Book Review: Microsoft Office Live Small Business by Rahul Pitre

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When Rahul Pitre asked if he could send me a copy of his new book to review, I knew it was going to be about the online software app/service Microsoft Office Live for Small Business – but I didn’t realize that it was actually a how-to manual.

The book is called “Microsoft Office Live for Small Business:  Beginner’s Guide.” It’s that — and a lot more.

In the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you that I have no experience with the Office Live Small Business app at all.  Some time back I made the decision to convert all my Web sites to WordPress and so I had never really thought about Web site software again.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell you about this book.  In fact, if you are as clueless about the Microsoft Office Live Small Business app as I am – you might get the most out of this review.

What is Microsoft Office Live Small Business?

Microsoft Office Live Small Business is an online software by Microsoft.  It’s actually a service as a software and there is a free version.

I’m doing this review in real time because I feel that this might be the best way for all of us to see how good a “how-to” guide this really is.

I’m not feeling alone in this journey because Rahul Pitre has been writing software for quite a while and he runs a software consulting and training firm.  He’s also included a number of software and technical experts as reviewers.  So, I feel like I’m in fairly good hands here.

Read the Preface – It’s Essential

In the Preface, Pitre does a great job explaining the basics of the Office Live Small Business app.  I love that he uses the analogy of using Office Live Small Business to using QuickBooks.  So, what QuickBooks is to the non-accounting professional, Office Live Small Business will be to the non-Web professional.  Great!  I’m on board with that.

He goes on to answer the most common questions that you might have such as “Is Office Live Small Business Right for You?”   If you’re like  80% of us small business owners – it sounds like Office Live Small Business is a great option if you want a professional looking Website without the technical headache.

“If It’s So Darn Simple Why Do I Need a Book”

I pulled the title above right from the “About the Book” section because I couldn’t resist.  “This book will not teach you how to hammer the proverbial nail;  it tells you why the nail is required and where it should go.”

If you want more Web site than any of the blogging platforms can handle, then Office Live Small Business could be the solution you’re looking for, and this book can be your guide.

Step-by-Step Hand Holding!

No kidding.  This is totally a step-by-step process.  I’m logging in, creating an account and Pitre is with me every step of the way.  I have the impression that a lot of painstaking detail has gone into making this book so easy to get through even a caveman could do it. (Sorry Geico).

It seems that you can go about this process a couple of different ways depending on your behavioral style.

  • “What Directions?”: For the click first, ask questions later type (like me)….  You can start building your Web site and every time you get stuck, flip open your book and you’ll find all the direction you need to get you over the hump.
  • “Read First”: Maybe you’re the type to read the book first, then sit down and plan out how you want your Web site to go.  That’s easy enough to do because this book is actually written in a fun and friendly tone.  I haven’t had to stop and re-read a sentence 10 times over, word-for-word yet.  And that’s a good sign.

If you’re converting an existing Web site to Office Live Small Business:  You should breeze through this as well.  You’ll be able to make improvements to the site you have and make it more user-friendly.

What Office Live Small Business Is and Is NOT

Office Live Small Business is a great tool for a basic small business Web site.  It does NOT have a blog feature (that I could easily find).  But don’t let that hold you back.  You can easily do a hosted blog and have a link to the blog from your Web site on Office Small Business Live.

The biggest drawback to this book might be the level of patience that you have with yourself.  Let me put it this way.  If you can make more money doing what you do than building a Web site, then I say – go make money and leave the Web site development to the professionals.

This book assumes that you know what you want to put on your Web site.  Take it from me, that sounds a whole lot simpler than it is.  This book will guide you through the process – and do it well.  But don’t ask this book to make decisions for you.  That’s up to you.

Microsoft Office Live Small Business is an outstanding book for the business owner who hasn’t taken the Web site plunge just yet, or who wants to upgrade their 1999 Web site. (I know there are a lot of you out there!)

I say give this book a go and you will become far more knowledgeable about the Web site process – even if you ultimately choose to hire someone else to do it.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

5 Reactions
  1. Hey Ivana,

    Thanks for this awesome find — I use Microsoft Office Live for my website hosting and my email. While it has been useful, there are a few features I wished for a manual to understand (I have a issue with the time being off from the actual time — not sure wha’sup with that), and Rahul answered that wish. I am glad this was reviewed, and will double-step to a bookstore for a copy.

    A happier Pierre than before! 🙂

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Is MS Office Live Small Business the same as the old NetMeeting program?

  3. Office Business

    In the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you that I have no experience with the Office Live Small Business app at all. Some time back I made the decision to convert all my Web sites to WordPress and so I had never really thought about Web site software again.
    Office Business

  4. @Pierre and whoever else this concerns: MS Office Live Small Business is now converting to MS Office 365 which is slowly being released by request in beta version. This transition will require current users and website owners to convert or get out – changing it’s once beloved free hosting to $6.00 each month, with domain costs if this applies. I don’t know how many unfortunate users are aware of this upcoming transition taking place next year, due mid 2011.

  5. i use both open office and microsoft office and i would say that microsoft office is more responsive and user friendly *~*