It's a busy time of year for small businesses. You've made it through the holiday craziness, it's the beginning of a new year and new business plans, and you need to get ready for the looming tax season. That said, we still urge you to take a few minutes to think about the past year and what hardware, software and services made your life a little easier, your business more efficient, and maybe even gave your bottom line a well-deserved boost.
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As much as you need technology to run today's small business, we know that it takes a lot more than computers to make that business a resounding success. Still, when a piece of software puts an end to redundant work practices and lets your employees work more efficiently, you save both time and money. And when you invest in hardware that keeps your data safe and accessible so that you don't have to worry about down time, you gain peace of mind and that translates into time to focus on building your business.
We want your help in recognizing the products that stood out this year products and services that truly helped you improve the way you run your business. In this, our second annual Excellence in Technology Awards, we took the nominations our readers submitted online between October 6 and November 24 and, with a bit of help from the editors at SmallBusinessComputing, E-Commerce Guide, Webopedia and HardwareCentral, narrowed down the field of finalists to 85 products and services in 24 categories; a nice jump from last year's 61 products in 18 categories.
This year's contenders run the gamut of the small business pantheon from ever-present stalwarts like Intuit, Microsoft and Dell to relative newcomers to our awards such as Convoq, Citrix and AuctionVideo.
The most notable technology trends we've seen this year include an increased interest in wireless networking, security and storage. We've also been pleased to see the growth in the number of small business their earn either part of all of revenve through e-commerce transaction. And just as there more and more businesses selling online, there is steady growth in the number of small business who procure products and services over the Internet.
Well, there you have it. Now the only thing left is for you to go and vote for the products you think are the best of the year's crop. The polls are open until midnight on January 10, 2005. It won't take much time, and we promise you won't find an electoral college or a single hanging chad here, and we guarantee the Supreme Court won't be involved. So relax, break away from your daily grind and vote for your favorite technology today.
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