Useful Online Tools for Business Owners

Our business consultants are routinely asked, “what online tools can help me make my life easier?” The online world provides lots of free and next-to-free tools that can help you to manage your business.

Here at the Halton Region Small Business Centre, we offer a number of online business tutorials as well as a downloadable business planning template that can help you to take your idea or already existing business to the next level. You can find all of this information and more at: www.halton.ca/business.

Beyond the useful tools offered at the Small Business Centre, here are four others that small business owners can use to improve their presentations, increase productivity, and connect seamlessly with others.

1. Preziwww.prezi.com : Ever wonder if there was an alternative to PowerPoint? Prezi has created a wildly creative way to add energy and creativity to a presentation by building a presentation template that allows you to zoom in on key points, animate in eye-popping fashion, and create presentations that go well beyond the typical PowerPoint. For anyone in the business of presenting, Prezi is worth checking out.

2. Dropboxwww.dropbox.com : Dropbox is a simple way to store files online, share with others in your network, and sync up files. It is perfect for business owners collaborating with others who want to share files, and you can access your files from any location.

3. Yammerwww.yammer.com :  Yammer allows you to create private social networks for your small business. Think of it as a private Twitter platform. You can share messages with people in your work group, collaborate with people all over the world, and all messages are private to your workgroup. Want to give a quick project update to your graphic designer across town and your copywriter across the globe? Try Yammer!

4. Open Officewww.openoffice.org : Most people are aware of Open Office by now, but in case you are not, take note of this alternative to Microsoft Office. Open Office provides free, open source word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation software that is compatible with Microsoft software. For those on a budget and in need of office productivity software, Open Office is an excellent option.

There are many other excellent software tools available for free, or next-to-free for small business owners. For now, start with these and reap the rewards in your business! Please contact one of our business consultants if you would like to know more about these resources, or any other small business questions you might have.

Do you use any exciting online tools in your small business? Post your tips and comments here.  Once a month we’ll enter all entries into a draw for a chance to win a voucher for one of our upcoming seminars (value $20.)

For more information, visit the Halton Region Small Business Centre at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville or online at www.halton.ca/business.

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