Small Business Expert
Essential hints, tips & business advice for startups & entrepreneurs.
If you’re an entrepreneur, especially for a small, independent business, then you’re going to have to learn a few things. First, you need to learn how to thrive on peanut butter sandwiches (at least until you start seeing some financial success). Second, you need to know about the best apps and programs for helping an entrepreneur get his or her business off the ground.
You need programs and/or apps for communication, organization, and managing your finances. Luckily, it’s all out there, and whenever it’s not free, at least it’s affordable. Here are the five best programs and applications for any entrepreneur who’s scrambling to find his or her footing in a frenzied time.
Evernote – Evernote is a free-to-download program that lets you save ideas, pictures, and sounds. It’s available across multiple smartphones, tablets, and computers, including PC, Mac, iOS, Blackberry, Android, and Windows Phone. Evernote’s search function lets you find what you’re looking for without a hassle. Never forget a prospective client’s name ever again—unless you really want to, for whatever reason.
FlightTrack Pro – Available for iOS or Android, FlightTrack Pro is a must-have application for anyone who spends a considerable amount of time in the air. With the touch of a few buttons, you can look up your detailed flight information, including possible delays and gate numbers. FlightTrack Pro even informs you of cancellations and suggests alternative flights. If your flying experience turns into a scheduling nightmare, you’re going to want FlightTrack Pro by your side.
Skype – Free Skype-to-Skype phone calls with clients or other workers can save you a bundle in phone bills. More importantly, whenever you travel out of the country, Skype-to-Skype calls via smartphone apps will prevent you from having to give up your first born child in roaming fees.
Dimewise – Dimewise helps you manage your budget as simply as possible. You can record and categorize your purchases, then take a look at your spending habits with the aid of a handy pie-chart. Dimewise is web-based, so you can access it anywhere you can find a browser.
Trillian – Many companies conduct a great deal of business via IM (instant messaging) chats. Problem is, everyone has their favorite, and they’re often not cross-compatible. Fear not. Trillian lets you log into several of your favorite chat clients at once, saving you the agony of having to juggle multiple programs. Trillian supports AIM, Windows Live Messenger, ICQ, IRC, Google Chat, Facebook Chat, and much more. It can be downloaded as a desktop program, or as an app for iOS, Android, or Blackberry.
For more great suggestions on programs that every entrepreneur should have, visit:
Top 25 Apps to Grow Your Business at AvivaDirectory
10 Best Digital Tools for Entrepreneurs at Forbes
10 Must-Have Business Apps for 2011 at Entrepreneur.com
Our connected world lets us communicate from anywhere, shop from anywhere, and (as is becoming increasingly common) work from anywhere. Telecommuting is a big hit with many companies, and employees don’t mind being spared the agony of spending time and gas money on long commutes.
But even though more and more of us are working from home, we still require face-to-face time with our co-workers and bosses for meetings, brainstorming, conferences, and heck, even the pleasure of idle chatter. If you work from home, or if you run a large or small business, consider one of these five best programs for top-notch web video conferencing and video chat services. It goes without saying that you need a PC or a Mac equipped with a webcam to use each program’s video function.
Also be sure to see the many solutions which Citrix offers, which come highly recommended as well.
Skype – Skype was one of the first players in the VoIP and video conferencing game. As a result, its huge head start has provided the program with ample time to grow and evolve way beyond a cost-effective means of making phone calls over the Internet. Nowadays, you can use Skype to make video calls one-on-one or with a group, and you can even use Skype to learn a new language.
Google+ Hangouts – Google has been getting its fingers into everything communications-related, and video conferencing is no exception. Google+ Hangouts is a plug-in for Google+ that allows you to conference with your friends via high-quality video and audio. It’s an especially good choice for one-on-one meetings, or small businesses.
Cisco WebEx Meeting Center – With its lifespan of 16+ years, WebEx is among the most seasoned of web-conferencing solutions. It’s also one of the best-known. WebEx has millions of users, as well as the power of familiarity. WebEx is a power-house that has no problem supporting up to six videoconferencing feeds, nor does it ask users to fool around with plug-ins or apps.
MSN Messenger – MSN Messenger is another extremely well-known option, and it’s price (free!), easy availability, and familiarity make it a decent choice for small video conferences.
Adobe Connect – Adobe Connect is one of the most well-polished and customizable pieces of video conferencing available here and now. Up to 100 users can participate in a video conference, share files, access each other’s desktops, and tons more. Adobe Connect may be a bit over-the-top for a small business owner or two pals who are just looking to chat, but it’s a prime choice for corporations in need of a reliable and flexible video conferencing option.
Need more recommendations for video conferencing software? Visit:
Best Web Conferencing Software at PC Mag
5 Best Video Chat Applications at LifeHacker
Best Video Conferencing Software at About.com
While the grunts and groans in response to your daily interrogations about how the school day went may seem like communication, the truth is that finding shared activities and accomplishments can increase family connections, and even improve things like communication. So if you’re ready to organize a family game night in your household, here are some tips on how to pull it all together.
Make it a tradition – Set a night of the week and make it your weekly family game night. Perhaps you can alternate Friday nights between movie and game night every other week. Before long, you may find that both you and your kids are looking forward to the chance to take each other on, and you need to designate a separate day of the week for game time.
Choose Games Together – Whether you want to go with a democratic vote or rotate the family member in charge of the picking the game every week, make the game selection itself a fun party of family game night. Consider a competition the week before, or maybe rewards for chores being done. And take a trip to the toy aisle together and work together as a family to choose a fun game.
Make sure everyone is comfortable – Either gather round the kitchen table to put pillows on the ground, but make sure everyone has a comfortable area and space to sit, because ideally you’ll be playing for at least an hour together, if not more.
Provide healthy finger foods and drinks – There’s gonna be snacking going on during game night, and while chips and appetizers are delicious, make sure to provide apple slices, carrots and hummus or other healthy alternatives that can easily be grabbed and munched on the go. Make some lemonade, or even lemon water, and have a pitcher close by so no one needs to leave the action to go restock.
Declare it a no-tech zone – It won’t kill you, or your kids, to put down the phones and stop texting or checking e-mail a bit. Focus on the family and fun, and make a rule that there’s no using your phones or other devices while playing. Put them all together in a special bag or place, and make sure everyone sticks to the rule.
Mix Up The Teams – While it’s fun to have mom and dad vs. the kids from time to time, mix up the teams so that everyone gets a chance to play with, and against, each other. Invite neighbors, friends or other relatives over from time to time, as well.
Make Awards – Whether it’s a traveling trophy or special recognition on the refrigerator, keep a prize going from week to week to make sure you are battling for more than just pride. Kids will love competing for a tangible benefit, and it’s also a great teaching opportunity to learn about lessons associated with winning and losing. You can also have other prizes for things such as “Best Teammate” or “Funniest Moment” that you award every time you play.