Small business enterprises are often run from a small office with just a few computers. The right business software programs are essential to running the operations of your store, office or enterprise. With the right software, you can even run your business right from your home. Here are some of the most essential software programs for any small business or home business.
Dragon Naturally Speaking
This is a nifty program that allows you to speak into a microphone and have your words turned into text. You can record thoughts on the fly, and have them transcribed onto paper in minutes. This is a solid voice recognition software application that could make your life a lot easier. Spend 2 hours getting it set up and teaching it to recognize your voice. By the end of the day you’ll have a valuable tool. Dictate letters, documents or just notes to yourself. I especially use it for the latter, to scatter ideas onto paper. Cost is $199 for the full package.
PDF Converter Pro
Also from Nuance, this program will convert your PDF files into Word documents. Let’s face it, PDF files are the worst invention of all time. As a translator I often reject jobs that involve PDF’s, and I find that working with them is a bit like working with a rock. There is no flexibility. Use a solid PDF Converter to change them into more workable, flexible text documents. Most good conversion programs cost about $75 to $190, and this one is $99. Free online converters will just give you blocks of graphic files. Those free converters are useless. You need a good OCR (Optical Character Recognition) within the conversion program.
Free and open source, Open Office is the best solution for all your writing and editing needs. Its 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 OO for more than a year now, and I find them easier and more functional that their competition. There is even a plug-in for translators to translate works sentence by sentence. 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.
Turbo-Cash Free Accounting
Free is always a good word for small businesses. Turbo-Cash is a free accounting program that allows you to manage your daily business operations. It is open source, and has good forum help in an online community. It is also available for many phones and mobile / wap devices. The price is zero, but the performance is high.
Another open source software package is Joomla. Use ir for website design, especially for small businesses sites and portals. 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. There is a solid and extensive online community for help.
A free software app you can download and use in your business. Subscribe to a few of their extra services, such as voice mail and Skype-out, for under $100 per year. One handy feature is that you can call clients who also have Skype, and you can share your desktop with them. That means, the clients on the other end can see your presentation as you make it right on the screen. You can search inside files and they can follow you and watch. This is also a great tool for training clients or staff long-distance on programs accessible from your desktop.
OM is an application combined with an online service. Office Medium allows you to collaborate with others. Share with clients, staff, and anyone you need to collaborate with. Store and share documents, schedule and announce events, and exchange comments on projects, work, or documents. Set up tasks and take polls on new ideas. The cost starts at $6 per user, and is especially useful for small businesses.