Starting a SDVOSB or VOSB? Here is some good free stuff to help!

If you are interested in starting a SDVOSB or VOSB…or you if have already started one. We would recommend that you try to base your company on a cloud computing model to keep your overhead low. When I say “cloud computing”…what does that mean? Cloud computing means that the software that you are using is hosted off site at a data center rather than residing on your computer. A great example of this is Gmail/Hotmail/Yahoo Mail. Many of the computer services that were the standard offering of the last 10 years and cost a lot of money (Email Hosting, Web Hosting, Customer Relationship Management “CRM” Software, Accounting Software, Payroll Service, File Sharing, etc) are now free or very low cost. So how do you find these services and make them work for you? Well, here is a list of some of the software and services that we use or looked into that might prove useful to you and your start up venture.

Communication/E-mail
Gmail: Easy to use (highly recommended)
Dimdim: open-source web conferencing application; free basic service
I Want Sandy: keeps track of daily details
Jott: voice-to-text service for creating notes, lists, e-mails and text messages; free basic service
Oovoo: video messaging, chatting and conferencing
Paltalk: group IM, chat and video call application
Plugoo: direct chatting with any blog or site visitor
YouSendIt: send files up to 2GB; free basic service

Storage
Adrive: 50GB of online storage and backup for all file types; free basic service
JZip: data compression utility
Mozy: 2GB of online, data and remote backup solutions; free basic service

Financial
BizEquity: company valuations
Mint: personal finance, money management, budget planning and financial planning software
MyBizHomepage: financial dashboard for small business QuickBooks users
QuickBooks: small-business accounting software; free download (Simple Start 2008)
Wesabe: financial advice, analysis and planning

Content/Media/Video
Audacity: open-source software for cross-platform audio recording
Blip.tv: video blogging, podcasting and video sharing service; free basic service
BlogTalkRadio: radio network for users to host their own shows
DropShots: video hosting and photo sharing
FeedBurner: media distribution services for blogs and RSS feeds
Fix My Movie: video enhancement service; free basic service
Paint.NET: image and photo editing software
Phixr: picture and photo editor
Seesmic: video conversation platform
SlideShare: share and embed slideshows, PowerPoints and PDFs into web pages
VideoSpin: video-editing software

Marketing/Networking/PR
Blogger: blog publishing tool
Word Press: This is what we use for our blog
Craigslist: online classifieds and job postings network
CollectiveX: create social networking and collaboration sites for groups
Entrepreneur Connect: Entrepreneur’s social networking site
LinkedIn: business social networking site
Pligg: open-source, community-centric site for discovering, rating and sharing content
PolicyMap: geographic and demographic information system for creating custom maps, tables and charts; free basic service
YouNoodle: networking for startups and valuation with Startup Predictor
Your Pitch Sucks?: PR pitch reviewing and advising
Twitter: It is a free way to update customers/employees on what is happening in your world

Office Productivity/Organizational
Adobe Buzzword: collaborative word processor application
CutePDF Writer: PDF creator; free basic service
Dabble DB: create, manage and share online databases; free basic service
Doodle: schedule and coordinate meetings and other appointments
FreshBooks: invoicing, time-tracking and expense service; free basic service
Google Calendar: shareable calendar and schedule organizer
Google Docs: collaborative word processor and spreadsheet applications
OpenOffice.org: open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets and more
Stikkit: organization and reminder system that integrates with productivity applications
SurveyMonkey: create and publish custom online surveys; free basic service
ThinkFree Office: office productivity suite; free basic service
WuFoo: HTML form builder for creating interactive forms; free basic service
Zoho: office, productivity and collaboration applications (This is a must see…ZOHO Rocks!!!)

Project Management/Collaboration
LogMeIn: remotely support and access digital information; free basic service
ProjectStat.us: project management solution and updates
Project2Manage: collaborative project management solution
Remember the Milk: task management solution and to-do lists
Socialtext: wiki and website collaboration; free basic service
Team Task: collaborative project management and community website builder
Yugma: web meeting and collaboration service

Security
Adeona: open-source laptop tracking and recovery software
BitDefender Online Scanner: virus scanners; free basic service
ZoneAlarm: firewall protection from hackers and threats; free basic service

Web
Google Alerts: e-mail updates based on choice of query or topic
KickApps: platform of applications to integrate social features into a website
Microsoft Office Live Small Business: create a company website, domain and e-mail; free basic service
Synthasite: web hosting and building
Weebly: website and blog creator
Widgetbox: web widgets for various applications
Woopra: web tracking and analysis application; free basic service

As always, I hope this helps. Please email me if you have any questions or comments about any of the software. Also feel free to contact me regarding SDVOSB questions or comments.

R/S,
Joel Stevens
PrepFire Solutions
joel@prepfire.com

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9 Responses

  1. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  2. Very nice. – Thanks

  3. I am a service disabled vet and want to start my own business. My questions are:
    1. Can another small Business be my mentor in a mentor protege relationship
    2. How long can I be the protege to the same firm?
    3. If the mentor owns 49% of my firm can they still be the mentor?
    4. Who is a POC for me to sit down with to discuss other questions?

    thanks, don

  4. Searching for this for some time now, Thank you.

  5. Thanks for all the work you put into this. It’s a huge help and hugely appreciated by any new business owner (or even someone who’s been around for awhile) who is lucky enough to stumble into your post.

  6. Love this post, is it updated often? Bookmarked 😉

  7. Thank You. Great info in an easy to understand quick list, very helpful.

  8. Fairly superb article, genuinely educational stuff. Never ever believed I’d find the tips I need right here. I have been hunting all over the net for a while now and had been starting to get disappointed. Luckily, I stumbled across your page and received exactly what I had been hunting for.

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