What Works for Business is constantly on the lookout for the most helpful products, services and solutions for small business and startups. Many are brand new; others just haven’t been widely discovered yet. Here are my latest favorites, in 10-second bites:
Put Your Receipt Shoebox Online: Shoeboxed.com is one of those simple, super-practical solutions that can make a busy business owner’s life easier — and save money, too. Send Shoeboxed your receipts and business cards. They will scan and automatically categorize them so you can track spending, run reports and export data to accounting software. Great for tax organization, expense reports, returns and exchanges, insurance claims and more. Plans start at $9.95/month.
Make Your Phone an Office: QuickOffice is quickly becoming a “go-to” app for turning smart phones into complete office productivity devices that can view, create and edit Microsoft Office documents, conduct ecommerce transactions and more. See their full suite of apps at QuickOffice.com.
Read your Voicemail: Hate listening to voice messages? PhoneTag will convert your voicemails to text and send them to you by email or text message so you can review them more quickly. Save time by reading your voicemail from your mobile, home and work phones, all in one place. Nothing to download, and there’s a free trial. Pay 35 cents per message; or $29.95 monthly for unlimited.
Place Ads Easily on Cable: Bid4Spots is a new online marketplace for cable TV advertising that organizes cable advertising down to neighborhood level and offers new ways to get local TV airtime at a discount.
Try Web-based Order Fulfillment: Shipwire is an on-demand, web-based order fulfillment service that can take some of the hassle out of shipping, transporting and logistics. Scale up or down easily, and maybe save money on shipping over your current methods.
Get Easy Tax Answers Online: Need quick, expert answers to your specific business tax questions, 24/7? The e-Tax Hotline is a web-based service offering professional tax advice on a subscription basis at $29.95 monthly. Tax professionals will answer your toughest tax questions and offer money-saving tips.
Guard Your IP Assets: ProtectedPDF Small Business Edition, just out from Vitrium Systems, is a terrific way to guard valuable information your business has in PDF form. ProtectedPDF is a web-based app that lets you limit the number of computers a PDF can be viewed on, disable printing or set a variety of permissions.
Organize and Share Travel Plans More Easily: TripIt helps turn business travel chaos into order. Send your travel details — airline tickets, hotel bookings, rental cards, restaurants — and TripIt will organize it all into one master online itinerary that you can use yourself and easily share with others. They also throw in maps and directions. There’s an iPhone app, too.
End Phone-Menu Frustration: Hate those endless big-business phone menus that make you wade through mind-numbing lists of options? Fonolo.com can help you avoid phone menu frustrations. They’ve compiled the phone menus from hundreds of big companies into a system that gets you directly to the department you want. Use any phone; no software needed; and it’s free.
Find Franchises by State: As franchise ownership gains popularity, some of the big chains are selling out of available territories, while many newer brands are available only in select states, making it hard for prospective buyers to find what they want. State Franchises is a new franchise portal that lists franchise opportunities by state.
Buy or Sell a Business Online: BizGopher.com is a new social networking type site that aims to bring business buyers and sellers together. What’s different about this one? “We use the latest technology such as Google maps, analytical charting and raking systems,” says Christian Screen, Pres.
Compare Small Business Credit Cards: A credit card isn’t just a convenience, it’s a vital business tool for many entrepreneurs. But the Credit Card Reform Act of 2009 will radically change terms and payment rules on many cards. CreditDonkey is a site that helps small business owners compare card terms and find the best ones for their business.
Try Free Online Bookkeeping: Outright.com and oDesk.com have teamed up to make free online bookkeeping easily available to self-employed professionals. Some 220,000 professionals who use oDesk now get easy access to Outright.com’s simple web-based bookkeeping software.
Get a Free LLC Agreement: MyLLLagreement.com is a new legal site offering customized LLC operating agreements for free. “Our philosophy is that entrepreneurs deserve to have law firm qualify LLC agreements without having to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees,” says Adam Bergman, President.
Find Clean & Green Products and Services: ThomasNet just launched a new way for companies and nonprofits to find products and services that are cleaner and greener, including earth-friendly products, manufacturers building “green” parts into their machines, and more.
Take an Online Class in Social Networking: Seems like everyone’s tweeting today. And more professionals are on LinkedIn. Facebook is just as important as your own website. But how can business owners and sales professionals best use social media networking to their advantage. SellMoreStore.com has a new online Social Networking for Business Development course that can show you how.