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5 Useful Web-Based Applications for Businesses

Jan 25, 2009

17135v1-max-450x450.pngImage via CrunchBase

I'm a fanatic when it comes to trying out new Web-based applications that can help me with my work. I am comfortable using the Web for almost any business task. Using Web-based applications is part of "working in the clouds" or using the Web and Internet for major work processes and saving files on the secure servers of third parties providing Software as a Service (SaaS).

Here are a few of my absolute favorite apps, and why I like them.

1. Freshbooks -
When it comes to invoicing, I am not exaggerating when I say that Freshbooks has saved my business. Freshbooks is a Quickbooks-like Web-based invoicing application. While my bookkeeper uses Quickbooks, I never could get in the habit of using it. I was doing all of my client invoicing in Word documents and trying to keep track of them - and the invoice numbers - in a spreadsheet. I made so many invoicing errors that it was costing my company money. Since I started using Freshbooks, my invoicing is actually fun. In fact, I was about to outsource invoices to my bookkeeper but it is so quick and easy to set up and maintain that we decided it was more efficient for me to keep doing them.

2. 5pm -
I used to shout praises all over the Web about Basecamp and for a good 3 years, it served my company very well. But after reviewing over a dozen project management services on the Web, I decided to upgrade to 5pm. The cost is almost the same ($24/month for Basecamp, $28/month for 5pm), but it has some additional features that I really need now that I'm outsource a lot of work to other contractors. The most important to me right now are updates for task progress and the time it took each of us to complete each task for every client. My new business partner can grab that information and analyze how profitable each task is, the kind of indepth analysis that I've been needing to implement but didn't have data from Basecamp.

3. Google Docs -
One of my first forays into cloud working was getting used to uploading my documents to Google Docs and then sharing them securely with others. Now I can't work without Google Docs. In addition to sharing documents with team members as needed, I can also access my docs from any computer when I don't have mine with me and access them on my iPhone. I love that kind of access.

4. InstantConference -
I've used a variety of conferencing apps on the Web but right now, I like the straightforwardness of InstantConference and the fact that I get a number and pin assigned to me that I can use any time rather than having to schedule a call. Oh, did I mention it was free other than the toll-free number for calling in? Useful for those who still want to use an old fashioned phone.

5. Skype -
For long distance calls, conference calls via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol or calls via the Internet) and video conferencing, I've really been getting a lot of use out of Skype. My new business partner has even set our company up with a regular telephone number that goes through Skype. I've only used it from my computer, however, I'm now expanding into Skype phone services.

These are only a few Web apps that can really save business owners time, money and headaches.


Aliza Sherman

Category: Web 2.0

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