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December 26, 2005

A Few of My Favorite (Free) Things

Over the last few years I've been fortunate enough to developed some great vendor, analyst and guru relationships withing the CRM community.  This has given me a lot of access to many of the services and applications driving the industry.  Especially when it comes to companies looking to get a foothold in the hot SMB space, where I do a great deal of consulting, writing, presenting, etc.  Many of the tools are excellent and very affordable to small businesses.  But there are some really small companies who are not ready to make the jump just yet.  They still need better ways to manage information and more effectively collaborate with prospects and customers.  The good news is there are a growing number of free services that are out there for you.  Here are a few you should check out:

  • Backpack - The free parts allow you to collect and share to-do and note items. If you upgrade to the paid version, you can add file attachments. There are many other features, such as RSS feeds, and every page has an inbound e-mail address.  Here is a more lengthy description of this cool tool.  You may also want to look at Backpack's big brother Basecamp, a project collaboration tool.
  • Dropsend - How many times have people try to send you a big file only to have it bounced back because it was to big for your ISP to handle.  Or you tried to send a big file and got the bounceback message.  Dropsend allows you to send and receive files as large as 250MB for free, and up to 1GB for 5$/month.  Plus you can store large files on their servers.  Sweet!
  • ThinkFree - Boy this is nice.  Thinkfree allows you to access, create and edit Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) from within a web browser.  You don't need to have Microsoft Office installed.  Only a web browser.....not just Internet Explorer, any web browser.  Now you can't expect to get complete Office functionality for nothing.  But you can't beat what you get for the price.

Like I said, there's a ton of really great tools out there that small businesses should be using to help be more productive and profitable.  Inherit the web.....it's pretty cheap.


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