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Five Simple Software Tips for Small Business Owners

The start of a new year is a time for a clean start. Resolutions are made, you clear your files of last year's paperwork, and you swear you are going to start the year off keeping your financial house in order.

It all sounds good when you say it on January 1st. But now, after only one month into the New Year, how many of you have done ANY of the above? I can't raise my hand, can you? Here are a few easy to follow tips that will benefit all business owners.

Learn to use the software you have

If you purchased software last year, and it's still shrink wrapped and sitting on your bookcase, get it open and install it onto your computer. Until you do that, you've done nothing more than waste money. You shouldn't have to hire a professional to handle the software installation.

If it's already installed, but you can't seem to figure out what to do next, read the manual, do the tutorial, ask for help. Do whatever is necessary for you to learn how to use the software that you spent good money on. You had a need when you purchased the software, and until you start using it, the need remains unfulfilled.

Automate common tasks

Once you've got the software you already purchased up and running put together a software budget for this year. Start by making a list of all the work-related tasks you wish were automated. Here are just a few ideas: contact management, inventory management, project management, bookkeeping, billing, appointment and employee scheduling and your new employee orientation program.

Next prioritize your software automation wish list. Put together a realistic budget for each of the four quarters. Then as money allows, purchase one piece of software at a time. Then, remember to actually install it AND use it!

Protect your Data

If you've not already done so, you must install virus checking software on every desktop that receives email. Failure to do this one thing can stop your business dead in its tracks. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this type of software; it's readily available and relatively inexpensive. Regardless of the cost, its cost is far lower than the price you will pay once your computers become infected. The costs of lost productivity as well as lost data will be steep.

Another thing you need to do to protect your valuable company data is to install a backup and restore utility and BE SURE TO USE IT! The price of this type of product will vary, and the amount you spend will probably coincide with the amount of information you need to backup. The more data, the more you'll pay for protection.

So many business owners purchase these types of software products only after a catastrophe has occurred. It's true that it's better late than never. But be smart and be prepared for disaster because it will happen.

Order the CD version

In some cases, you'll be able to purchase and download your new software right from the vendor's website. You'll have your new software installed and ready to use in no time. But, should your hard drive ever crash, you'll need the CD version of the software so that you can reinstall it right away. Most software vendors let download customers buy the CD at a huge discount. It's worth the money because, remember, hard drives will crash.

Register All Your Software

It's annoying, but important. You'll want to keep informed of such things as new versions and other important software-related issues.

And there you have it ? five simple software tips for business owners.

Copyright ? 2005 Cavyl Stewart. Find out just the programs you need to market, do finances, spiff up your site and more. Visit: http://www.find-small-busi ness-software.com/software-directory.php - Also, be sure to check out my Exclusive, 100% free ecourses.

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