AIM Mail.

Messenger.Yahoo.com

Yahoo! Messenger will make possible for you to make free video and voice calls as well as sending IMs. In the latest version are included notifications from the activities of your friends on social networks like Yahoo!, Flickr, Twitter and more. The e-mail service brought by Yahoo! is also one from the most popular since 1994.

GMX.com

GMX Mail is a reliable e-mail service with good spam and virus filters and 5 GB free storage and you may use it for desktop mail program via IMAP or POP.

Gawab.com

They offer stable and very usable e-mail service with 10 GB free online space, IMAP and POP.

How To Use Your Domain Name As Your Marketing Direction

DOMAINMARKETING

5 Reasons A Listening Brand is Powerful:

Listening Brand 1) If your job is to provide valuable service to a customer (and most of us do), it behoves you to be on top of what they need from you. It’s your job to over deliver and make the experience a pleasurable one. Great service should be a given in business, but we know that not everyone is listening.

2) When it comes to performing our services it’s good if you get it. Nothing is more irritating to customers than having to explain it more than once. Time is money and an inability to listen can cost you big time.

3) What’s up Doc? Bugs had it right – keeping your ear to the wind, alerts you to opportunities that could make your month. Being alert brings in leads, listen for the cues.

4) Not listening can lose you a job. A client recently informed me that a supplier they recently hired badly dropped the ball and delivered something that they felt was out of left field. Their collective comment was, ” Weren’t they listening?” You know where they’re going to end up don’t we. When you’re listening it’s all about them, when you’re not it’s all about you. Ouch!

5) If your brand is known by how effective you are and how you resonate with people, then your brand is a “Listening Brand.” This is a huge compliment and a branding must. When you listen, everything happens in a positive way and that’s great for everyone.

Rising Above the Recession: 5 Small Business Strategies for Beating a Bad Economy

The long road of the recession is strewn with casualties, most of which are small businesses unable to successfully navigate increasingly hazardous terrain. And yet, while potholes and pitfalls still loom ahead, the economic downturn has presented many businesses with unique opportunities for growth, opportunities which often remain unrecognized. With this in mind, here are 5 proven strategies which, if properly implemented, could help a majority of small businesses not only survive but thrive in a downward economy.

1. Flexibility: Although the upside of an economic downturn may be a “thinning of the herd”, in terms of your direct competition, keep in mind that those who survive will up their game in terms of retaining and gaining new customers. As a result, the ability to revise and adopt fundamental business practices to better meet the changing needs of customers is critical. If your company is service oriented, strive to provide that service in the most effective and efficient way possible. Product based companies should seek to structure and streamline their delivery and support systems to provide an optimal buying experience for their customers.

2. Effective Hiring: While the downward economy has dramatically deepened the pool of prospective employees, this will only work to the advantage of those businesses with the most effective hiring practices. According to corporate business coach Janis P. Whitaker, author of the book Interviewing by Example, “One of the major flaws of the corporate hiring process lies in the inability to effectively screen and identify qualified applicants during the interview.” Being that the goal of any company looking to hire new employees is to find those with the skills to make the business more successful, emphasis should be placed upon certain criteria, including the applicant’s ability to communicate effectively, demonstrate adaptability and show promise in fulfilling the needs of the company, not only today but next week and hopefully for years to come.

3. The Virtual Advantage: A direct result of the sluggish economy is that more businesses are realizing the benefits of virtual diversification. Although a virtual office is not always feasible or desirable, small business owners looking to cut current operating costs and facilitate cost-effective expansion can do so by hiring virtual help, such as assistants, accountants, social media managers, SEO specialists and advertising affiliates. Online meetings and webinars also offer several advantages over more structured and less spontaneous offline meetings; in particular, the ability to exchange vital information and implement new plans of action in a more timely and efficient manner. A company with the capability to respond and adapt to the demands of an ever changing marketplace stands a good chance of gaining and maintaining a strong competitive edge.

4. Be True to Your Brand: To compete in a downward economy it’s critical for business owners to identify what they do best then focus all their energies on doing it better. In other words, find your specialty, then hone it and own it. During a downturn, the tendency for many small businesses is try to generate new revenue by offering add-on services that can ultimately dilute the brand, creating a “jack of all trades” perception. However, a business that concentrates on clearly defining and promoting what it is and what it does stands a greater chance of gaining greater credibility, visibility and acceptance in the marketplace, the net result being an increase in business and the ability to handle growth and expansion.

