As a young entrepreneur I essentially live and breathe technology and can’t imagine running my companies without my laptop and Blackberry – and you probably feel the same. I’d also like to share some useful online software programs I’ve utilized over the years that make my day-to-day much easier. I consider them all essential to my small business operations. I’ve spent years finding the right programs and I’ve packaged them all together for you here!
Microsoft Office Suite
The Microsoft Office Suite is pretty standard in any business, small or large, but I want to first stress that this suite of software is absolutely necessary to business. Microsoft Outlook is a fantastic organizing tool decked out with tasks, calendars, contact management, and the ability to attach multiple e-mail accounts and manage them all from one place. Microsoft Word is essential to any document creation and sharing and Microsoft Excel is a great place to track all your business expenses and income. Microsoft Powerpoint is essential for when you create presentations to give live, online, or create into videos. Overall, I rate the Microsoft Office Suite as a must-have.
If you think the free Adobe Acrobat Reader will suffice for you to see PDF docs, you’re missing out! I have no idea how I would function with the Pro version of Adobe Acrobat. I can combine PDF documents into one file, delete and extract specific pages, and edit parts of PDF docs. I honestly don’t know how I would function without my Adobe Acrobat Pro without killing a tree with my printer – which you can’t afford as a small business owner.
If you run your business from a computer and have yet to be able to build a full-time IT team, utilizing Mozy as a file back-up system is highly beneficial. Instead of manually backing-up, you are able to sign-up (there’s also a free version) and set Mozy to automatically update however often you need to. HUGE timesaver.
Dropbox is a great program to use for sharing large files. You can use the Dropbox program to share online with a link as well by dropping in your file under the ‘Public’ folder where it will create a link that you can send and share your file. This way you don’t have to upload your large files to a hidden place hosted on your website.
Because most of my readers are young entrepreneurs, you likely already know about this browser, but I wanted to throw it in just in case. Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox can be finicky at times and I’ve found the Google Chrome browser to be faster than its older counterparts. The only drawback is there are some sites that are not compatible, but overall the browser is pretty universal.
If you are an entrepreneur and you’re using social media or any online marketing, it’s likely you are creating material and need to read news stories or blogs to know what’s going on in your industry to comment on, help create content, or just want to repost if you think the information would be useful to your audience. Google Alerts make this process much easier by making information inbound instead of taking up your time going out and looking at different sites. You can sign-up and set alerts to be sent to you via e-mail or your Google Reader feed so you spend less time looking for content.
If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur just getting started, it’s likely you don’t want to pay large amounts of money for an expensive anti-virus program. But protecting your computer and it’s files is necessary. The free version of AVG is a great solution for an anti-virus program to protect your online activity.
Almost everyone knows about Go Daddy by now and it’s likely you purchased your domain there. But just to be safe, I want to make sure and share a reputable site to buy your domain name and host it, as well as utilize WordPress and other programs affiliated with Go Daddy and their customer service team when you are stuck and have questions!
This program was very exciting for me to find as it made it easy to record my desktop live, create into a video, and share with the world. Great for pre-recorded presentations and for your YouTube marketing tactics.
Grasshopper is an online virtual phone service for entrepreneurs. I have yet to actually use this system, and generally do not make a habit of backing a program I haven’t had an experience with yet, but I have lots of calls from my virtual assistance business about this service and wanted to provide a solution.