As you develop and build your business, you will find that you need certain types of software tools. At the initial start-up of your business, money can be tight, and many software programs offer a trial program. Once your business grows larger, you will be able to afford better software and full versions of each program.
Here are the 5 software programs every small business must have from day 1:
1. Antivirus software:
A good antivirus program is important. It helps you to protect your data from attack and theft and is updated often to protect against ever evolving threats. Don’t take chances with your data, protect yourself right away with a good antivirus program.
Norton Antivirus has several options at price points starting at around $25 for one user. Some of the features of this antivirus program include:
virus detection and worry free sharing (you won’t pass viruses on to people you send content to). You can also reassure associates and clients by adding a disclaimer in every email you send from your business that states that your email is virus free.
Newer anti-phishing technology;
Up to date virus protection with regular updates to ensure you are up to date and protected against the latest threats.
Purchasing a licence for up to 10 PCs is easy, and you can install the software all at one time, meaning that it is simple to update all computers with a single licence renewal. Norton Antivirus is one of the most reliable and well known antivirus programs available for an extremely reasonable price. You can find it here.
2. Accounting software:
As your business grows, you will find it easier to keep track of your financial matters with a good accounting program. At first you may not be making a great deal of sales, but you should always consider purchasing a good accounting software early on.
Quickbooks Pro is an amazing software program for small business accounting needs. This program is extremely intuitive and easy to understand, even for a person who does not have much accounting experience. It is simple to see exactly how your business is doing with one click financial, tax and sales reports. You can easily schedule daily, weekly and monthly tasks into the program to keep your accounting on track. This program is probably one of the most straight forward programs available, and there is a great support resource if you run into problems. Most important of all, you can rely on accurate records when it comes to tax time! You can find it here.
3. Back up software:
What would happen if you lost your data? What about your website? How long would it take you to recover from such a loss and how would you get your data back? The simple act of using a good software and backing up your data can not only provide piece of mind, it can also save your business. Back up from day one and make it a habit.
The latest technology for back up is the “Cloud”. This is where you back up data offsite to an online database where, if you experience total failure, you can access your data and repopulate your network in a few easy steps.
FolderClone File Mirroring Utility is a great product because it is simple to install and works exactly as the description of the product states. While that may seem obvious, many people experience issues when they try to install, activate and utilize a backup program. Not every small business can afford to hire technical support staff, so the more that a business owner can do on their own, the better.
This “set and forget” solution easily backs up, replicates, synchronizes and mirrors any files that you need onto a wide variety of storage solutions. This software becomes a part of the infrastructure of your network and will become an essential tool to back up data files and synchronize various devices with desktop PCs. Folderclone essentially compares your “source” folder with the “target” folder at intervals which are predetermined by the user. Any changes to a source folder are automatically copied to the corresponding target folder. Many other user configured features are also available.
The main point of having simple to use back up software is that your files are available when something happens to your system and you need to have access to your data. You can find it here.
If you have a website, you should be using a blog extension to keep customers up to date. Customers new and old want to know what is happening with your business, and a good blogging software can help.
Wordpress is a platform that can be installed simply from the web hosting cpanel. This software is a good content management tool, and allows anyone to post updates to it if you provide them with a username and a password. Not HTML savvy? Don’t worry, this program is seriously intuitive and really simple to use. A lot of the functionality of this software is drag and drop. Choosing a theme that has sidebars can allow a lot of different
Once Wordpress is installed, the next step is to choose a theme. A lot of business people want to be able to have more control over their website and Wordpress allows that control with a simple interface. You have the control to update posts as well as respond to comments in real time. Readers who find your content interesting can subscribe to your content with RSS. Another important feature of Wordpress is that it is simple to interact with social media and to optimize all of your content.
5. Email Marketing:
Like it or not, building an email contact list and sending regular email messages is an important way to stay in touch with customers. Thankfully, there are many options available for free if your mailing list is small (which it will be in the initial stages of business).
Mail Chimp is one of the best solutions for email marketing. If you have 2,000 subscribers or less, there is no cost. You can send up to 12,000 emails per month, that equates to 2 emails per subscriber. Free is great when your business is small, and if your list continues to grow you have the option of upgrading to a paid subscription, opening up more options to you.
The interface of this software is simple to use. All you do is choose from several templates and then begin creating your message. If you need to add in extra items, you just choose from items shown on the right hand side of your screen and then drag and drop them into your newsletter. You can send the email out right away or you can schedule it to be sent out at a later time.
As you work with the software, you will gain a better understanding of it and soon you will have no problems with creating a newsletter one or two times per month that your recipients will love. The money is in the list, and if you aren’t building and mailing to a list, then you are certainly leaving money on the table.
With these five essential software programs, your business will have a strong foundation on which to grow.
Source: PCWorld and Amazon
Note: Article updated and republished from original published on April 13, 2013.