The May 2008 issue of Inc. Magazine features a bunch of free tools that you may find useful in your line of business. Reviewing the list, Bright Launch is already using many of these services – independently validating their usefulness.
- Free conference calls for up to 96 participants: Check out FreeConferenceCall.com, where it’s simple to set up a conference call, even recording the conversation for later playback. The catch? It’s not a toll-free number, so regular long-distance charges apply. Good enough for me though.
- Project Management: For single projects, try free versions of Basecamp or Huddle. These come with to-do lists, file sharing, calendars, milestones and commenting.
- Security: I haven’t tried this myself, but it looks pretty good: Untangle is a suite of open-source software tools that can be easily deployed, maintained and upgraded from a central server. Ideal for your office network where you probably have already a main server.
- E-Commerce: Inc Magazine featured both OS Commerce and its fully-loaded cousin, ZenCart. I have used both, and ZenCart wins hands-down due to its straightforward deployment. That said, the skin that comes with the out-of-the-box installation is downright ugly, so be prepared to spend money on a customized look for your store (yes, Bright Launch provides this kind of customization).