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 “Whether it’s Google or Apple or free software, we’ve got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes.”

-Bill Gates

small business softwareOne of the first things on your list of things to do has to be to grab yourself some essential software.  The days of using pen and paper are long, long gone.  Without the right software to enhance your productivity, you are really not in business at all.

The types of software that you will need will, to some extent, depend on the type of business you have.  But there is a basic list of software that every company will need.  These include:


Accounting Software

There are literally hundreds of different accounting software packages that you could use.  A great accounting package is a must have.  It will track your expenses and revenues, calculate profits (which hopefully you will have a lot of) and even get your tax information ready for you.

Inuit offers a  nice array of accounting packages with Quickbooks and Quicken.  You can purchase simple software for the individual and really small business all the way to complex packages for businesses large and small.  Also, Freshbooks is “accounting software for the non-accountant.  Get a free trial here.


Communications Software

Let’s face it. If you aren’t communicating with people, you aren’t really in business.  Hopefully, the better you communicate with people, the greater your profits will be.

Skype has revolutionized the way business people communicate.  Now, anywhere you have a WIFI connection and your laptop you can have a video call to anywhere in the world, for free.  Set up Skype on your laptop before you do anything else.

Can you remember the days before there was email?  I can’t.  Modern communications is heavily dependent on fast, reliable email.  The email industry is extremely well-developed and there are hundreds of email clients available.

Outlook, by Microsoft is the most used email client there is.  It comes with the Microsoft Office software package (which we will talk about below) so it might just be the simple choice.  G  Opera Mail, Dreammail and i.scribe have all also gotten good reviews lately.


Software for Creating Documents

ms office
The ability to create documents of many types is another important ability.  While there are some competitors, MS Office is the premiere software for word processing (Word), spreadsheets (Excel), publishing (Publisher), creating presentations (Power Point), email service (Outlook) and more.  You can purchase these programs bundled, through the cloud and on an individual basis.  Get the Microsoft Office Suite for $6.99/month right now.

One nice feature of purchasing the MS Office bundle is that the look and feel of all your document creation programs is the same.

Google Docs offers a free web based product that supports word processing, spreadsheets, presentation creation and more.  Because it is a web base system you can access your material from anywhere.

Adobe Reader is another must have free software.  It allows you to download and read PDF files from anywhere in the world.  PDF is a file format that many, many documents come in.  Download Adobe Reader here.


Creative

So you want to be creative?  Use photographs that look great or make a web site or video.  The Adobe Creative Suite is the only way to go.

It started with Photoshop and enhancing your photographs, but Adobe has now gone so much further. With their Creative Cloud application you can pick and choose among those programs that you will use on a regular basis.  You can also download then all if you like.

Adobe offers programs for illustration (Illustrator), photography (Photoshop), web site creation (Dreamweaver), video (Premiere), video special effects (Aftereffects) and a whole lot more.

There are thousands of software packages available for your business.  What you use and how you eventually use it will depend a lot on you, and on the type of business you are in.  The products listed above are just a few of the host of choices available to you, but you should now have an idea of the types of programs you should be looking at and a starting place for your search.


Customer Service

Sales, Service and post sale support and repeat business can be automated and streamlined with the help of customer service platforms like Zendesk.  Don’t run your customer support through your email inbox.   Also, customer service software provides an opportunity to automatically post FAQ’s to a customer portal, and other important documentation.  Try Capsule for great CRM Software.


Backup

Backing up your files is easy and automatic with backup software.   Carbonite is a leading online backup solution.