Project Management Applications For Small Businesses

If you manage a small business or project, using email communications, Excel spreadsheets and company hard drives for managing and storing project information might be okay on a temporary basis, but as the number of your projects grow (and your number of collaborators grow with it) you’ll need to consider a more sophisticated system to incorporate in your business processes.

In fact, it has been proven that for small businesses having a collaborative tool providing multiple features including task assignment, time tracking, CRM, document management, mobile connectivity and third party invoicing can make a huge difference in company’s bottom line.

For large organizations, systems like Primavera, MS Project or SharePoint are the most popular software programs for project planning, reporting, document sharing, progress updating and tracking. They are used worldwide and have their own benefits and disadvantages.

On the other hand, for small businesses or small projects (such as creating new websites, new software programs, new mobile apps or even a minor manufacturing projects) Primavera and MS Project might not be the best solutions, the most important disadvantages being higher costs, heavy platform environment, learning curve, the need for sophisticated support team and unavoidable staff training.

Deciding which project management application or software to incorporate into your small business processes can be a daunting task as there is quite a wide selection to choose from and they are all continually evolving and advancing. To make matters more difficult, each software creator provides different packages to choose from, depending on the number of projects, the number of users (collaborators) and the storage space offered.

On the lower end, developers seem to categorize their packages based on one of these two choices:

– Unlimited collaborators, but limited number of projects

– Unlimited projects, but limited number of collaborators

But, they also offer unlimited projects/collaborators packages at much higher monthly rates.

Even if you select a low-end package to start with, as a growing business the high-end packages should be an important criteria for your selection because in a few years when your number of projects/users grow you would want to be able to keep the same platform, and avoid having to transfer all your files to a less costly solution.

Storage is also another differentiator for choosing your package. Depending on the type of projects your organization is managing, and the size of files your team members share on a daily basis, this could become a make-or-break factor in your selection.

The ability to use the software on your mobile smartphone or tablet is another factor to take into consideration, if that is indeed important to you or your organization. Some applications are just web-based, others use HTML5 code that fits and adapts to any screen size, and others provide their own iOS, Android or Windows Phone apps for the most popular devices such as iPhone or iPad.

Another factor to consider is whether you want (or need) to work with Gantt charts that are simpler versions of MS Project and Primavera. Some project management apps offer visual Gantt-based (rather than a task-assignment based) software.

To make your selection a little bit easier, outlined below are some project management apps we briefly examined for small businesses (in no particular order):

Product Name: Basecamp (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: 10 Projects, Unlimited Users, 3 GB Storage, $20 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 100 GB Storage, $150 / month

Basecamp keeps all your project documents and communications in one place. You can control who sees what on the projects and who can communicate with whom. The user interface is quite user-friendly and provides quick access to the latest project progress, communications, To-Do lists, etc. Basecamp also provides iOS and Android apps for mobile phones and tablets.

Product Name: Mavenlink (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 20 GB Storage, $25 / user / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 100 GB Storage

Mavenlink is fully integrated with Google Docs, Tasks and Contacts. It allows you to centralize your project information, files and communications in a shared environment. Real-time messaging ensures your team members stay on the same page. You can also stay connected using your mobile smartphone as the software offers an HTML5 mobile version as well.

Product Name: Apollo (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: 18 Projects, Unlimited Users, 5 GB Storage, $23 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 75 GB Storage, $148 / month

Apollo helps you keep track of what’s happening on your project, tasks, and calendar using interactive timers. In the activity screen you can see who did what, and even communicate with other people. Files can also be kept within the platform. Mobile versions of the software for iOS and Android are also offered.

Product Name: Wrike (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: 5 Users, Unlimited Collaborators, Unlimited Projects, 5 GB Storage, $49 / month

– Higher End Package:: 50 Users, Unlimited Collaborators, Unlimited Projects,100 GB Storage, $199 / month

Wrike is another project management software providing task management, time tracking, document sharing, and real-time news-feed. It also provides Gantt-chart integration as well as Outlook and email integration to facilitate communications.

Product Name: Projecturf (Web-based only)

– Lower End Package: 20 Projects, Unlimited Users, Unlimited Storage, $40 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, Unlimited Storage, $120 / month

Projecturf provides a user-friendly web environment giving instant access to various projects using tabs. It allows you to grant and change access permissions in every section, and even remove some section if they don’t apply to a project.

