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Small Business’ and Microsoft Office 2007

When you start up a small business, one of the questions you need to address is what software is essential to my business? As a small business consultant, I have seen many companies, owner managed businesses and sole traders start up and be faced with this question, invariably linked to very scarce capital resources. The main purpose is to get software that can quickly sort out complex data and unburden the computer with the help of a fast processor in a stable manner.

Although there are other software suites available, available in a number of versions, Microsoft Office provides the essential applications and is the most commonly used. For business purposes, the options open to you are; Office Standard, Small Business, Professional or Ultimate.

Microsoft Office Standard 2007:

The entry level for Office, this version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. These are the basic essentials of most businesses, a word processor (Word) a spreadsheet (Excel) a presentation package (PowerPoint) and a combined email, calendar/ diary, address book function (Outlook).

Microsoft Office Small Business 2007:

The Small Business version includes all the above applications with the addition of Publisher 2007 while the Outlook version includes Business Contact Manager, which helps you to organise all your business contacts, rather like an rudimentary CRM system. Publisher is a desktop publisher package, designed to help you create publications and marketing material. In fact, this can really help you to save money. You can create your own letterhead, business cards and compliment slips and print them off as required, rather than go to the expense buying several hundred from a commercial printer.

Microsoft Office Professional 2007:

This version includes everything above and includes Access 2007. This database is invaluable if you need to handle large volumes of data and want to make it relational, such as contact lists, orders and stock. It includes templates of common applications and is reasonably easy to use.

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007:

Probably a bit over the top for a start up, comprising as it does, all the above applications with OneNote 2007, Groove 2007 and InfoPath 2007 as well. OneNote is an extremely flexible application that allows you to keep unstructured notes in a series of tabs. For example, if you are researching product lines, you could keep screen shots, URLs, and competitive information, all in the same place. When the business is larger and can justify a server, OneNote is an invaluable area to let your employees keep ideas and brainstorming thoughts.

Groove is another application that is really designed for use by a number of people on a network. It helps you to keep common files in one place and notifies those people who need to access them when there are any changes to those files. InfoPath is an application that allows you to create forms used to gather data which can be used in conjunction with databases or online. As the forms are based on XML, they have extensive applications in Ecommerce.

Of course, every business has different needs, so you will need to choose the version most applicable to your requirements.

Groove Network. Are you in it?

If you are in a business that passes documents around to be reviewed and edited over and over before they are ready to be posted for advertising or for a client, then you have probably already heard of a software solution to help keep your “floating” documents organized from Groove Network. You may not be aware that there is another option out there. In this article you will be presented with some basic information about the differences in collaboration software from Groove Network and NextPage.

Idea behind collaboration software.

The central idea behind having collaboration software is that it allows business professionals to work directly with other business professionals by allowing them to work together to create business documents, presentations, and budgets. Most collaboration software is centralized. This allows business professionals to work on the same documents at the same time from different locations. Some centralized collaboration software solutions include Groove Network, Microsoft SharePoint, Documentum, and Filenet.

Groove Network Advantages.

There are a few advantages to using centralized collaboration software such as Groove Network. The main advantage being that they work very well for team collaboration. Groove Network’s software keeps all files, projects, and data in one centralized location that everyone who is working on the project can access. This allows them to review and update the same document that everyone else has used, which essentially keeps everyone working on the same page.

Drawbacks to Groove Network.

While the collaboration software solution provided by Groove Network is very useful and beneficial, there are a few drawbacks to using it. The main disadvantage being that Groove Network’s software requires the use of an IT infrastructure. Another potential drawback is that it requires an extensive amount of installation time. Other collaboration software options out there also require everyone you work with to have the same software in order to share information. All of these drawbacks to centralized collaboration software can be very expensive and inconvenient.

Are there any other options?

An alternative solution to the centralized collaboration software is NextPage. NextPage 1.5 Collaboration Software tracks documents with Digital Thread technology. Say, for instance, that you are working on your company’s budget. You want to make sure that your facts and figures are correct so you send your spreadsheet to several of your co-workers for review. They look over the spreadsheet and make the necessary changes. They then return their spreadsheet version to you, and with NextPage 1.5, you simply merge the document versions together into one. NextPage 1.5 lets you see all of this visually via a graphical version history. With the graphical version history, you would always know where the various versions of your spreadsheet are stored, what changes have been made, who has reviewed your spreadsheet, when the revisions were made, and how the revisions fit together. NextPage makes it easy to see where the document has been and what revisions have been made.

So what are the major advantages of using NextPage?

The major advantages to using NextPage’s collaboration software include the following:

o Do NOT need a centralized server

o Do NOT need an IT infrastructure

o Installation can be done in a matter of minutes

o Will work with associates who are NOT NextPage subscribers

o Solves document management problems where they originate

In conclusion, if you are in a business that could greatly benefit from using collaboration software, look at and evaluate the possible software options out there and see which one will be of the most benefit to you in your company. I have presented a few ideas for you to think about and get you started in your decision. So get out there and organize your document management!

Different Business Card Ideas For Today

Business card ideas run rampant in today’s online world. You can pick just about any color, design, layout, paper stock and other custom business card elements at the push of a mouse. If you’ve exhausted certain aesthetics in the past and are looking to boost your overall appeal for a new wave of customers, look to an online printer for the best options and the lowest prices. Check out these great ideas for customizing your order today.

Switch Up Orientation

By going with a vertical orientation over a traditional one, you instantly make an appealing effort that will surely be noticed by anyone who takes your custom business card. Imagine if somebody laid out all the business cards they’ve received on a table – yours would stand out almost instantly. Couple that with a vibrant display of colors, logos and images and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.

Embossing and Specialty Inks

These tactics enhance the look and feel of your business card. By giving your letters an element of depth, you create a professionalized aesthetic that lends an air of added importance to your piece. Specialty inks, such as metallic, neon, aqueous and glow in the dark style, are perfect for businesses that already deal in a more creative market (art galleries, Halloween supply shops, auto detailing, etc.) Ask your printer what is available as they vary from place to place.

Coatings

Some people don’t plan for the use and abuse factor when it comes to handing out their custom business card to potential clients. Coatings protect it from humidity, dirt, smudges and weather-related elements. An aqueous or high gloss UV coating is the typical standard, but lamination can get you the ultimate in protection and sheen.

Paper Stocks

Sometimes a regular paper stock just won’t cut it. That’s why there are other options available to you including plastic cards, translucent stocks and ones with a professional matte finish (which brings out the grooves a little more.)There will always be a variety of different weights too, so be aware of the thickness you wish to achieve.

Fold It

Here’s a novel idea: why not go for the table tent style? That way, you and your customers can prop it up for easy viewing when you need it the most. It also gives the backing a newfound purpose without having to flip it over. Your printer should be able to make a simple fold to any or all of them upon printing completion.