Want to be a productivity hero? Use these tools.
Skype: Free computer-to-computer chat, voice, and video calls; cheap calls to land lines and cellphones.
Gizmo5: Free and low-cost chat, voice, and video calls from your computer or your mobile phone.
AccessLine: Find me/follow-me phone service, online faxing, virtual receptionist service, and more.
GrandCentral: Google purchased this one-number unified messaging service last year. It's in beta at press time; you need an invitation from a current GrandCentral user to sign up.
Make Just One Call: Affordable one-number unified messaging.
FreeConferenceCall.com: Internet-based conference calling free of charge.
GoToMeeting: For holding inexpensive online meetings, demonstrations, and webinars.
Operations and Finance
Paycycle: Hosted payroll application for small businesses.
Salesforce.com: The small-business customer-relationship management program integrates with Google ad words and won't hurt your budget.
Backpack: Organize yourself. It can be used with a team, but it's a great freeresource for "solopreneurs."
Ta-Da!: Very simple online to-do-list maker.
Tweeto: Browser-based task manager; allows you to track tasks in Firefox and other browsers.
Remember the Milk: Color-coded task manager that integrates with E-mail.
Google Apps: Sharable word processing, spreadsheets, E-mail, websites, chat, and more free of charge. Domain registration (optional) is $10; $50 subscription fee for the premier edition.
Basecamp: Inexpensive, easy-to-use project management system for teams.
Wrike: Manage multiple projects from a single account.
Writeboard: Write and edit with a partner or a team.
LinkedIn: Network with other professionals.
Facebook: Need we say more?
Twitter: Tiny blog posts ("tweets") from all over; follow your friends and colleagues.
Jigsaw: A business card trading system for sales and marketing professionals. Technically, Jigsaw isn't a social networking site. However, members build the database of contacts and trade leads with one another.
Text Expander: This little utility saves loads of time. Create shortcuts for text you type often, like signatures and form letters, and the software inserts the text for you.
Jott: Voice-to-text service.
AskSunday.com: Digital concierge.
RescueTime.com: Tracks the amount of time you spend on various Web pages.
Taming Paper and E-mail (Note: These are not hosted applications)
Paper Tiger: File and retrieve paper documents by multiple keywords.
Neat Receipts: File, keyword-search, and retrieve register receipts and business cards.
ClearContext: An E-mail management system.