10 Tools You Need to Start a Small Business Credit: Laptop image via Shutterstock

Technology has quickly become a small business owner's best friend. Whether it is accounting software or business plan software, technology has leveled the playing field, making it possible for small businesses to compete with the big guys. Businesses of all sizes now have access to the same technology that is helping to increase productivity and sales. Here are 10 tech tools you'll need to start a business.

Online business plan services

The key to launching any successful business is having a solid plan in place to follow. One option many entrepreneurs turn to for assistance is online business plan services. The services providea number of tools and templates needed to transform a good idea into a profitable venture. Some of the tools include financial calculatorsand chart generators to help crunch numbers and illustrate the business' vision in a quantifiable manner. They also feature performance graphs and goal achievement monitors that let entrepreneurs track their progress and make necessary changes to the business as issues arise. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three online business plan services.

Web hosting

Not many businesses thrive in today's online world without a presence on the Internet. To get a website up and running, a Web hosting service is needed. The services store the files that make up a website on a data server, which thenuploads them directly to the Web. That provides an Internet connection and a way for consumers to access the site through a domain name of their choosing. The services offer a number of options, including website builders that entrepreneurs can use to design the site, one-click installation of supported apps, email functionality and an unlimited number of email addresses that include the site's domain name. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three Web hosting services.

Shopping cart software

Having a website is only half the equation for businesses that want to use the Internet to sell their products and services. To accept payments via a website, the site must have shopping cart software. The software is designed to offer credit card processing, as well as check, PayPal or other methods of processing payments. The software also provides shoppers tools for calculating the costs of shipping and taxes. In addition to letting customers purchase items online, the software provides businesses options for keeping track of inventory and generating reports automatically. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three shopping cart services.

Anti-virus software

Since nearly all businesses require some sort of network connection, it is critical that owners protect it.  One of the first lines of defense is anti-virus software.  It guards computers and networks against dangerous viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms and other malware. Without this protection, business owners could soon find themselves with an infected computer, which could lead to stolen information, down networks and lost productivity. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three anti-virus software products.

Credit card processing

In today's world, cash is no longer king. Shoppers have traded it for debit and credit cards, and they expect to use them everywhere. Credit card processing services allow businesses to accept all forms of payment, such as major credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks and traditional checks, anywhere and anytime. The services also use encryption technology to ensure each shopper's personal information is protected, and offer protection against credit card fraud for the business itself. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three credit card processing services.

POS system

For retailers and restaurants, gone are the days of traditional cash registers.  Businesses now rely on point-of-sale systems for their checkout needs. For retail businesses, POS systems offer packages that include terminals, monitors, barcode scanners, cash drawers, card readers, keyboards, receipt printers and retail software. For restaurants, POS systems usually include touch-screen monitors, terminals, receipt printers, cash drawers, card readers and restaurant software. In addition to retail outlets and restaurants, some POS systems offer dedicated services for othertypes of businesses, such as salons and grocery stores. Beyond being able to collect payments, POS systems have the ability to track sales and inventory and simplify the accounting process. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three POS systems.

Time tracking and management software

In order to succeed, it is important for business owners to maximize productivity around the office. Time tracking and management software monitors what is being accomplished so business owners can better manage the time and productivity of their employees. The software monitors and records employee hours, including work hours, vacation time, sick leave, overtime and projects. In addition, the software has the ability to track individual projects, as well as expenses, invoices and customers. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top time tracking and management software products.

Online data storage

With business owners relying on computers more than ever, it is important to make sure the information stored on them is protected. Online storage services provide computer users with a place to store their files online, should something happen to the computer, including accidental erasures, hard drive failures and theft. Since the data is being stored online in the cloud, online data storage services also give business owners the convenience of being able to access their files from anywhere with an Internet connection. Online storage services also provide a place to store large files in order to free up space on a computer's hard drive. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three online data storage services.

Webinar services

With many businesses dealing with clients across the country and around the globe, it is important that those in each location stay connected. One way to do so is through webinar services, which allow businesses to conduct presentations over the Internet. The services provide businesses with the necessary tools to present online sales presentations, web seminars and product demonstrations to their clients, regardless of where they are located. In addition, the services can be used for businesses to conduct training sessions and for those companies with multiple locations that need to keep all of their employees connected. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three webinar services.

Online project management software

With so much to accomplish, many business owners need a little help staying on track. Online project management software provides a way to efficiently organize and manage complex projects from start to finish. The software allows project managers to manage and allocate resources, including team members, external resources, generic resources, documents and physical assets. In addition, it provides tools for teams to communicate and ways for clients to view reports and status updates. Overall, the services increase efficiency by centralizing requests, resource availability, issue tracking, communication, document management and scheduling. Here are BusinessNewsDaily's reviews of the top three online project management software products.

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