As a software entrepreneur people often ask me for advice on the best online tools to use for their small business. So, here is an extensive list that we (Hware) have compiled to help you get your work done. Some of the tools we use daily, some a few times a week, some a few times a month, and some a few times a year. Most of all, we use all these tools for the following reasons:
1. It helps us become more efficient in our workflow.
2. It increases our productivity.
3. It saves us money or decreases costs.
4. Most are free or low cost.
5. We will get a Return On the Investment (ROI).
One more thing, most of these tools must pass, what we call the “Brenda Test.” What that means is the software tool must be very user friendly (yes, I decide if the User Interface sucks and so should you) otherwise, it doesn’t make the cut. It’s pretty much the same philosophy we have with our own software. We believe that software should be simple and easy to use.
Be sure to bookmark it and use it as a future reference.
Evernote: For taking notes, especially on the go!
ScreenFlow: For creating high-quality software demos, tutorials, app previews, training, and presentations.
Dropbox: For sharing large files over the internet.
FreshBooks: For consultants who bill for their time.
MadMimi: For sending out e-mails to client database.
Screenshot Plus: For screenshots via a Mac Dashboard Widget
Mac Grab: For Screenshots
MailPlane: For Mac Gmail client application
MS Word 2011 for Mac – compatibility with customers who use Word
MS Powerpoint 2011 for Mac – compatibility with customers who use Powerpoint
MS Excel 2011 for Mac – complex spreadsheets, spreadsheet creation then upload to Google Spreadsheet, compatibility with customers who use Excel
Google Reader: RSS Reader for all my favorite blogs
Google Alerts: email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your queries.
Google Analytics: Website Analytics
Remote access to someone’s computer
These tools are great for trouble shooting a software problem remotely.
Google Apps for Business
…is great for creating business documents, email, spreadsheets, simple forms and presentations.
Primary Web Browser: Google Chrome
Secondary Web Browser: Firefox
Secondary Web Browser for testing websites: Safari and Safari Mobile for iPhone and iPad
Video and Photo
iMovie: Video editing software
iPhoto: Photo management
Audacity: Sound editing
Airfoil: To send wireless sound to other computers, mobile devices, and stereo equipment
Flickr: Photo sharing and management platform
YouTube: Video sharing platform
Vimeo: Video sharing platform
VideoPress: Easily add videos to our WordPress sites
Website, Plug-ins, and Web hosting
WordPress.org : Easy to use website
Studiopress: Website templates
GetPremise: Landing pages for website
Scribeseo.com: Keyword optimization for blogging
Dreamhost.com: Purchasing and managing domain names, DNS, shared hosting
Linode.com – Virtual Private Servers
- Hosting some of our WordPress websites
- Ruby on Rails Application servers
- MySql Database Servers
- Test Servers
Rackspace Hosting (formerly Slicehost.com) – Virtual Private server for our GEMS system (Cloud Software).
Social Networking Platforms
Slideshare: Presentation Platform
LinkedIn: Business Networking platform
Twitter: Social Networking Platform
Facebook: Social Networking Platfrom
Google+: Business and Social Networking platform
Friendfeed: Aggregates all my social networking posts
Meetup: Organizing local meetings
Live Streaming Platforms
Livestream: Live web streaming
Ustream: Live web streaming
- Macbook Pro Chuck’s computer for development and general business use
- iMac 24: Brenda’s computer for general business use
- MacBook Air: Brenda’s computer for presentations, conferences and travel
- Lenovo All in one PC for testing PC development, research, media server, testing our websites
- Kindle Fire: From Amazon, designed for content consumption, i.e., books, websites, blogs, pulse, note taking.
- iPhones – Mobile Phones
- ASUS Transformer – Full Size Tablet for development testing and support
- Sprint MIFI 3G/4G – Mobile Hotspot for testing of mobile apps
- Optoma PX301 – Mini Projector for presentations
- Epson Duet 80-Inch Dual Aspect Ratio Projection Screen, Portable 4:3 and 16:9 Aspect Ratio Screen (ELPSC80)
- Apple Time Capsule for Shared Backup Drive
- Epson Workforce 635 – B&W and Color Printing, Faxing, Scanning
- Bose Headset and Speakers: For development and presentations
- Canon camera: Photo and video for our blog
- Flip Video: video on the run
- Ruby on Rails– For Web App Development and Cloud Services
- HTML & CSS for report and view layout
- Ruby for business logic coding and data processing
- SQL for complex queries
- Flash Builder– for App development
- Textmate – Mac code editor
- Git – version control
- Github.com – for offsite hosting of version controlled code
- Transmit – Mac file transfer to and from our Servers
- Pandora.com – Music to keep us moving
- Navicat for MySQL – MySQL database management
- Navicat for SQLite – SQLite database management
- iTerm – Mac Terminal
- Zipeg – managing compressed files
Small Business Blogs and Resources
Mixergy: Interviews of CEO tech startups and Founders
Pulse: A news reading application for mobile devices
Small Biz Technology: Tech insight and news for small business
Small Biz Trends: News about small business
Zen Habits: A blog about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives.
Seth Godin: A very smart marketer.
Mashable: Technology and digital news
AllTop: An online magazine aggregator
Chris Brogan: Learn how Human Business Works – beyond social media
ProBlogger: Blog tips that help you make money blogging
CopyBlogger: Content marketing solutions for WordPress that work
Penelope Trunk Blog: Advice at the intersection of work and life
Escape From Cubicle Nation: From corporate prisoner to thriving entrepreneur
Each year, the online tools keep getting better and more useful for small business owners. Let me know on the comments below if you found this list of tools useful or any other that you think should be on here.