Rethink your telephone, accounting ledgers and conference room. These three cheap Web tools will benefit ANY small business.
Even in a tech-infused (and often tech-confused) world, sometimes your client just wants to pick up the phone. With dozens, maybe even hundreds of clients around the world, how can a small business provide and afford this personal touch? Using the Web for all your business calls with a VoIP (voiceover IP) system allows for unlimited phone numbers in markets around the world—making what once were long distance calls, local. Domestic calls are usually free and international calls typically garner a small nominal fee. Service providers range in cost, sound quality and available calling features (much like the cellular providers for man’s best friend—the smartphone), but they’ll all save you money. It can’t hurt to shop around though.
Put aside the pen and paper, the abacus and even the external hard drives. Freshbooks lets you do all your accounting in the cloud. Secure, backed-up and completely mobile, accounting has never been so un-nerdy. Log expenses and accept payments wherever you are. Track billable hours and create custom invoices with ease. Come tax season, tackle previously nightmarish accounting with ease. Depending on the size and needs of your small business, the cost of Freshbooks accounts range from (a very agreeable) free to, at the most, 40 dollars a month.
Seamlessly bringing employees, management and customers together, Podio is the giant squid of business collaboration—tentacles jetting out in every direction, but always connected. Replace GoogleDocs, SalesForce, calendars and even EMAIL. Customize your own social intranet work and consolidate recruiting efforts. Is there anything Podio can’t do!? The basic setup is free; the premium service is only $8/employee/month. Like any good 8-armed beast of the sea, Podio provides solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had.