The husband of our neighbor down the street was laid off from his job last week. He wants to start his own business.
As a newly converted Mac user he asked me what software he needs to get started. Money is an object so he said it was important to keep costs low to start. The budget? A few hundred dollars. What apps would you want on your Mac to start your own business? Here’s my list.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
It wouldn’t take much effort to spend a few thousand dollars on Mac apps to get a business started—even a one person shop; someone who does sales and takes out the trash.
For Mac users, the choices are plentiful and inexpensive.
What does a newly unemployed person need to create his or her business and have it run on a Mac? The basics: a business name and a phone number. A domain name and web site are important these days and inexpensive.
For Mac users, Mail and Address Book and iCal are built-in. Add Apple’s iWork and you’ve got quality presentation materials and templates, word processing for attractive documents, and a spreadsheet to manage numbers.
Business Cards – no business is complete without business cards.You could spend hundreds on a custom design and fancy multi-color printing, or, you could use Business Card Composer to create your own and print them, as needed, alongside your Mac.
Domain Name & Web Site – the information age makes it easy and inexpensive to set up a business web site for less than $10 a month, including a domain name, hosting, email and other services.
Advanced Mac users can install MAMP and run the open source WordPress content management system, build a site from the ground up using Elegant Themes, test it on the Mac, then upload the whole shebang to a web host.
Money Management – a new home business doesn’t have much money to manage. Most Mac financial apps beyond the checkbook type are $40 to $100. Buddi is free and sufficient to manage business expenses and revenue.
Social Networking – even a home business needs shameless self promotion. Mac users can choose from dozens of Mac apps for social networking, including Facebook and Twitter. Both can be used in Safari, so there’s no need for a standalone app.
Research Tools – Google is your friend. Is there a better way than using the internet to research your competition, check out business opportunities, and dig up information on prospective customers?
They say there’s no free lunch, but a newly unemployed person striking out on his own needs an internet connection, whether DSL or cable, and it’s difficult to find a more effective tool than a Mac web browser.
Put Pieces Together – whatever the business venture, certain common elements are required. Contacts. Address Book is a good start for Mac users and it’s built-in. Calendar. iCal will do the job. Email and Mail. Safari and research.
Use iWork to create attractive brochures which can be printed at home—using both Pages and Keynote.
Numbers can be used project costs for a project, or, even manage expenses.
Grand total so far? Less than $200, including business cards, extra printer ink cartridge, a domain name and web site, and all the basic tools. Ongoing costs are nominal, too. The monthly internet connection, web site hosting (usually less than $10 a month), and cell phone bill.
Cell Phone – Even during an economic recession smart phone users consider their expensive phones and plans to be necessities to find a new job. Ditto for someone going into business—a smart phone is a necessity.
Our Macs may cost a little more than cheaper PCs, but the tools to start and run a business are inexpensive and capable.