Essential Software For the Home Business Owner

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Starting a home business or thinking about starting one? Here are some suggestions for software you need to have on your computer in order to be successful.

Office Suite

Every business must have an office software suite. Luckily, there are numerous solutions at vastly different price points. First, consider the most widely used office suite, Microsoft Office. MS Office includes essential productivity programs such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and in certain versions, a website design program, as well as other accessories and programs. Microsoft Office is the most expensive solution, but there are other office suites such as OpenOffice. OpenOffice is a free solution which includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a drawing program. Another option is an online office suite, like Google Docs, which includes a spreadsheet, word processor and presentation application. With Google Docs, multiple users can collaborate to work on the same documents, even at the same time.

Business Plan Software

For anyone starting any business, business plan software is essential. Popular business planning programs include PlanMagic, BizPlanBuilder and Business Plan Pro. Having a good business plan helps you zero in on your target market, estimate your costs, weigh risks, create a mission statement, define goals and much more.

Accounting Software

Accounting software is another absolute essential for any home business. Good accounting software will streamline all of your accounting related tasks including paying bills, invoicing, managing customer information, budgeting, checking, estimates and more. Top accounting software programs include QuickBooks and PeachTree Accounting. These programs also make tax season much easier, as some tax software allows you to import your data from the most popular accounting programs.

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Utilities

There are also some utilities that will be useful, even essential, for any business owner. For zipping, unzipping and archiving files, a solution like WinZip or WinRAR is a must. In addition, don’t forget security programs like a strong anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall. A calendar or planner program will also come in handy, helping the home business owner to plan and organize their tasks efficiently.

Graphics

Just about every home business owner will need a good graphics program. PhotoShop is the industry standard in this field. However, if you don’t need that kind of professional graphics power, there are better options. Consider PhotoShop Express, which is an online version of PhotoShop, but this version is free. Other options include Gimp, a completely free open source graphics editor and Irfanview, an easier to use and much more basic program that will come in handy for many simpler graphical tasks.

Backup Software

If you have any important business data on your computer, whether it is your sales stats, login information, databases, spreadsheets, word documents or business emails, you simply must perform regular backups. Some popular programs for this task include Acronis True Image and Norton Save & Restore. These programs back up your data by imaging your entire hard disk. Another solution is to use one of the many online backup solutions such as iBackup, Carbonite and iDrive. These solutions back up your data by storing it on one of their servers.

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