Applying for small-business loans is no fun, and while CashFinder (http://www.cashfinder.com) doesn't transform the money hunt into a laugh riot, it does dramatically simplify and speed up the process. Created by Intuit, the company that created Quicken, the bestselling financial management software, CashFinder is a Web site aimed at entrepreneurs in search of investment dollars. It helps a small business apply for loans, credit cards and leases from top-flight lenders, including American Express and Chase Manhattan. To apply for any loan, you need only download free software that guides you as you fill out the credit application. The same application can be used to apply for multiple loans with all participating institutions. The best news: Using CashFinder is free.
To contact Robert McGarvey, visit his Web site at http://members.aol.com/rjmcgarvey
Seeing Is Believing
Though you can do many things on the Web, sending a Web page directly to a colleague, customer, or friend for their review has been a frustrating process. It's easy enough to send the URL as a hot link--but will your intended receiver click on it? Of course, you can print out the page and fax it--but that's expensive, slow and most likely will show only in black and white. You could always grab the text only, then paste it into an e-mail message. But that misses the multidimensional point of the Web, which is inherently a graphic medium.
What's the solution? Try Hot Off the Web ($49.95), a clever program that grabs a Web page--including all its graphics--then stows the page and its elements as a self-extracting ZIP file. Even better, Hot Off the Web lets you create "digital stickers"--stick 'em notes--that can be pasted on the Web page. A click lets you include this file as an e-mail attachment; another click is all it takes to view the file on the receiving end. The recipient doesn't need Hot Off the Web to view the site; any Web browser should suffice to display the pages. Free trialware is available at the Web site (http://www.hotofftheweb.com).
With computer prices ever more volatile, buying new hardware can seem like an expensive round of Russian roulette. How can you be sure you're getting a good deal? Check out PriceScan (http://www.pricescan.com), which tracks retail prices for computer hardware, software and supplies (inkjet cartridges, ZIP disks and the like). Input the name of the product you're considering, and, seconds later, the screen displays prices culled from online retailers, mail order catalogs and magazine ads. PriceScan is free, but it can pay big dividends. In a recent check of Macintosh PowerBook prices, the difference between the high and low prices for identical laptops was a staggering $1,249.
You've Got Mail
Is e-mail replacing the good old telephone?
How frequently do you check your e-mail? If you're ignoring it, you may be losing business. A recent survey conducted for Ernst & Young LLP discovered that e-mail is the communication tool most used by executives, cited by 36 percent of respondents. The telephone only managed a second-place finish, with 26 percent saying it's their communication tool of choice.
Ernst & Young LLP,http://www.ey.com