In the past month we've featured a range of shareware, demo software and time-limited trial versions of software packages aimed at small to medium-sized businesses.
We give full download, installation and uninstall instructions for each piece of software. Check out these three useful applications below: a human resources manager, business plan developer and a freeware ecommerce website development package. These packages were reviewed by Sally Forge and Paul Rowlingson.
A human resource management package designed for small to medium-sized companies.
If you own a company small enough not to have a personnel department, but still need an organisational system to keep track of your employees' data, salaries, holiday entitlement or performance, this is the package for you.
This is an easy-to-use database which is already built on a template, so all you need to do is fill in the relevant entries using a wizard-style step-by-step process, which will ask you all the relevant questions.
This demo will only let you enter up to five records. It is worth testing to see if it suits your needs. If it does, then there are several layers of registration, depending on your business requirements.
Manufacturer: Resource Management Software
Product name: HRmgr
Type: Function-limited demo
Platform: Windows 95, 98 and NT
Processing requirements: 16Mb RAM, 25Mb free hard disk space, VGA display
Business Plan Developer 2.1.1
Put together a professional business plan, almost without effort.
Business plans are an essential tool in submitting your business ideas to potential investors. It's a shame that many good business ideas go to waste, because the document that makes them legitimate and allows them to proceed further never gets drawn up. In a few easy steps the Business Plan Developer will draw up a business plan on your behalf.
All you have to do is answer 12 sets of easy questions, ranging from your address, to the product you plan to develop, and some questions about advertising and marketing.
After you have completed the questionnaire, Business Plan Developer produces an easy-to-format Word document, containing the basic elements of the plan.
If you have given your business idea even a modicum of thought, drawing up a plan will be easier than answering a simple quiz.
Manufacturer: Positively Shareware
Product name: Business Plan Developer 2.1.1
Platform: Windows 2000, 95, 98 and NT
Processing requirements: None
Create your own ecommerce website easily and cheaply.
Looking to expand your business on to the internet and incorporate online purchase facilities, but are short of cash? If so, this is the software for you. ShopFitter is a fully functioning free piece of software that allows you to create your own ecommerce site, complete with ordering system.
Targeted at small to medium-sized companies, it aims to demystify the ecommerce process. The major plus for this software is that no programming or internet experience is required to create your shop, so don't be put off if the internet is something you know little about.
The interface is geared towards making the whole construction process as easy and stress free as possible. Simply input the relevant details - price, contact details, products, for example - and let ShopFitter do the rest. Most of the functions you'll need are clearly displayed on the front screen of the program and can be executed with a single-click process.
The site is built a page at a time, and every page can be altered to your own needs. You can edit, move or resize text, insert images or incorporate links, for example. In fact, everything you are likely to need is here, including full facilities for processing any purchases your customers make.
You can specify your tax and shipping costs, as well as register with ShopFitter Order Server, which enables you to process orders using secure email, and process credit card transactions confidently and securely.
You can preview your site offline before you decide to go live, enabling you to fully test the finished product before making it available for customers' use. Once you are satisfied with your shop, simply upload the site to the web at the click of a button. And there are no restrictions on internet service provider either, the site can be hosted wherever you wish it to be.
ShopFitter will take a 30p fee for every transaction processed on your site, but it's a small price to pay for an easy introduction to the world of ecommerce.
ShopFitter enables absolutely anyone to begin selling online - and with no heavy setup costs.
Product name: ShopFitter 2.0
Platform: Windows 2000, 95, 98 and NT
Processing requirements: 16Mb or more RAM; 5Mb free hard disk space
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