Top 3: Free Software That Every Small Business Should Be Using

#1

Evernote is slowly but surely changing my life. This free, ad-supported software installs on every computer and device you own, and is accessible through any web browser. In the vein of Microsoft OneNote and countless sticky note programs for your phone and computer, Evernote allows you to create and edit notes wherever you are. Notes can contain text, photos (via cameraphone and webcam), audio recordings, digital ink (if you have a stylus), web clippings, or all of the above. Each note will sync with every computer and device your use, so you are always current. What’s more, you can search recognizable text in photos, including handwriting. Take photos of whiteboards, scratch paper, receipts, parking vouchers, and actual sticky notes and you’ll be able to organize and search for them with ease. Use this feature to help you input receipts and purchase orders that aren’t already digital, or turn your back-of-the-napkin contract into a permanent record. Evernote also lets you share individual notes and entire notebooks with others in read-only mode, but to allow modification and a truly collaborative notebook, you have to buy their Premium service. Check out Evernote’s short video and see for yourself.

My Evernote work notebook contains photos from my phone, screenshots, web clippings, audio recordings, and of course tons of text.
A search for the word ‘green’ returns text recognized within images! Photos taken with my phone are also tagged with location and GPS coordinates.

#2

Trello makes project management easy. It runs from a web browser or app on your mobile device, there is no off-line mode. Trello sports an engaging flashcard-esque look and feel. If you are visual-spatial in your thought patterns and organizational style, you will love it. I like Trello for more dynamic projects and tasking, such as software development and brainstorming ideas. Check out their video for an in-depth look.

An example of Trello’s flashcard-style interface

#3

If your business deals with any sort of shipping and receiving, then you want Slice! Slice digs through your email account and finds anything that looks like shipping and tracking information, then puts it all in one place. The mobile app gives you quick access to all of that information, plus it alerts you as your package moves through various stages of shipping (item shipped, item out for delivery, item delivered, etc.). Here’s their video.

My Slice Home screen, showing my most recent orders and deliveries.
My Slice Track Packages screen, showing recent incoming and outgoing shipments.

2 thoughts on “Top 3: Free Software That Every Small Business Should Be Using

  1. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this blog about “Top 3: Free Software That Every Small Business Should Be Using”. I was recently rereading your blogs and taking a look at the website when I stumbled across the blog entry. I read about Slice.com and their service. As a small business owner I buy quite a few things online, having Slice to track my things has really helped out. I just wanted to thank you for posting about it. I focus on things other business owners use in their daily lives and see if it will help me. Well Slice has definitely helped my small business out. I will also be trying out Trello, just signed up for an account and I will be test driving it over the next few weeks. Thanks for posting this.

    Alex McDougall
    Eastsound Electronics
    Eastsound, Wa 98245

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