Free Web Resources for Small Business

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted October 29, 2009

Andrew Lock

You’re so busy running your business you barely have time to think much less surf the Web for handy sites to make your life easier. Fortunately, Andrew Lock does it for you.

This week’s crop of Nifty Clicks can help you with home or office repairs, conducting surveys, editing PDFs and researching just about any topic.

ServiceMagic.com
ServiceMagic.com
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Service Magic

As a busy entrepreneur, you probably don’t have a lot of time to do odd jobs around the house, am I right? Well, now there’s a way to find a reliable handyman or other skilled tradesman to come and do the job for you. It’s a Web site called ServiceMagic.com, and it works like this:

First you choose a category that matches your need, next select a sub-category to get even closer to what you’re looking for, then enter your zip code and answer a couple of questions about your project. The system will then do a little bit of work behind the scenes, and it will tell you when it finds some suitable providers for your project.

You’ll need to enter your contact info at the final stage so that the providers can send you the quotes, but the whole process is pretty much seamless. I really like the fact that the providers listed are all pre-screened by Service magic before being recommended. Check out ServiceMagic.com, and get all those overdue jobs done around the house.

Ask500 Independent People

Now there are times in running a business when it’s useful to get feed back from people who give you an honest answer. You know how it is with friends and family. You’ll say, ‘What do you think of this,’ and they’ll say ‘Oh great, fantastic, wonderful, you’re a genius,’ when what they really mean is, ‘Oh I can’t bear to break the news. It’s terrible; I’ll just stroke his ego.’ 

Ask500People.com
Ask500People.com
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You know how that is? Hmm, maybe you don’t.

Anyway, now there’s a resource called Ask500People.com, where within 24 to 48 hours you can get feedback from 500 people on any question you’d like to put out there. So it’s a really useful research tool.

Just sign up on the site — it’s completely free — post your question, and within 24-48 hours you’ll get the results. Now if you want to narrow the results just to your existing customers, you can also embed the survey in your own Web site — very nifty. It is a user-friendly system, too so you can set up a question very quickly and, like I said, it’s completely free.

PDFtoWord

From time to time I need to convert an Adobe Acrobat document, also known as a PDF, to a Word document. Now, PDF’s aren’t easy to edit, but I recently came across a tool that solves that, and it works extremely well. It’s called PDFtoWord.com. It’s a Web-based service, it’s free, and it really couldn’t be simpler.

TheFreeLibrary.com
TheFreeLibrary.com
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First, select a PDF you want to convert. Second, choose the format that you want, which is either a Word document or a rich text file, and then enter your e-mail address. The system works its magic behind the scenes and then sends you the converted document as an e-mail attachment. I’ve been really impressed at the quality of the conversion, and you can’t beat the price which, like I said, is a nice round figure.

TheFreeLibrary

One of the challenges with the Web is that there is so much information it’s sometimes difficult to track down what you’re looking for. That’s why I like TheFreeLibrary.com. It’s a Web site that acts as a kind of a directory for millions of free articles and books on all kinds of categorized subjects.

The content dates back over the past 24 years, and it really is a great research tool. You can find information on virtually any topic, and you can either search or browse to find what you’re looking for. Check it out it’s an amazing free resource.


You'll find lots more marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business Essential series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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