Cheers to my mother for successfully completing her CLNC certification with a very nice score. For those of you not in the know, a legal nurse consultant is a registered nurse who works with lawyers on a consulting basis to provide expert interpretation of medical information and issues. The CLNC program was designed by the pioneer of the LNC profession, so Mom got a great deal of training and practical advice on growing her practice from people who have done this for a living and know how it is done.
So, in a transparent bid to help Mom get her new business off the ground and stop Amazon from laughing at my complete lack of references, here’s some hardware, software, and book recommendations for those starting a new business (and why I’m recommending those particular packages):
- The first key for any good consulting practice is to have good financial information. The gold standard for small business: Intuit’s Quickbooks (not the same as Quicken, their home finance management software). Quickbooks comes in multiple editions, but I think that QuickBooks Pro 2005 for Windows is the right choice for my mom, as it contains the additional integration with Microsoft Office that she’s likely to make good use of. Dad also is running his own small business making custom golf clubs, so having the additional flexibility means they can use the same software to manage all of their needs without undue pain. If they had a Mac, they could get QuickBooks Pro 2005 for Mac instead.
- Mom already has an older version of the Corel WordPerfect office suite that came with her machine, but I’m recommending that she go ahead and get Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003. Why? One, her target audience are much more likely to be using some version of Office and it’s hard enough to pass files back and forth without having to worry about converting between WordPerfect and Word. Two, Office 2003 has done a lot for usability and stability. Three, I’m recommending that Mom use Outlook 2003’s PIM capabilities. Previous versions of Outlook had issues, but I’m comfortable with 2003 and it has a lot of good features that she’ll be able to use. Again, Mac users aren’t out in the cold: they can get Microsoft Office 2004 Professional (Mac), although it doesn’t have some of the nice benefits that the Windows version does.
- Some reference books: Office 2003 for Dummies and Office 2003 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies to start with.
- I also recommend the following books by Jim Boyce, who is a wonderful author that I have been able to work with on a couple of different occasions: Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft Office 2003 and even Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Inside Out to help Mom get the most out of Outlook, which is much more than just a messaging application.
- Finally, she needs a decent SOHO-quality UPS. Here’s the one I have been using and recommend: the APC Back-UPS ES 500 Backup Battery and Surge Protector. Low-cost, good performance, easy to set up and use, and can be monitored directly by the computer so it can shut itself down cleanly.
I know this will help Mom, but I hope it helps someone else out there too.
[Editor: Any “Windows sucks! You should be helping her learn how to use Linux!” comments (or close facsimiles) will be nuked with prejudice. My Mom is not a computer geek like me and doesn’t have time to learn a brand new OS; she just wants a tool to get her work done. Open Office, KDE, and GNOME don’t offer her what she needs in this case without a far steeper (and longer) learning curve than any of us are prepared for. Thank you for your understanding and acceptance.]
[Edited 05 Jul 2005 11:07 PST to add link to UPS.]