Product: Project Bubble (Web-based only)

– Lower End Package: 10 Projects, Unlimited Users, 5 GB Storage, $24 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 100 GB Storage, $99 / month

Project Bubble allows you to assign tasks and sub-tasks to team members, as well as define user permissions. It also allows you to enter the amount of hours you expect a given task should take (planned) and compare with the amount of hours is actually took (actual) to compare your actual costs with your planned budget. A timesheet feature is also offered for team members to help track the hours

Product Name: TeamGantt (Web-based only)

– Lower End Package: 5 Projects, 5 Users, 1 GB Storage, $10 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 20 GB Storage, $79 / month

If you like using simplified Gantt charts, then TeamGantt might be the solution for you. The software also incorporates simple task commenting (by team members) directly in the Gantt chart. You can still take advantage of sharing documents and many other resources, and even view multiple projects’ Gantt charts in one screen to help with your resource planning.

In a nutshell, if the essence of project management is the breaking down of multi-faceted projects into smaller tasks and milestones assigned to various collaborators, then project management applications and software should assist you in organizing and breaking those complex operations and individual tasks down into specific data available at your fingertips; thus, providing more efficiency into the process than contemporary paper documents and spreadsheets offer. Therefore, your decision to purchase a project management software for your small business should be a long-term strategy for your organization:

1- Make a list of features you need today (and maybe in the future)

2- Assign weights to each feature based on its importance to your business

3- Review each software platform (start on their website)

4- Use a simplified QFD chart to compare various programs and narrow down your choice to just a few

5- Test the waters by emailing/calling each software provider to evaluate their customer support and agility to respond to your requests in a timely manner.

A final note of caution: Not all these project management software programs will survive today’s competitive marketplace, and one can easily predict that only a few will remain in a few years. So make sure your selection is not just based on price and short-term advantages, but also looks further on the horizon. If you like the content of this article, please share it on social media.

Software for Getting Free iPhone Ringtones

Free iPhone ringtones are easily gettable with the help of certain free software applications. So, you do not need to purchase ringtones for your iPhone anymore.

We are quite aware of the fact that there are numerous resources to get iPhone ringtones for a fee or charge, but you can actually get free iPhone ringtones from various sources these days. You can even get free ringtones for iPhone from iTunes library itself. But most of these free iPhone ringtones are 30-second versions. There are a whole lot of options that you can use to get ringtones for free especially for your iPhone.

In order to get free iPhone ringtones, you can use SSH/File Transfer, where all you need is to put a ringtone that is iPhone-iPod compatible inside the Ringtones folder of the Library and you can use the formats like AACs, MP3s and M4As easily. You can also use Windows compatible iBrickr, which is capable of transcoding old WAV media formats into an iPhone compatible format before you sync your iPhone.

Just like the SSH/File Transfer method, you can use iFuntastic, which is a Mac compatible application. With the help of this software application you can put a ringtone in the correct folder of the directory just by dragging it. You need to install App Tapp in order to use Sendsong, which will help you to pick and move any song of your choice from your iPhone to the ringtone section. These are some of the ways by which you can get free iPhone ringtones.

However, there are other options too for getting free iPhone ringtones from iTunes Music Store. You can put all the AAC media files into the proper ringtones directory with their proper file extensions. They also work with iTunes songs that you have purchased and also the ones that you have converted to AAC media format. MakeiPhoneRingtone from Rogue Ameoba, which takes the advantage of iTunes ringtone compatibility lets you get free iPhone ringtones by dropping AAC files.

There is also another option the iToner, which has the ability to copy ringtones directly to your iPhone without using iTunes. It is also capable of working with future updates of iPhone. Another popular software application is iPhoneRingToneMaker, which is compatible with Windows platform and helps to transfer songs to iPhone and also allows users to crop or edit long songs into shorter versions through its song editor. Using these methods you can get free ringtones for iPhone.

5 Essential And Useful Software for Windows

Have you got a new Windows based computer? Or did you recently format everything and re-installed Windows operating system? In either case, you need to install a few important softwares that you will need again and again. Windows 7 or 8 come with a list of useful softwares but these are not enough. You need a lot more applications in order to get the maximum benefit out of your PC.

