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Choosing Business Management Software – A Bundle Or a Bunch?

What do we really mean when we talk about business software systems? Even a fairly streamlined business needs to be able to do word processing, purchasing, billing and marketing, the list can go on… So several vendors have attempted to cover off all the major management software areas in a single, comprehensive software package. However, let’s be honest – is it really likely that a single management software suite can offer the strengths of the most widely-used targeted, single-task software solutions?Attendance tracking software, for instance, may be great for the HR department, but can’t integrate into most project management systems. But despite its integration capabilities, comprehensive management software packages like ManageMore can’t give users the kind of upgrade options, and doesn’t have the support resources, that a company like Adobe can offer.One major advantage of single-vendor systems is that they make it easier for staff to learn different portions of the software, since it should look and feel the same as what they’ve already been trained on. And often, single-vendor solutions can be customized to meet your needs, since they tend to be modular. But be careful: while training may be easier, it is likely going to be more expensive. The proprietary nature of these systems means that there are far fewer manuals out there about, say, the project-management module in the health-care industry version of ManageMore, than there are about Microsoft Excel!It may even out for your organization, however: because single-task business software suites don’t often integrate well into other company’s software, your employees could actually be spending more time moving information from one place to another than you might like. Spending the money on a single business management software solution makes analysis, collaboration and sharing easier, since it can record and integrate data from each work-flow phase.However, all-in-ones who customize by industry don’t necessarily offer the same user or competition base that drives companies to create add-ons and invest in incremental improvements. And can a single-solution vendor really invest the same amount of time and effort into the accounting portion of a huge suite as Quicken is able to put into their single, specialized product?Then there’s cost. All-in-ones aren’t cheap. But when you actually put together all of the one-off medium-sized business solutions you need to buy, the licensing costs can approach the tens of thousands of dollars for even a relatively modest license package for your business – on top of a modest payroll, dealing with multiple vendors for purchasing, inventory control, marketing, and management represents a huge chunk of your operating costs.One thing to watch out for is data compatibility. Once you commit to a single-solution business management software vendor, you’re pretty much irrevocably committed unless you hire a team of engineers to get your data back out for you, in a format that’s compatible with other software platforms.So what now? Look very carefully at your business needs – if most of your data and operator work goes into one or two major software offerings like Microsoft Office or Crystal Reports, you’re probably better off sticking with them. If you have staff that spends as much time sending out invoices as they do analyzing product sales patterns, it’s worth giving an all-in-one a try.Just be sure that it uses industry-standard compatible formats: all information should be exportable off-the-shelf into and out of Quicken, Microsoft Excel or Access, etc.

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An Online Business Directory Is an Entrepreneur’s Best Friend

For many Australian entrepreneurs, an online business directory is becoming an effective tool to grow one’s business or company. If you are own a small or medium business with a target audience at the regional level, you have the most to gain from advertising in an online web directory that also features a range of products and services.Having your company included in online business directory listings is a form of advertisement, one that is highly recommended by search engine optimization (SEO) practitioners to help drive traffic to your business website and increase the popularity of your website in online searches on Google, MSN, Yahoo and the like.Kinds of DirectoriesAs late as 20 years ago, your choices for home business directory listings are very limited. The most popular ones are:* Yellow Pages* General Business Directories or Regional Directories* Industry-Specific DirectoriesThe Yellow Pages used to be a very popular advertising medium, similar to an online business directory nowadays. The main requirement was to have a business phone number. Nowadays, the Yellow Pages has been eclipsed by other advertising media, notably the Internet. Fewer people are now using Yellow Pages and the already expensive rates are increasing every year. Nowadays, the online store directory is one of the popular searches made. The readership for general business directories or regional directories is mostly people looking for new suppliers. A common example of this kind of directory is the business list provided by the local Chamber of Commerce. To be listed in industry-specific directories, you need to be a member of the industry association publishing it. Currently, all of these three types of directories have web or Internet versions, like an online business listings. There are literally millions of each kind of directory out there, such as home based business directory listings-a far cry from the days when only paper versions are available.The cost for being listed in an online business directory ranges from a several hundreds of dollars for a year to a few dollars to virtually nothing. Some directories, such as an online store directory, allow business to be listed totally free of charge while others require a reciprocal link. For small business owners, it is advisable to look for home based business listings.Follow these tips to make the most of your submissions:* Make sure that your website is working before you submit the necessary information to an online business guide. People do not want to see pages that are still under construction.* Make sure the links on your website are working.* For best results, present your website content in English to an online business list.Do not expect instant results when you submit a link to a home business listings online. Your submission will be reviewed before the listing goes live on the Internet. Expect a few weeks to several months. Free online business listing guide may take longer because the review is manually done. Submitting links without using a service takes time and effort, but considering the benefits of being listed in a business directory, it is worth it.

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