5. Parallel Partnering: One of the great advantages of a bad economy is that it forces the owners of businesses both large and small to find new and better ways to operate. Leveraging relationships with like-minded business owners and forming alliances with parallel or complimentary companies can be a very effective means of increasing efficiency and profitability. At the most basic level, many businesses can immediately benefit by sharing office space and equipment to reduce operating costs. But the greatest benefits come from the formation of synergistic business relationships. For example, a business that specializes in SEO and marketing through Social Media would benefit by forming alliances with other companies that offer related services that they do not, such as web design or pay-per-click advertising. Through the formation of such alliances, each company benefits by becoming more valuable to its respective customers via the ability to refer them to a trusted alliance company which will best meet their additional needs—thus creating a business scenario for which the overused term “win-win” applies in any economic climate.

Additional Resources: For more help on succeeding in today’s economy visit Omniture.com where you can learn about many other strategies such as target marketing.

Five Creative Ways to Show Customer Appreciation

For most businesses, it’s not enough to make a sale or sign a customer – you want happy customers, repeat customers who will gladly return for more. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, keeping your customers satisfied is a key part of a sustainable business model.

Finding creative ways to show your customers you really appreciate their business – going beyond a simple “Thank you” email – is a smart investment for several reasons:

  • Word of mouth is often more valuable than professional advertising, marketing, and PRpeople trust their networks more than companies. Giving your customers some perks is a good way to get them talking about you, and hopefully recommending you to friends and family.
  • More and more buyers look for online reviews before making a purchase. Generally, people don’t bother to write a positive review unless service really goes above and beyond. Thanking your customers creatively is a great way to get some raves on sites like Yelp.
  • Guess what? The recession isn’t really over yet, and that means every customer in your database is precious. You can’t afford to lose them, and investing a little time and money into keeping your current customers is likely far more cost-effective than replacing them.

The truth is, you probably don’t need convincing on this point – you know it’s important to show clients a little love. But you may be short on ideas for ways to thank them that don’t seem tired and routine. Below you’ll find five creative solutions to the problem. Give these approaches a shot and you’ll get buzz, referrals and happy customers in return.

Reward with Expertise

Not all gifts need to be monetary. You’re an expert in your field, and you customers have come to you to buy a piece of that knowledge. Many businesses have built a loyal following by regularly sharing unique, informative content in a newsletter. The trick is not to use the newsletter strictly for promotional purposes. If you’re really offering useful information, customers won’t hit the “Unsubscribe” button, and by continuing to engage with your brand, they’re more likely to shop with you again in the future.

Creative Rewards Programs

There’s a great Mexican place near my parents’ house that we’ve been going to for decades. Recently, they initiated a kind of rewards club for frequent customers. My parents now get regular coupons in the mail with great deals like 2-for-the-price-of-1 dinners or free drinks with a meal. It’s a really clever way to keep regulars like my parents coming back again and again, and to give some incentive for new customers to become regulars. This is a no-brainer approach that works for restaurants, bars, and all kinds of services businesses – think salon, spa, car wash.

Unique Corporate Gifts

Swag printed with your corporate logo – pens, vests, mugs, etc – is an old standby in the world of customer appreciation. You’re giving your customers a token of appreciation and strengthening your brand at the same time. For a more unusual twist on this theme, how about custom logo cookies – yummy treats printed with the image and text you provide, in edible ink! Your clients likely won’t have seen these before, and since they clearly weren’t lying around in a storage room for months on end, it shows an extra level of effort and appreciation.

Spotlight Your Customers

If you’re a B2B company, a great way to show your customers some appreciation is to highlight them on your site or in your newsletter in a “Customer Spotlight” capacity. Showing how a client used your product or service to good effect is a great marketing tool for you – you might consider using video or photos to create a more visually appealing version of a case study. And you’ll also be passing business and free PR on to that customer. Not many businesses would turn that down.

