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Small Business Hardware and Software / Web Application Recommendations

Hardware, software, tools and gadgets for the virtual, computer-based small office/home office business - with mini reviews!

Recommended Software and Web Applications

Are you a small business or organization with a great logo, and clients or members who would wear it with pride? Then you really need to check out CafePress.com! Create all sorts of merchandise or your own custom designs - and much more. Read my mini review here to find out what is possible.

Quite possibly the SMARTEST thing I ever did for my business and cash flow was start accepting credit cards from my clients. After much research, I selected Practice Pay Solutions for this service a year ago. Practice Pay Solutions delivers personalized, convenient, and reasonably priced credit card, electronic check, and e-commerce processing solutions. What fascinates me about this company is that I'm often treated like their ONLY client - I'm that important - and yet, I know they have many, because they are endorsed by a number of very large professional associations. Their integrity and dedication in delivering these business services to independent professionals and entrepreneurs is outstanding and I've never regretted my choice for a moment!

MP3 Sound Stream is an incredibly easy way to add streaming audio to your web site, with a Flash player. Flash, installed already on 98% of computers according to Macromedia, let's the audio stream instantly when your visitor clicks a button. Read more here.

This is pretty wild - a service that lets you accept credit cards with a touch tone phone from your customers for a really reasonable rate. Wow - you don't even need a computer terminal to accept payments! I already use Practice Pay Solutions so I haven't tested this but I imagine that especially if you travel - musicians, vendors, anyone else who processes payments from various locations - this would be a GREAT service for you to look into!

This is an amazing little service that makes it easy for just about anyone to do basic maintenance on their own web site without needing to learn fancy software or stumble over a lot of bells and whistles. Edit.com has been tested and approved by SOHO It Goes - if you need a basic site set up with the ability to edit the text yourself, this is worth a look.

I am madly in love with the AmazingMail.com service, and design and send postcards through this site all the time. What an incredible boon for relationship marketing - a fast, easy way to prospect, stay in touch, remind, make offers - you can't beat this! Read about all the ways you can use postcards.

Aweber is probably the most popular auto responder package on the market today and is used heavily by all the great info-gurus of our time. I tried it out - and ended up not using it only because I wanted to tightly integrate with my merchant account and an affiliate program, but it was VERY powerful. If delivering marketing, courses and training through auto responders is your goal, you can't go wrong with this one.

Microsoft XP
I think they finally got it right, or darn close to it. Incredibly user friendly, real plug and play, and rock solid.

Phone Shark
I use Phone Shark calling cards for all sorts of things - love how I can place an order (or quickly rebuild a past order) and have a # and pin # to call with some obscenely low rate within seconds. Very handy for reaching overseas clients without paying the usual international rates

This is one of the greatest little pieces of software I've ever owned. Its a database for saving bookmarks of web sites, which allows you to search them by keyword. Totally indispensable!

BizPlanBuilder®, MarketingBuilder®, Contract Templates [Mini Review]
These software applications are an industry standard for business planning, marketing planning, public relations planning and much more... check out the award winning
business planning software from JIAN

W3Data: Prospect411
In order to market you need people and businesses to market to - Prospect411 is where you can go to get marketing lists and sales leads quickly and easily.

If you're like me, you've tried every online messaging service in the universe going all the way back to iRC. This nifty little tool allows you to chat through AOL IM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, and ICQ, in one interface -- thwarting all the foolish blocking that these services do to each other.

If you like the sound of Trillian but are on a Mac, I have it on good authority that Fire is a good alternative!

My favorite office equipment & Hardware

Treo 600 with folding keyboard
The love of my life! I have never owned a piece of hardware that meant as much to me as this little guy does. Read the love letter, er, review that I wrote about it and you'll see why. I've been quoted as saying that I think this kind of technology is the best thing to happen to small office/home office types since the Internet set us free in the first place. Believe it!

Imak Products with Ergobeads

Microsoft Optical Intellimouse
I LOVE this mouse! Optical mice in general are a wonderful invention, but this particular mouse has a side buttons which propel you Back and Forward in a web site -- if you surf a lot you will wonder how you lived without one of these.

Microsoft Natural Keyboard
After 15+ years of banging on keyboards, my fingers were starting to feel the stress -- but since switching to this keyboard, I have been able to resume my 75 wpm typing speeds without pain.



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