Re: What software does a new business need to start interacting with clients?
I don't recommend Constant Contact although I know it is a very popular email company. I think the strength of CC is if you're a brick and mortar business. They have some nice functions for events
However, if you are an online, internet-y business, CC does not have enough functions. CC limits the number of autoresponder emails you can send severely. It's hard to do online business if you can't automate well.
I recommend either aweber or mailchimp.
Office or its equivalent
Accounting (Quickbooks, Freshbooks or an equivalent)
Consider a CRM or Project management software if you like those things
Anything specific to the services you offer (transcription, etc)
Computer back-up software (like Mozy)
Dropbox (free) is great for sharing files with clients
Then you get into all the bells and whistles that you will naturally find as you do business.
I have video editing, HTML editors ,FTP, keyword research, and image editing software because I do that.
I have Camtasia for creating screen shot videos.
I have snazzy tools like Bamboo for doing webinars where I write on my screen
I also have a special program for speeding up videos when I watch them. I was spending so much time watching training videos that this is one of my favorite purchases!
But don't worry about any of the extras until you need them. Just start with the basics.