Small Business Software Shopping Tips

Choosing the right small business software for your home-based
internet business can be a confusing undertaking to say the
least. It’s a good thing most women love to shop because
otherwise it could be really frustrating. The challenge in
choosing small business software is striking a balance between
what you have to have and what you can afford. There are many
small business software packages that have a number of features
included, even though you may not use all of them. Then, there
are some that are sold in individual modules where you buy only
what you need.

The first step in shopping for small business software is to
distinguish between what you need now, what you want, and what
you might need in the future. The second step is to define your
budget. Never start buying small business software until these
two steps are done. Otherwise, you are likely to buy some of
those things you want, rather than the things you definitely
need, and then you’ll end up with a busted budget and you won’t
have the small business software that is crucial to running your
business.

At a minimum, most businesses need a recordkeeping system, a word
processor and an email program. Other small business software
packages you may or may not need include spreadsheet programs,
database programs, web design and graphic design programs, time
management programs, and desktop publishing programs.

Some small business software packages, like Microsoft® Office
products for instance, have several basic programs that are most
commonly used by small businesses packaged in one small business
software package. Some of the basic recordkeeping or bookkeeping
packages also have several commonly used components included in a
low-priced package. If these small business software suites have
what you need, in addition to things you will need in the future,
sometimes it is most practical to purchase them rather than
buying individual small business software products that may be
more expensive.

Before you spend a dime on small business software, familiarize
yourself with the types of software that are available and their
features as well as their benefits. You may find that there are
software packages that can save you loads of time in operating
your home-based business even if you didn’t previously know what
they were or what they were capable of doing. Research is vital
when choosing small business software for your company.

Here is a quick overview of the very basic, commonly used small
business software:

Word Processors

Word processing capabilities are something that just about every
business needs from its small business software. Word processors
are primarily used for preparing written communication such as
letters and reports. Word processing software can also be used to
prepare information products and web copy for your internet based
business.

Most word processing programs have spelling and grammar checkers
which are important to ensuring that your communications are
grammatically correct. Some word processing programs don’t have
these features, so that is something to watch for when reviewing
small business software that will be used for preparing business
communications.

Email Programs

Many of the small business software packages that include email
programs. A basic email program is usually included with computer
operating systems. Some of the more advanced email packages
include time-saving organizational features that are great for
small businesses. For instance, some have contact organizers with
the capability of grouping your contacts so you can send email
messages to a particular group.

Some have built in SPAM filters that will send junk mail directly
to a junk mail folder, and some have features that automatically
organize your messages into folders for you. While a basic email
program may be sufficient, some of the more advanced email
programs can sure save a lot of time and aggravation.

Recordkeeping Programs

For most businesses, recordkeeping is accomplished through the
use of small business software programs designed for accounting
or bookkeeping, although recordkeeping can be accomplished using
database or spreadsheet programs. A comprehensive recordkeeping
package will have modules for tracking sales and expenses as well
as paying bills and managing accounts receivable.

If you have employees, you need payroll processing capabilities
and if you carry inventory, you need inventory control features.
Some bookkeeping programs integrate with reports from online
sources like eBay® or Elance®, so if you are working with such
marketplaces it may be wise to see what types of recordkeeping
programs are capable of uploading their reports. This capability
will save you lots of data input time.

There are many other types of small business software that you
may find useful. For instance, if you are going to be designing
your own websites, you will need an HTML editor and website
design software. The trick to getting the small business software
that you need is to determine exactly what you are going to do,
then evaluate small business software packages and explore the
numerous capabilities of each. Compare the features, benefits and
prices, and select the small business software that best meets
your needs within your budget.