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There are many steps involved in setting up a small business, which may include finding and setting up an office space, registering with one’s state, creating a logo, hiring employees, etc. In addition, in the 21st century, it pretty much goes without saying that investing in small business software will be another important element of getting up and running. Choosing the best small business software for you requires several different factors into account and may involve purchasing several different types of software, including word processing software; a spreadsheet or database program; accounting, tax, and/or general financial applications; and retail, payroll, and asset management software applications.
When you’re considering which small business software to choose, the first thing you should consider is security. Anti-spyware, anti-virus software, anti-malware, anti-spam, and a good firewall are all important investments. Along with these investments, you should set up strong passwords and quality security on a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network), for example, or log-ins. Keeping software up-to-date with the most recent released versions is also important for security.
Another thing you should consider is whether what you need has common points with home software you have or software you’ve used previously. This will allow you to draw on what you know both in terms of working with specific programs, but also in terms of your experience with different software developers. Consider not only how well you know the program — which could cut down on learning time — but also the kind of customer support you’ve received and anything else that could potentially save you time and/or money. For the sake of workflow, consider suites of products that are made to work together, as long as they provide the features you need.
A third consideration in buying small business software is whether the particular applications you’re considering are standard in your industry and whether they’re at least relatively easy to use. Both could make a difference if employees will be using the software, because it’s more likely that they’ll be able to get down to business sooner. The first point — using small business software that’s standard — can also come into play in interoperability with both vendors and clients. It’s a different situation with small business software that is only used within the company. For in-house work that doesn’t interface with others, inexpensive, free, or shareware software may be appropriate, as long as you’re sure it’s free of malware.
For working with others at a distance consider collaborative online software. This can allow document sharing, or even joint work on documents. In addition, collaboration and communication can be benefited by instant messaging, videochats, and webinars. For specialized functionality, you may wish to investigate open source or GNU (GNU’s Not Unix) “free” software, which — while you may have to pay for it — is modifiable/adaptable to your purposes.
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