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5 Tools You Need to Run Your Online Business from Your Laptop

Running your online business while on vacation? Managing your manpower while you’re on the daily transport to and from your workstation? Sorting out your small company’s projects as you board on the next flight to Paris?

A few years ago, hardcore, career-oriented individuals would shudder at the thought of running your online business from anywhere but home.

That’s not the case anymore. Technology has again given us another reason to celebrate. After all, running your online business is now entirely possible anywhere you are, as long as you bring your laptop – be it a powerful notebook or an ultra-portable netbook.

Let me give you five tools that will help make your efforts at online business administration a breeze. Some of these are free, some are paid; in one way or another, one thing is sure: these are among the best tools that can help you increase your efficiency (and your profits, of course!) as you work away from your laptop.

Online Accounting: Intuit’s Quickbooks

Intuit’s Quickbooks provides a convenient solution to a problem you would pay somebody thousands just to solve: accounting. Even without any accounting experience, you can make accurate records of where every penny in your business goes, track the inventory of your products and payments made, and create and send invoices (There’s no need to create sheets and sheets of documents that can easily be misplaced).

Intuit's Quickbooks

Quickbooks is a portal that can contain all financial information about your small business. With its fast billing system, you can even create purchase orders and send them with its automatic tracking system. Other notable features include the Customer Center, where you can see customer trends, billing information and Industry Trends.

Time Tracking: Replicon’s Web Timesheet

Here’s a time tracking software that you can try for 30 days. With Replicon’s Web Timesheet, you can effectively track the attendance of your employees in your online business. This is especially important if you’re employees are working remotely from their own computers as well.

Replicon’s Web Timesheet

Replicon’s Web Timesheet integrates the different departments and create a user-friendly system sensitive to your corporate policies. There are also graphical reports that you can generate to get a quick overview of how your employees are performing.

You can also send e-mail notifications that will remind you of what you need to accomplish in your timesheet as-well-as what each employee has to accomplish for the day and how its progress can be tracked. Convenient, isn’t it?

Project Management: Wrike

Wrike is an award-winning project management software for many reasons. One of the top reasons is the capacity to manage multiple projects all in one workspace. In fact, there’s no limit to how many projects you can manage in Wrike.

Wrike's Work Space

Another reason is its Intelligent Email Engine, where you can easily seamlessly integrate your email communications among your members and make sure that every email is well received. The email system will also update concerned members whenever there are changes in certain projects.

Wrike’s Dynamic Timeline feature will also allow you to have a clear, bird’s eye view of what you need to accomplish – with all your current projects shown. (Its timeline feature also allows you to drag and drop tasks and fit it in a schedule).

Another unique feature is its real time integration with Wrike.com. This will allows users to create tasks and set deadlines by simply creating a Wave in Google.

Lastly, it will create tasks without requiring you to log in. Its smart system works automatically once a task is made. This will save you hours of time that you will otherwise spend on administrative tasks like sending reminders.

Another project management software that will allow you to control your finances, manage time sheets, and create projects is CreativePro Office. Because it’s completely free, you will save a lot without compromising project management.

Website Planning: Jumpchart

Creating your company website for your online business can be long, taxing, and unnerving. Believe me, I’ve been there! Thankfully, there’s an application that can help you communicate with your website designer to achieve the exact look you want for your website. That’s exactly what Jumpchart is for.

Jumpchart - Easy Website Planning Tool

As a website planning tool, it will help you plan the look of your website. You can freely navigate, format, drag, drop, add pages and text, and play around with the best color schemes available. With the ease of control, you can always work on your website on your own and save on what you’re going to pay for a freelance website designer.

If you’re still going for the freelance web designing route, you can also place comments on each website page and plan the tasks ahead. You can even ask for multiple mockup pages and pick the best one that your freelancer has done. Once you are satisfied with how the website looks like, you can always export the website into CSS files and have it ready for the Internet. Its free version will offer you 1MB of storage.

Wiki/FTP: PBwiki

As you run your online business from your laptop, you are going to need a reliable file sharing system that will not only allow you to collaborate with other users but also transfer files from one employee to another. This is where PBwiki, a free wiki, will demonstrate its genius.

PBworks - Online Work Environment

With this wiki, you can set access controls for each user. This will make sure that employees will only share and access as much as you allow them to. It’s also good for creating and updating versions of a certain project of your client.

Probably the most important part is its intuitiveness. If you and your employees are going to use it in the long term, they better understand exactly how it works. Once they log in to PBwiki, it will take no more than a few minutes to be familiar with its interface. Before you know it, they’re using this wiki system like a pro!

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Daria says:

    It’s great to see Wrike on your list! and pleasant to know you like Wrike’s unique features! We’re now working on making Wrike even better with the new version. Currently, it is in beta: http://www.wrike.com/beta. Have you seen it already? It would be interesting to hear your feedback. =)

  2. William says:

    Good article.
    Something we use is Glasscubes.com – its an exact cross between Wrike and PBwiki – works well for us, as we’re all remote from each other a lot of the time.

  3. Jackie says:

    Quickbooks is a nice app. And I really like Wrike! It’s the most user-friendly project management tool of all the ones I’ve ever tried. Microblogging is my fave new feature in the beta, good job!

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