Chatting with a member of Nevada County Online, a Meetup Group I started in 2010 for local businesses.

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.

Business Apps

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.

Keynote or Powerpoint: For creating presentations.

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.

Video Conferencing

Website Browsers

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 : Easy to use website

Studiopress: Website templates

GetPremise: Landing pages for website Keyword optimization for blogging Purchasing and managing domain names, DNS, shared hosting – Virtual Private Servers

  • Hosting some of our WordPress websites
  • Ruby on Rails Application servers
  • MySql Database Servers
  • Test Servers

Rackspace Hosting (formerly – 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

Hardware Tools

Development Tools

  • 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
    • Actionscript – complex code
    • Mxml – screen layout, views
    • Adobe Air – Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android Phones, Android Tables, Amazon Kindle Fire app deployment
  • Textmate – Mac code editor
  • Git – version control
  • – for offsite hosting of version controlled code
  • Transmit – Mac file transfer to and from our Servers
  • – 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

Spotify: Music

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.


Click here to download a pdf version of the above list.


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