If you've ever checked your free e-mail account from a friend's computer without paying a dime, you've experienced of glimpse of web apps. Most small business owners don't know that everything from accounting to conference calls can be achieved online for low or no cost, so we've chosen to write a series on small business savings via web apps. We'll evaluate the benefits, utility and cost of a number of applications. Since Causeit, Inc. is in the process of converting many of our desktop documents into web-capable systems, many of these trials will be supported by our own experience or those of our clients. Here are some of the potential topics [please suggest more!]:
- Mind-Mapping and Outlining Tools to Organize Your Thoughts
- Bookkeeping in a Browser: Online Bookkeeping & Invoicing
- Using Google Documents to Share For Free
- Teleportation: Remote Access and Meetings Via the Web
- Save on Saving: Online Backup Tools
- Can Facebook Actually Get You Clients?
- Using LinkedIn for Networking Knowhow and Reference-Checking
- Online Phone Systems: Press 1 For Cheap Voicemail & Calls
- Google Calendar: Scheduling Your Success/Workgroup Calendars for $0 a User
- Remember the Milk: Free, Powerful Online Task Management
- E-Mail Marketing: What's the Best Deal?
- Online Project Management: Does it Really Save Time?
Web apps, those hallmarks of the Web 2.0 age, have promised to be the future of computing. These apps are often as part of what's called a Software as a Service (SaaS) business model, where users pay for usage of the software on a subscription basis (sometimes with a limited or basic free version, occasionally ad-supported). As a general principal, web apps which charge a subscription fee offer flexibility to the purchaser, because you pay as you go, instead of a costly up-front fee. Take Freshbooks for example: Freshbooks, an online invoicing system whose feature set we will explore later, offers a number of different pricing models: a free version with support for one user and a total of three clients (suitable for demoing the product or the one or two clients you have who are postpaid) and a number of of paid versions with larger capacity and featuresets starting at about $14 per month.