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2/10/2011
11:19 AM
Michele Warren
Michele Warren
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A Web App For Very Small Businesses

Freelancers and very small businesses, I'd like you to meet Milton. He could be your next hire, and he won't demand nearly the salary of his less…uh, human…cohorts. Think Milton's a robot? Guess again.

Freelancers and very small businesses, I'd like you to meet Milton. He could be your next hire, and he won't demand nearly the salary of his less…uh, human…cohorts. Think Milton's a robot? Guess again.Milton's actually the name of a newly released application targeted at one-(wo)man shows and companies with only a handful of employees. The web-based software tool allows businesses to manage projects end-to-end, from tracking leads to preparing invoices.

A one-time consultant to small, service-based businesses, Eric Ralph grew accustomed to hearing his clients bemoan the fact that managing their affairs via Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and notepads was an exercise in futility. "Their checking accounts were the best gauge of how their companies were faring," Ralph says. "These were smart, creative professionals who didn't have the tools they needed to manage the business end of things."

As it turned out, products in their price range had gaps; products with everything they needed were over-the-top, with lots of unnecessary bells and whistles, and a high price to boot. So Ralph conjured up Milton, and today he's the president of the company behind the software (www.yourmilton.com).

Milton features four tabs--Contacts, Projects, Finances, and Reports. An integrated CRM, project management, and budgeting/financial solution, Milton allows users to keep all their business contacts in one place, qualify and prioritize prospects, prepare estimates, track outstanding proposals, keep tabs on project time lines and budgets, create to-do lists, schedule reminders, and generate easy-to-read profitability reports by client or by project.

Launched just one month ago, Milton has attracted about 30 small businesses so far, and Ralph hopes to increase that number tenfold by year's end. "There aren't too many integrated products out there," Ralph says. "Most are point products, but this one offers true project lifecycle management at an affordable price."

Milton costs $15 per month for one user and $10 for each additional person. The software is available for a 30-day free trial.

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