A weekly look at the latest products and services designed to help you run a better business.
If you're worried about competitors picking up on your next big idea, you might consider a new software program designed to help entrepreneurs prepare professional confidentiality agreements -- and save money on legal fees. ConfidentialityWizard, from Fargo, N.D.-based Neustel Software, is a do-it-yourself program that simplifies the process for business owners who need to produce non-disclosure agreements and gives customers the flexibility to create tailored terms of agreement.
Michael Neustel, a U.S. patent attorney and the creator of ConfidentialityWizard, claims that while there are cheap form agreements available on the Internet, none offer the flexibility of ConfidentialityWizard. With ConfidentialityWizard, users can create an unlimited number of confidentiality agreements for $99, rather than paying a lawyer to draft a single form. Neustel Software is offering free trial versions of the program on its website. Users can download ConfidentialityWizard at www.confidentialitywizard.com
Help from Michael Dell
Harkening back to his entrepreneurial roots, Dell chairman and CEO Michael Dell this week unveiled a new brand of notebook and desktop computers designed specifically for businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The Vostro line features user-friendly tools -- such as data back-up, network setup, and PC maintenance -- intended for small-business customers who don't have dedicated IT staffs.
Dell officials say it developed the line -- Vostro is Latin for "yours" -- in an attempt to offer small-business owners products that are simple, less costly and backed by reliable service. Vostro computers will not have any trialware, or limited versions of software that expire within a few months and have to be reinstalled later. Additionally, Vostro comes equipped with free customized support tools for the first year. These tools include: Automated PC Tune-Up, which simplifies maintenance tasks; Dell Network Assistance, which eases network set-up and network repair; and Dell DataSafe Online, an online data backup feature. Additionally, Dell has assigned 6,500 employees to handle tech support for Vostro customers.
"For too long, entrepreneurs have been forced to fit either consumer or large corporate solutions into their unique environments," Dell told customers in New York Tuesday at a town hall meeting announcing the new line. "Vostro changes the game for small-business owners by empowering them to choose the exact IT solutions they need to be successful."
Vostro products will include four notebooks with screens ranging from 14 to 17 inches and starting at $449, and desktops starting at $319. A performance desktop will launch in late August. For more product information, visit www.dell.com/webelieve
How to Get Your Message Out
10stepmarketing, a Santee, Calif.-based coaching firm has launched a monthly membership club for small-business owners to get continuous marketing support. The new program, called the Step of the Month Club, will provide entrepreneurs with marketing instruction on a different topic every month through how-to teleseminars, videos, and online discussions with marketing experts.
Members will have the opportunity to vote on the topics they want to see covered, and at the end of the year business owners will have 12 marketing strategies for growing their business. Some of the topics covered will include: "How to Publish an eZine," "Developing a Marketing Message," and "Creating a Client Attraction Website."
"My goal with this program is to provide ongoing small-business marketing how-to training and support at a cost-effective price to support these small-business owners," Debbie LaChusa, founder and president of 10stepmarketing, said in a statement.
The monthly membership fee for the Step of the Month Club is $24.95, and all new members will receive one free month of membership. To register, visit www.StepOfTheMonth.com