Perks for Feedback

Asking your current clients for feedback, and offering them something in return, kills two birds with one stone. You get great tips on ways to improve your offering from the people who count, and boost their opinion of you in the process. Depending on how many clients are on your list, you may be able to offer a small reward to anyone willing to respond to a survey. If that’s impossible, you can enter survey respondents into a drawing for a prize. In addition, you could offer a reward of some kind for providing a testimonial. This could be as simple as a link to the client’s site, discounts on products or services, or a gift certificate.

Hopefully these ideas will get you started. When it comes to customer appreciation, the only real mistake you can make is not showing any! So make some room in your budget and schedule for strategies that will build a devoted following.

How To Run a Paperless Office

Twenty years ago, having an office meant being surrounded by paperwork. In the pre-Internet days, there was simply no way around it: no matter what line of work you were in, every aspect of daily operations (from invoicing to project management to document creation) left an enormous paper trail. Luckily, that is no longer necessary today.

Using the free/low-cost Internet tools below, modern businesses can, if they choose, run a completely paperless office:

Google Docs

America’s offices are flooded with hard copies of documents that rarely (or never) looked at on a daily basis. Whether in filing cabinets, stuffed in your desk drawer or piling up in the hallway, these papers clutter your workspace while adding no value in the process. With Google Docs, this can be stopped once and for all.

Google Docs not only has all the standard functionality of Microsoft Office (word processing, slideshows, spreadsheets, etc.) it also allows an entire office to share important documents with one another. Thus, while your current office policy might be printing out and storing records for later use, you can now simply keep them in Google Docs and print them when a need actually arises.

Skype

Looking for a way to do free videoconferencing over the web? Look no further than Skype. This handy tool enables your partners or employees to remote conference with anyone in the world (so long as they also use Skype.) The only requirements are a webcam and a microphone headset. For a nominal by-the-minute fee, you can also use Skype to place outgoing calls.

Best part: Skype also doubles as an instant messaging utility, meaning any text conversations you have with conferencing partners are automatically and digitally logged for later retrieval.

Mint

Most of us know that Mint.com is an excellent (and free) money management and simplification tool for individuals. Yet with a little ingenuity, it can just as easily perform those same functions for your small business. The typical startup has an operating account (checking) and a reserves account (savings), with perhaps an ancillary account for advertising or other purposes.

If your company is set up this way, Mint can paperlessly track and manage your corporate expenditures with little manual effort. Simply feed Mint your corporate bank account details instead of your personal ones, and watch as all financial activity is painlessly graphed, sorted and explained before your eyes.

Freshbooks

When it comes to office clutter, invoices are one of the biggest and oldest culprits. You know the drill: print one to send out, and another copy for record keeping. In addition to being incredibly time-consuming, it’s also wasteful and inefficient. In 2011, there is simply no excuse to burden yourself with paper invoices anymore.

Instead, join the 21st century and invest in a Freshbooks.com subscription. Freshbooks handles your invoicing electronically, on automated schedules. If you have three paying clients or less, you can use most of the service’s features for free. For companies with more customers, Freshbooks can streamline your invoicing process for the less than the cost of a few new Polo shirts.

Shoeboxed

Nothing looks uglier on a desk or filing cabinet than an unwieldy bundle of receipts. Different colors, different shapes, different paper textures: they’re inherently annoying to organize and almost no one bothers to even try. As a result, they just accumulate wherever they get thrown and clutter your entire workspace up. And who wants to sit down and sort them out at tax time? (Neither do we.)

That’s why Shoeboxed is such a godsend. For reasonable fees, Shoeboxed will automatically scan and categorize all the receipts you send them. Just bundle them up into an envelope, send them in, and a few days later, you’re organized – with no effort or organization on your part whatsoever.

Basecamp

It’s true: a shocking number of offices have no real project management system at all. Instead, initiatives move forward on the backs of unstructured Word documents, back of the napkin sketches and other stopgap measures that create more chaos than clarity. To become both efficient and paperless in one shot, switch to Basecamp.

A flagship product of 37Signals, Basecamp is a fully web-based project collaboration tool that centralizes every project management task you have. To-do lists, milestones, deadline reminders and document sharing are all standard features. From day one, everything you used to scribble down or print out becomes exponentially easier to just store in Basecamp instead. A free trial is available, as are pricing options to support virtually any budget.

Additional Resources: Visit HP to find products such as scanners or a laptop.

How To Be Found Online Podcast

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Today Is The Day To Kickstart An Affiliate Business

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