Last month oDesk won an SMB20 award from PC Magazine for innovative use of technology in small business. To be honest, most innovation comes out of necessity -- both startups & small businesses need to be scrappy and frugal if they plan to survive.
In a followup online webcast with Jim Louderback, our CEO Gary Swart gave a brief description of several online services oDesk uses internally to help run our business (see slide 4 below). Gary then gave this summary of 7 habits oDesk practices in choosing & using online tools (apologies to Stephen Covey).
lately it's become easy to find inexpensive hosted solutions that are quite powerful, and can make a real difference for startups and other small businesses as they're getting rolling. not everything works perfectly just yet, but tools like QuickBase, Skype, WordPress, and Google Docs can make life easier for folks on a budget.
(note however some free solutions may not survive the next few years of online competition, so it's probably important to be able to export your data just in case!)