As we enter the month of December, I can’t help but look back at the year that was. The thousands of new businesses started, the people we’ve profiled, and the technology applications that have made our lives complete. In no particular order of preference, I give you my top 5 technology applications of 2008.Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’
1.Basecamp – the backbone of the business. This project management software helps us keep on top of things. By logging in, the team can see the status of each client and contribute to future projects. It saves on sending group emails and files and keeps your thoughts and intelligence in one place. To clients, it makes you look super-organised. Cost: $49 per month (£32)
2.Skype – our virtual water cooler, video conference system and podcast production kit. Yes, we do lots with Skype! It’s a versatile product that at its most basic level offers an instant messaging service. Taking it to the next level allows you to connect with customers by webcam or group calls. Cost: Free to download. £20 for basic hand phone or headset.
3.Twitter – pictured above, a perfect way to show off your expertise... and, yes, see what your friends had for lunch. Twitter has had a bad rap for being ‘lightweight’ and ‘a form of virtual stalking’ but anyone who uses it will know it’s no such thing. Twitter is a tool that is low maintenance, yet powerful. It provides an outlet for your expertise as you tweet in less than 140 words on your thoughts and motions of the day. To be sure, there is a social angle to this neat application but that’s what home business is all about; business mixed with life.
4.Surveymonkey – take polls and run Awards with this cheeky piece of software. Our 2008 Home Business Awards were managed by surveymonkey.com - it was a delight to use and is also cost-effective. Cost: Basic package is free. Cost to upgrade.
5. Blogger and Wordpress – the launch pad for many a home business. These blogging tools have allowed thousands of people to turn a hobby into a business and create a home on the web that generates a financial return. For that reason, blogging platforms make it in to the top 5 list! Cost: Free
There are many other quality applications on the market. A number have been mentioned by members in our forum; from accounting packages like Freshbooks to mail shot programmes like Mailchimp. As for the applications we’ll be testing at Enterprise Nation in 2009, they include news feed Yahoo Pipes, sales tool Go To Webinar and customer relationship software, salesforce.com. It’s going to be another busy year!
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