There are a tremendous number of web-based online collaboration tools now available. For the small business owner or freelancer, online software applications that allow collaborative editing and file sharing can help improve client relationships and increase business potential.
The advantage of web-based tools is that they can be used anywhere on any computer. Some tools provide access via cell phone or can be used offline.
Online Marketing Tools
Use these online tools to keep clients current with projects:
- Relenta: An online system that integrates email, contact lists, document management and manages tasks in one application.
- YouSendIt/Hightail: An online “dropbox” for files up to 2GB in size. Upload the file or files and YouSendIt notifies the recipient on how to pick up the files.
- Box: Creates an online workspace where files can be shared and edited or commented on by group members.
- CentralDesktop: Another online collaborative tool that also lets users participate by email.
- Slideshare: Upload PowerPoint or Word documents to create slideshows that can be shared publicly or privately. Has audio capability to create webinars.
Online Research Tools
These web-based tools can aid research and idea generating on new projects or just help keep track of notes and links:
- Bubble.us: A shared brainstorming tool that creates mindmap images.
- Wridea: Categorizes and prioritizes ideas and allows for shared input from a group.
- Webnote: Take notes using a web browser in a workspace that can be accessed anywhere on any computer.
- ReadBag: A bookmarking service that saves links to be read later using a browser, email, phone or in offline mode.
- WordFast: A high-quality, multi-platform translation tool that is compatible with any language supported by MS Word.
- RSS2PDF: Free tool that turns RSS, Atom or OPML to PDF files that can be read offline.
- Skim: A PDF file reader and annotation tool for Mac users running OSX 10.4 or higher.
Online Business Tools
These small business software applications run online and most can be accessed easily from any computer:
- Toodledo: An online to-do-list that allows collaboration and can be accessed from any web browser.
- Mint: A simple-to-use online personal budgeting and financial tracking tool.
- eFax: An online fax service to send and receive faxes.
- FaxZero: An online fax service that sends up to three pages free to US and Canadian fax numbers with a paid option to send up to 15 pages.
- FlightStats: Up to the minute flight and airport information.
- InstaCalc: A web based calculator with spreadsheet capabilities, unit conversions and programming commands.
- BlinkSale: Send pre-formatted or custom invoices online and keep track of purchases.
Online Design Tools
For some applications, these online design tools let the small business or freelancer quickly create documents or web pages.
- Stock.xchng: Free stock photography for any application other than resale items.
- SiteKreator: Custom or built in website designs automatically created by this online application.
- Icebrrg: Create embeddable forms for websites or blogs.
- ConceptShare: Upload design work and get real time feedback from clients or partners anywhere in the world.
Using these online tools can help to lighten the burden of administration and marketing for small businesses and freelancers.