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Running Your Business from Your Laptop

Payroll, accounting, budgeting, merchant accounts, credit card processing, taxes, and other seemingly complex tasks can distract from the focus of one’s business. However, armed with a powerful laptop, a few software applications, and a little training, most of these tasks can be done by the business owner herself.

First of all, if you are really interested in handling these “behind-the-scenes” matters yourself, a laptop is not the place to try and save money. A slow laptop will be frustrating and inefficient. Also, the purchase of a laptop for work-related tasks will be deductible from the business’s taxes at the end of the year.

Look for a laptop with a large screen (16 inches or more) and at least 1 GB of RAM and 100 GB hard drive capacity. These figures may seem excessive but the business owner needs to be able to store years of files and client information.

Several software suites are available that accomplish data keeping tasks. Microsoft Office is most widely accepted. This suite contains (at least) Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, and Powerpoint. These four programs will be a solid start for carrying out most small business tasks. Accounting programs like TurboTax and Quicken are specially geared for business applications and can also be useful.

Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet creator, will be one of the most used programs by most business owners. Most basically, the spreadsheets can organize data by column and row. You can create formulas to perform mathematic functions with the user-created data. This is extremely helpful in recording payments and receipts, merchant accounts, and employee payroll.

A word processor and publishing program like Microsoft Word and Publisher allow the creation of professional documents. Use these programs to make flyers, reports, and other documents.

These programs allow the business owner to input and manipulate data, create documents and presentations, and more. Look for tutorials online to learn how to make the most of these programs.

There are hardware additions that also help. USB credit card readers are available and make credit card processing possible anywhere. A high-quality printer keeps document production costs low, and a digital projector is a great tool for presentations.

All business owners want to focus on the heart of their businesses. However, issues like taxes and payroll, which aren’t inherently connected to the business’s service or product, are realities in today’s world. Avoid paying someone else loads of money to do these tasks, and make the investment to accomplish them anytime and anywhere with a powerful laptop.

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