The Five Best Small Business Software Applications
Posted Mar 14th 2010 4:40PM by Guest blogger
Filed under: Products and Services , Small Business
People who have the entrepreneurial spirit are familiar with the unique adrenaline rush that comes from the live-or-die risk of starting a business . For many, small business is a way of life that represents long hours and near-obsessive passion. With all the pressure and time constraints riding on a small business, what are the five best software applications that can greatly help these start-ups or modest operations? There are definitely some critical software choices that make a small business more efficient and more effective. And better yet, three of them are free.
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The gold standard for accounting software, Intuit’s ( INTU ) QuickBooks can seem rather intimidating at first, but small businesses should give it a shot and find out why it is the most reliable choice. The menus are easily navigated, the features are powerful and licensing a copy of QuickBooks allows an organization instant capability to process bills, invoices and deposits for multiple bank accounts. This may be the best of the five small business software applications. Business is all about money, and QuickBooks helps you manage it all around.
The idea of OpenOffice.org is rather audacious. They decided to create, from the ground up, a suite of software programs that nearly identically mimic Microsoft’s ( MSFT ) Office suite in their execution and appearance. The developers did it, and the result is one of the best software applications in the small business world. With its alternately titled programs (Writer, Calc, etc.), OpenOffice provides the exact same capabilities, for free, as Word, Access, Excel and PowerPoint counterparts, including the ability to interchangeably use the Microsoft equivalent files. In other words, Write can open or save Word files. Since the cost of licensing a full suite of Microsoft Office can be a notable expense for a small business, OpenOffice presents a fantastic solution to provide database, spreadsheet, word processing, and presentation capabilities.
Although other programs are making strides to catch up, Firefox, as a web browser, stays at the top of the heap for one of the best small business software applications. Internet Explorer has a history of being buggy and open-source-unfriendly, yet many still use it, resisting the free Firefox download. Firefox provides excellent web browsing with add-on options for small apps, enhanced security against viruses and malware and, quite frankly, is the much trendier browser, which means that many website developers design with a Firefox view in mind. Web browsing may seem like a minor issue, but considering the utility of Firefox add-ons such as DownloadHelper and Pixel Perfect, Firefox is the clear choice for small businesses looking to take advantage of e-commerce online.
4. Adobe Creative Suite
Even small businesses must be mindful of essential business basics and concepts such as marketing, promotions, branding, target audiences and graphic design. Considering the massive importance of an attractive image, companies should not be fooling around with clip art and crude pixelated drawings when customer retention and a healthy profit is on the line. Whatever the project, from postcards to logos, the Adobe’s ( ADBE ) Adobe Creative Suite is the best small business software application, simply because its power is unrivaled, and with a little tinkering, anyone can produce professional-quality imaging.
The free program CutePDF allows any small business to transfer its documents and images into universally accessible pdf documents, which allows for more expansive, easier vendor and customer relations and makes this application clearly one of the five best. Anyone in business who uses e-mail and the Internet should be familiar with pdf files, usually opened by the Adobe Acrobat program. These are static document files that are popularly used because, unlike Word or other documents, they can be easily distributed and used by people without having to download compatibility packs or otherwise account for software differences. The pdf files also have the advantage of being unalterable and weigh in with a small file size. And if you do not have the full Acrobat program, you cannot convert a file to pdf, but only read others. However, CutePDF puts all those advantages right at hand.
These five software applications clearly make many elements of managing a small business a lot simpler.
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