My Top 10 Business Tools

If you’re like me, you use a variety of business tools to accomplish your work in your day-to-day responsibilities.   Without the use of these business tools I would have to do my tasks manually or choose a different tool and lose productivity.  Some tasks, like data analysis, would become nearly impossible.

Since some of the business tools are paid ones, I included free alternatives.

My Top 10 Business Tools

  1. Microsoft Outlook – Composes, organize, and follow up on critical business email. Powerful integration with Microsoft Office makes this the killer app for managing emails.
  2. Microsoft Word – Is my word processor of choice.  I have been using Microsoft Word since it was originally introduced on the IBM PC in the early 1980’s under MS-DOS.  Today is use it to write copy, blog posts, reports, eBooks, project plans, proposals, and just about everything else.  Word does have one flaw though; it really screws up other programs with stupid implementation of HTML and CSS.  Copy and paste word into other rich text editors at your own peril!
  3. Microsoft Excel – I use excel for creating and analyzing data usually extracted from other sources.  It is really handy when you want to create a simple mail merge run.  It is great for crunching numbers and is absolutely necessary for all sorts of day-to-day tasks.   I used Excel to build the table below and then copy and pasted it into this Word document.  I will then post the final document into my WordPress blog post editor.
  4. RoboForm Everywhere – I don’t know about you but I can never remember my logins and passwords.  It is not very secure to carry around pieces of paper and is usually a violation of security policy.  Over the years I have used Microsoft Excel to log the information and stored it password protected and encrypted, but it is never handy.  Plus, with personal wireless devices the Excel file is never in the right place and the problem is getting worse.  I started using RoboForm on a USB drive I got a few years ago.  It had a trial version, after a year I upgraded to the paid version.  It did everything I needed it to do.  When I opened a webpage it would fill in the login and password details for me.  It is password protected and encrypted.  All was working fine, unless I was at home or tried to access my web pages from my phone and I still had to carry around my USB everywhere.  Then I heard about RoboForm Everywhere.  It has all of the same features but runs, well everywhere.  I use it every day and love it.  One downside, though, is the annual fee of $19, but believe me, it’s worth it!
  5. Adobe Acrobat Standard – creates Adobe Portable Documents (PDF) out of just about any kind of file or document.  I use this tool every single day.  If it is not available on the machine I am working on, I use PrimoPDF but I like Adobe best.  I use it to publish documents I don’t wish to have changed or when sending artwork, flyers, catalogs, books, user manuals, etc. to the print shop, I use the High Quality print option in Acrobat to delivery camera ready art.  This saves time and money.  This is not the Reader version, which can only read PDF documents; rather it is the Acrobat Standard version which currently retails for $139.  PrimoPDF is a good alternative but I am not familiar with all of its features.
  6. WordPress – Perfect for putting up functional, good looking websites fast!  End users can easily make change to their site and it is the most popular blogging platform in the world.  There are tons of free and paid premium themes available and there are WordPress developers all over the world, ready to help you put up a website.  There are two versions: 1. the free self-hosted version available at WordPress.org, which runs on your own domain and hosting plan (you supply the hosting and domain name) or 2. The completely free, hosted version at WordPress.com.  There is very little you cannot do with a WordPress site, there are plug-ins available for functions too numerous to mention here.  This is a good option for non-profits, startups, and personal websites and bloggers, as well as feeder sites
  7. Sharefile – Ever try to send a large file via email and find out it never reached the destination? Or get that pesky “bounce” message from your ISP saying the attachment is too big?  The solution is to use one of the myriad of file sharing services out there.  For personal use, Dropbox.com is probably the best, but their free account has a storage limit of 2GB. This is probably fine for most people but if you deal with audio, video or many large files, or multiple customers 2GB won’t be enough with Dropbox.  Plus, Dropbox makes your customer create an account and learn how to use it (simple) interface.  That is too much hassle for my customers.  Sharefile is a paid service that allows me to send and receive large files for a monthly fee of about $30.  It works great for my business because of the volume we do. Otherwise, I recommend Dropbox.com as a free service.
  8. Total Recorder – I first snagged my copy of Total Recorder so I could convert cassette tapes into digital form so I could archive and listen to music on my computer.  I soon came to rely on it to convert CDs to MP3 and other formats.  Total Recorder also allows me to record any audio stream (and optionally video) that runs on my computer.  This feature lets me record the audio from YouTube videos, and webinars so I can play them back later.  I’ve been using it for over 12 years.  I just upgraded to the Video Pro version so I can capture live webinars and play them back when I have the time.  What a time saver!
  9. Camtasia Studio lets me record the screen while I am demonstrating how to perform tasks on my computer.  This enables me to create training videos and presentations fast and easily.  I use it quite frequently for software training videos, but now I am using it to teach other topics as well.  Camtasia Studio is pricey though, about $399, but there are free alternatives, notably, Camstudio.
  10. Filezilla – I need to transfer files to and from different websites every day and found this little gem FTP client program does the trick easily and inexpensively.

So there you have it, My Top 10 Business Tools!

 

#

Tool

$

Alternative

1

Microsoft Outlook

Yes

Gmail

2

Microsoft Word

Yes

Open Office Write

3

Microsoft Excel

Yes

Open Office Calc

4

Adobe Acrobat Standard

Yes

Windows Notepad

5

RoboForm Everywhere

Yes

Windows Notepad

6

WordPress

Yes

WordPress.com

7

Sharefile

Yes

Dropbox.com

8

Total Recorder

Yes

Audacity

9

Camtasia Studio

Yes

Camstudio

10

Filezilla

No

 

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About Paul Guyon

Paul D. Guyon teaches small business owners to create the policies, procedures and technology that enable ordinary people to produce extraordinary business results. Mr. Guyon’s clients have produced up to $7.3 million in sales with just 5 people.
He defined a $40 million market category to deliver lost bags for Delta, Northwest, American and United Airlines. His delivery management systems save millions of dollars for pharmaceutical giants; Pfizer, Merck and Eli Lilly.
Guyon makes his home in Traverse City, Michigan and enjoys and active, healthy lifestyle with his three sons. He has a passion for business, music, drumming, community service and his faith in God. Guyon says, “Any day I get to spend with my sons is a good day!”
To connect with Paul, visit his website; www.PaulGuyon.com

Comments

  1. I have nominated you to participate in the 7 Day Challenge. This means that you should respond to this challenge by listing: My most beautiful post, My most popular post, My most controversial post, My most helpful post, The post that surprised me the most. The post that lacked the attention it deserved, The post I’m most proud of. And nominate 5 more people to do the challenge by placing their link on your post.

    You supply such good information. I hope you will join in the fun of the challenge.

    Carol

    • Hi Carol, thanks for the comment and nomination, I am sorry but I cannot participate at the moment. I am swamped with another project, plus, since my blog is so new, I don’t have much to contribute.

      Thanks again!

      Paul

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  2. [...] My Top 10 Business Tools If youâre like me, you use a variety of tools to accomplish your work in your day-to-day responsibilities. Without the use of these tools I would have to do my tasks manually or choose a different tool and lose productivity. Some tasks, like data analysis, would become nearly impossible.Since some of the tools are paid ones, I included free alternatives. http://pdguyon.com/blog/221/my-top-10-business-tools/ [...]

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