Small Business Software Shopping Tips

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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.

Copyright Christopher J. Enders. Are you at the end of your rope, fed up and confused by all the scrambled internet marketing advice you're getting? Whether you are new to internet marketing, or a website owner who wants to make more money from your website, learn the proven strategies that will sky-rocket your internet business at


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