Let us talk about a few important software applications (free or paid) that most people would need to have on their computers. Without these applications, your PC would be dull and not as useful. Each time you format Windows, you might want to re-install all these softwares again. So, this below given list can prove handy for you in future.

1. Explorers for Browsing Internet:
Windows comes with Internet Explorer already installed. However, most people are not fans of this browser. There are much better alternatives in the market which make browsing a really beautiful experience. The popular browser alternatives are Chrome and Firefox.

Good news is that both Firefox and Chrome are free to download and use. They have very nice user-interfaces. There are a lot of free or paid plugins which add additional capabilities to these browsers. You can really get addicted to many of these plugins when you begin to use them on regular basis.

2. Skype for Instant Messaging:
When it comes instant messaging and chatting (whether text or voice based chatting), Skype is the #1 choice for many people. It is one of the most popular messaging applications in the whole world. The voice quality is superb even when you are on a long-distance voice chat.

3. Antivirus Software:
Protecting your PC from malware, spyware and viruses is very important. If your PC gets infected with virus, it can become very slow and almost unusable. There have been many times where I had to format my PC due to virus problems. In such cases, there is a risk of losing important data due to formatting. You may try to recover the lost files using data recovery software but usually that is a long and unreliable process. It is always better to be safe than sorry. So, in order to protect your PC you might want to have a look at Microsoft Security Essentials which is a good program offering solid protection against malicious software.

4. Zipping and Unzipping:
Many big files you download from internet may be in compressed format. So, you need to unzip them first. At the same time, you may want to upload a big file or even a complete folder on the web. In such a case too you need zipping software to do the job. There are 2 excellent choices available to you. The first one is Winrar which is not free but comes with a 30 day trial version. So, you can use it for 30 days to see how you like it. Another software is 7-search which is completely free. You can use it for as long as you like without any problems.

5. Ninite for Installing Multiple Programs:
There are many other important programs which you may require to install. Instead of installing them one by one, wouldn’t it be much more convenient if you can do it all at once? This is what ‘Ninite’ does. It is a cool application which lets you choose from dozens of commonly used software applications and installs them in one go. Some of the programs it can install for you are – Skype, GoogleTalk, Yahoo Messenger, 7-search, Firefox, Chrome, anti-virus softwares, Filezilla, Picasa, Open Office etc.

How To: Save Money Using Free Software

Make your list

Look at the installed programs in your computer and start by deleting any application you’ve used in the past, but don’t need anymore. Now write down the programs that you are using. If you have two or more applications of the same type write down only your favorite. Underline the ones that are not free.

Now you have a general view of all the software you have, both free and paid.

Search for alternatives

For each paid program you have installed, search for free alternatives. You might find it hard to choose one so to ease up the process, read some reviews and study the features and drawbacks of each program. This might seem complicated, but it’s actually not. Any good application has been reviewed at least a few times on well-known websites. If you can’t find any reviews for a program it means it’s not trustworthy or it’s very new.

A good review should include the program’s features and issues/bugs (if any), some screenshots with the UI and system requirements (so you can be sure it works on your computer).

When free is not enough

If for example you need a powerful image editing application and the free ones you’ve tried are just not enough in terms of functionality it’s OK to say no to freeware and buy the application you need. The same goes for the cases when you have a paid program but can’t find a viable alternative at all.

Other than that, when you do find a free app to replace a paid one do not hesitate to do so. Even replacing 5 programs can save you a great deal of money. Some programs even have a yearly license renewal (in that case you’ll be saving even more money).

Where to find free applications

Finding free applications shouldn’t be a problem. There are numerous websites that offer free software downloads and even the trial versions of paid applications, all legally of course. A simple search on the Internet will reveal dozens of them. Just be careful to download the original setup file, as some websites wrap applications in their own installers, which also include toolbars, search engines and other third-party applications.

When you finish analyzing your software list, and made the possible replacements sum up the license costs of the commercial apps you are not using anymore to see how much money you managed to save.

If you want easy access to thousands of free software downloads, visit our website. With a user-friendly layout, here you can find anything from the most popular freeware applications to professional software.