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A Whole New World...Virtually Anything

Low-cost software programs for accounting, web design, invoicing, and more.

Written By: Cindy Rakowitz
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As millions of the nouveau unemployed begin to transition themselves into entrepreneurs, the first thing they should know is that there are cost efficient services available to them.  There are many former corporate executives who have grown accustomed to the in-house department business model which included research, human resources, accounting, IT,  legal, marketing and the good old-fashioned secretary.  There may be a bit of a learning curve for the old school corporate executives who have become reliant on live personnel in a physical world.

The Software as a Service concept is a term that was created in the informational service industry many years ago.  SaaS was thought of as a low-cost way for businesses to obtain rights to use software as needed versus licensing all devices with all applications which can be very costly.  The marketing and branding efforts that were collectively put into this category have truly turned SaaS products into household names. Today, the small business owner might not be familiar with the term SaaS, but they certainly recognize some of the products like FreshBooks, IAC-EZ, Zoomerang and Shoeboxed. The new SaaS user will also learn that many of these brands “integrate” with each other offering the convenience of  multiple business services in one place, and discounted monthly package rates.

Here is a quick summary of some of the SaaS products that small business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs and sole proprietors should take note of:

IAC-EZ
At a time of decreasing bottom lines and increasing concern about where every dollar goes, IAC-EZ makes it easier for small-business owners and freelancers to spend less money on their bookkeeping and more time on their business. Just introduced, IAC-EZ is the ultimate online bookkeeping tool for people who hate numbers, know nothing about accounting and still want an accurate, efficient way to keep track of their business records.www.iac-ez.com.

FRESHBOOKS
FreshBooks is an online invoicing service that re-invents how professionals, freelancers and small service-based businesses invoice their clients by helping them save time and get paid faster with Fortune 500 looking records. Ninety-nine percent of FreshBooks' customer base, which mainly consists of creative professionals, would refer the service to a friend. FreshBooks is easy to use and offers a free trial at www.freshbooks.com.

SHOEBOXED
Shoeboxed.com organizes and manages receipts online. From simple bookkeeping to tax returns, users save time and gain control with Shoeboxed's innovative program. Users can scan and upload receipts for free on the website and can subscribe to a Receipt Mail-In account to send receipts to the company. Shoeboxed will scan and upload them into a secure online account where they can be accessed, organized, and exported to popular desktop applications like Excel and Quicken.

CLOUDWORKS
Cloudworks is completely web-based. Users and their colleagues simply login through a web browser to access their desktop, server, software, files, email. .everything. Cloudworks works with both Macs and PCs and virtually any web browser. Cloudworks means the entrepreneur can access its software and files from anywhere. As it turns out, this is pretty darn convenient for the small sales force with folks on the road all the time. A user can work on the road—or from home—painlessly and transparently. Most importantly, if the user encounters technological difficulty, there is a live helpdesk available 24/7. 

WATERCMS
WaterCMS is a simple-to-use website development system for businesses large and small. Get a beautiful business website design with content that the small business owner can personally update and manage including blogs, calendars, forms, payments and much more!

SURVEYMONKEY
Using just your web browser, the small business owner can create a survey with www.Surveymonkey.com’s intuitive survey editor. The user  can select  from over a dozen types of questions (multiple choice, rating scales, drop-down menus, and more. .).  Powerful options allow the user to require answers to any question, control the flow with custom skip logic, and even randomize answer choices to eliminate bias.

Cindy Rakowitz is CEO of BR Public Relations and radio host of Stars of PR 2.0 on www.voiceamerica.com.  Cindy is formerly a division President for Playboy Enterprises Inc.  After many years of traditional corporate life in the physical world, she has learned how to navigate the virtual world—and credits new technology for her entrepreneurial success.

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