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SageSpark – Business Community and Help for Small Businesses

Starting up as a small business doesn’t need to be as hard as people think, but keeping track of the finances and dealing with all the tech and promotion can be offputting. SageSpark is an online business community that gives help in many useful ways. It even has free downloads of invoicing software and accounting software – two of the main things needed by small businesses or sole traders setting up.

SageSpark also has plenty of advice on the topics people starting out in business want answers to, with articles, discussions, and also some subscriber services which can be added. As a subscriber you can register your business quickly to create a domain name, a webpage and have your details sent to about 20 local directories including Google Local and Yahoo! Local.
Subcribers also have the use of a helpline and tech support for their system, including remote diagnostics where they can link into your computer and sort it out while you watch. SageSpark members don’t need tech knowledge, so it’s a very helpful service for many people who would like to start a small business but are intimidated by the technology and the financial paperwork.

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WorkingPoint – Complete Small Business Management Online

workingpoint-comI wish this had been available when I started my own self-employed business and I’ll be using it now, because it has everything you need to organise those things that seem so complicated to set up like accounts and invoicing. WorkingPoint makes it all so simple. It’s quick to register and fill in your name, business name and address, and the currency for the country you live in. All sales to customers, whether they’re buying goods or services, can be recorded and the invoices generated automatically. Although you put in default information, including the terms of payment, this can all be altered on individual invoices. A complete record of customers and clients can also be kept on file.

It’s amazing how easily we can be put off starting our own business because we don’t know how to lay out an invoice, or keep a track of our accounts. WorkingPoint helps us to keep track of income and expenditure and also provides invoices so it all looks professional to customers and clients. It’s possible to upload a company logo to appear on any communications, including invoices. By filling in expenditure it’s possible to keep track of accounts by taking a look at a range of reports. WorkingPoint also helps prepare accounts with bookkeeping, a balance sheet, and a detailed breakdown of income and expenditure. I’m glad I found this website, which is free to use and with a Premium service available that adds optional extras.

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InvoiceDude – Free Online Invoicing

www.invoicedude.comI’m reviewing few websites that help you run your own business these days, and that’s because I know how useful it is to have a website that will take care of mundane but essential tasks like invoicing. InvoiceDude jumped out at me as soon as I saw it because it can be particularly tricky for newcomers to business trying to sort out how to manage this task. The designers created this website because they needed an easy and effective invoicing system and realised how hard it is to find one.

With InvoiceDude you fill in the details as simply as filling in a form and you can invoice your customers and clients wherever you are in the world so long as you have internet access. The data is also backed up by InvoiceDude so, whatever happens, you should have the information you need for your accounting. I would also always keep my own data backup and printed out copies of invoices. Clients can also have their own panel where they can check to see their invoices, and InvoiceDude lets you ask for payment to your PayPal account. All of this makes credit control much easier.

Recurring invoices can be set up for regular invoices for the same amount of money, multiple currencies are supported, and there are ways of importing and exporting data. Customised emails to send your clients notification and the ability to add your business logo are two other features. There are other business management websites, but this one is particularly good for invoicing and is completely free.

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Polylance – Find Freelance Work

Polylance is one of the latest to join the growing number of websites where freelancers can find and pitch for work. The difference with Polylance is that it collects freelance information from the other sites so users can look at a greater number of jobs in a single place. It updates real-time if users choose the live option, and by registering you can also change settings to filter the type of work you want to see. The sites used to update Polylance include popular ones: Elance, GetACoder, GetAFreelancer, iFreelance, oDesk, RentACoder, and ScriptLance. It doesn’t include People Per Hour, which is a main site, but it’s still a useful way to find the popular services. An advanced search option lets freelancers look for work with detailed specifications.

A look at the site shows the expected abundance of freelance writing and translation work, and also technology, finance, legal, administration, sales and marketing and web development. Each category is laid out clearly with subcategories that can be clicked to find exactly the type of work you’re looking for. To look in more detail at a selected job, Polylance connects the user to the website where it is posted. Some of these websites are better than others, with lack of room for enough detail being a general shortfall. This method of finding work is still in its early stages and attracts criticism, but there’s no doubt that it can help employers and employees find each other, there are serious work offers, and it can help freelancers find employment.

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