Jewels And Tools For The Soho

Software to help grow your small office into a big business

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Running a business from a SOHO (small office/home office) is no easy task. It requires that you wear many hats, some of which can take time and energy away from your main focus–running a successful business. Fortunately, several software companies have created applications that will make it easier for you to pay greater attention to your bottom line.

The American Institute for Financial Research Inc. offers entrepreneurs a series of applications called the Smart Business System. There are 10 applications in the series, each of which is designed to give step-by- step instruction for novice business owners. Available for Windows 95/3.x/NT3.5 or greater, each of the applications in the series can be updated online ( From handling landlord-tenant relations to launching and incorporating a company, the Smart Business System is likely to have at least one title that will fill the gap in your SOHO.

Smart Attorney ($89) provides over 3,000 forms and 500 letters, ranging from employment contracts, joint venture agreements. purchase orders and proposals to transferring power of attorney. The forms or letters can be customized. Of course, these documents should be examined by an attorney for accuracy and legality, but the program can save small business owners tons in costly attorney’s fees.

Smart Business Plan ($149) helps entrepreneurs produce a professional business plan. It includes planning and spreadsheet modes, word processor and spreadsheet access and an automatic graph generator for converting data into charts and graphs. For more information on the entire line of Smart Business System products, call the American Institute for Financial Research at 800-791-1000.

My Software Company also has a series of applications designed to aid the SOHO owner. MyMailManager, Easy Custom Invoices and MyProfessionalMarketingMaterials all provide needed tools for the home entrepreneur.

Mass mailings can be a hassle and a drain on a small operation’s cash flow. MyMailManager ($50) simplifies the bulk-mailing process and can help reduce postage for mailings as small as 200 pieces. This Windows 95 application can also open files from many popular database programs, such as Access, Excel, Dbase and FoxPro. Data can be filtered, sorted and have ZIP codes (plus four-digit extensions) added.

Need an invoice quick? Try Easy Custom Invoices ($50). It allows you to import customer lists and calculate customer discounts, as well as totals and taxes. The program can also generate estimates, which can then be transformed into an invoice with the push of a button.

My ProfessionalMarketing Materials ($50) lets SOHO users create professional-looking brochures, postcards, newsletters and more that will make your small operation look like the big boys, without as much time or money invested.

Looking for clients? Whether they’re residential or business customers, Serious Business Software can help. The company has two marketing programs in conjunction with Experian (formerly TRW), the credit rating company: Neighborhood ConnX, for consumer marketing, and Business ConnX, for business-to-business marketing. Quarterly updates to both programs are available individually or by subscription.

Neighborhood ConnX includes five regional CDs, which cover households throughout the U.S. To build a marketing database, simply use search selectors such as

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