- Most Useful application
- Best Web site
- Worst Web site
- Hottest Trend
- Favorite Gadget
Here are the rural/small town business answers:
- Most useful application – Not a hot new trend, but the most useful applications are Open Source and free applications. Need office software? Try Open Office. Browse the web with Firefox. Reading PDF files? Use FoxIt. You won’t pay a nickel for any of them. It’s a far different world from the early PC software days when everything you wanted cost hundreds of dollars. Now you may still want the $300 image editor, but you can use GIMP for free. I’m still looking for the free/open source Publisher. Any ideas?
Why not the slew of Web 2.0, online, interactive tools and applications? Because many rural and small town businesses still use dial-up and many have unreliable internet connections. It’s true!
- Best web site – Will It Fly? If you have a question about business, it will guide you to an answer. An excellent tool for small businesses located far from traditional business resources.
- Worst web site – I still dislike My Space. I use lots and lots of online community sites, but find My Space to have the absolute worst interface of any. Did the programmers go out of their way to make basic tasks difficult? I finally deleted my account. (This of course brands me as an out of touch, aging nerd.) Since I’m not looking for everyone on earth, I’ll use Linked In, Jump Up, Flickr, del.icio.us, and Twitter to connect instead.
- Hottest trend – See the excellent list by Jack Schultz at Boomtown USA. An outstanding examination of the rural trends right now. Here are just a few: Taste of Place, Art Meccas, Green, Local Foods and Regionalism.
- Favorite gadget – not a gadget exactly, but I love my new 2.5 pound laptop. (wireless, baby!) Maybe if it was a bit smaller, it could really be a gadget. (How about an updated version of my old Sharp Wizard? Something like an NEC MobilePro.)
Anyone can play. What are your answers?
- About the Author
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.