There are some great technology products out there to help small and medium sized organizations thrive. I thought I would highlight a few here that you may want to consider for yourself. Whether you are needing to get the inventory organized, more effectively manage your time, or more easily collaborate with colleagues and clients, many of these tools will be effective choices for you to explore.
1. Apple Products
Yup, might as well start the list with Apple. Apple is perfect for small business, no questions. If you are an Apple skeptic… get over it already! Apple computers play well together, get less viruses, have amazing support, and provide software that is easier and cleaner to use. If don’t want to have an entire IT department, then get Apple products. There support is phenomenal, but you most likely won’t need it much. Their computers recognize each other, sync well, and rarely get viruses. Of course, products like the MacBook Air and iPad can greatly increase productivity for those of us on the go. I personally use a MacBook Pro for work, a 27″ iMac in my home office, and an iPod touch for mobile web. If you don’t have your office on Apple products, you should.
2. 37 Signals Products
Some of you may already be familiar with Jason Fried who is behind the 37 Signals products. If you are looking for cost effective products to manage projects, track time, manage customers, and increase collaboration with clients and coworkers, then you should check out the 37 signals products. Basecamp is a project management software that I personally use. You can set milestones and to do lists, as well as assign these lists to specific people. The upper levels of this software allow you to even track time you spend on projects, as well as the time your employees, vendors, or customers spend on these projects. There are many other helpful features for Basecamp that make it perfect for small business project management. 37 Signals also offers other products like Highrise to manage your contacts, Backpack to organize and store files and calendars, as well as Campfire which is great for teams spread across multiple offices and locations. Because 37 Signals products live “in the cloud” and not on your computer, it makes mobile access and management a breeze.
3. Google Products
When it comes to e-mail for your small business, you really should be using Google business. The cost is only $50 per user, per year. With Google business e-mail you get all the great advantages of Gmail like mobile access and great spam filtering, as well as a host of other more professional options. One of the great little tricks you get with Google pro e-mail is the ability to set aliases for your e-mail address. So, if you are email@example.com you can also set firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for a more professional look. Of course, you get the other great products from Google as well such as file sharing in the cloud, Google calendar, and much more. Why host e-mail on a local server and deal with all the hassle. Put it out in the cloud with Google and let them manage it for you. It’s a great product.
4. MAS90 from Sage
When it comes to managing the books, sales orders, quotes, and inventory for a small business I always suggest MAS90 for a step up from Quick Books. Mas90 is an expandable software that lets you get the modules you need now, and grow as your business grows. It allows you to create quotes, sales orders, inventory reports, and much more. This is a great step up software than I have found to be very helpful for small business. I would highly suggest taking a look.
These are some of the Thrive technology picks for small business. Have you used any of these and found them effective for your business? What other technology have you found to help your company Thrive? Leave us your comments!