Keep the phones ringing
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services like Skype have changed the way people do business. Meetings can be done over a video call, saving thousands of dollars in travel costs alone, while also giving you the flexibility to operate your business from on the go.
Microsoft’s Skype for Business offers a number of built-in tools, such as instant messaging and free voicemail, allowing you to return calls at your convenience. It also integrates smoothly with applications like Outlook so you can get in touch with clients or colleagues in real time.
If you’re not online, you’re invisible
Not having an online presence for your business means losing out on potential customers. The first point of call for people in search of a product or service today is usually Google.
But don’t stop there. Building a strong website that provides examples of previous work or testimonials from customers can go a long way in giving your operations added credibility. If you sell physical goods, why not offer the ability to buy your product directly from your website? Or if you’re selling a service, consider an online contact or booking form, which can be a handy way of generating leads.
Of course, setting up your own website can be a time-consuming task. Luckily there are a number of services, such as Telstra’s Online Essentials or Shopify that can help you launch your business online.
Keeping your accounts in order
Keeping the books in order is essential for any business, and it all comes down to finding the accounting software that best suits your business.
If you don’t have experience with accounting software and are just looking for the basics like invoicing, quoting, time tracking and reconciling accounts, then take a look at FreshBooks. It will automate expense recording and paid invoices by matching relevant transactions from your bank account or credit card, so you don’t have to manually track expenses or chase unpaid invoices again.
Office software and cloud storage
When it comes to writing and sharing documents, checking emails or working on a spreadsheet, there are a number of options in the market, but few applications offer such a broad range of features as Microsoft’s Office 365.
Beyond the usual suspects (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote), the Office 365 suite includes 1TB of cloud storage, which means you can resume working on that report from practically any internet capable device even when you’re on the go. And when it’s time to collaborate with colleagues, you can smoothly share desktops, online whiteboards and presentations. Office 365 also plays well with others, integrating with a number of third-party apps you’re likely already using for your business. For instance, the DocuSign add-on enables you to sign and get signatures directly from Outlook and Word.
For those who simply require a place to store and share files without the added complexity of a productivity suite, then take a look at Box, which offers ample cloud storage at competitive rates.
Skype, Outlook, Office 365, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United registered States and other countries.
*Originally published on May 8th 2017. Updated May 23rd 2019.