Small to medium-sized businesses live in a world of harsh business realities, but the good news is the technological age has provided thousands of free or low-cost tools they can use without the support of a big budget, in-house IT department. Here are a few services we’d recommend for small businesses to use before stepping up to more customized technology solutions in the future:
1. Cloud Backups
Off-site backups are key to maintaining your continuity of business in the event of data loss. With so many consumer-level cloud storage solutions becoming free to a certain storage limit, there’s no reason not to move your critical files and assets to a secure, remote platform for safekeeping. Dropbox, OneDrive, and Amazon Web Services all have free options – compare and see which works best for you.
2. Screen Sharing
Ever needed to show your computer screen to someone in another part of the world? Join.me has a free trial of its powerful screen-sharing tool that allows quick drop-in, drop-out meetings, audio calling, and privacy settings to keep things tidy. A similar tool is GoToMeeting, so give both a shot before using with your employees or customers.
3. Online Calendars
If you’ve ever needed to schedule a meeting with multiple people in various locations, you know the headache it can be to align so many varying schedules. YouCanBook.me is a free add-on to Google Calendar (which you should also be using) that shows your availability for certain dates, times, and locations. It’s great for remote teams and for scheduling conference calls.
4. Use Free Software
Productivity software can be expensive, especially if you’re just starting out. OpenOffice and Google Docs are both handy alternatives to Office and they’re both compatible with the Microsoft powerhouse, so don’t worry about an email recipient not being able to open a document. They aren’t a perfect comparison, but they’re awfully good for free.
5. Use Analytics
If you rely on your website to bring in business, you need to be able to track potential leads and find out where they’re coming from so you can improve the quality of your traffic. Google Analytics is a good starting point for small business owners still finding their feet, but be sure to take advantage of heavier-duty solutions as your company grows.
If your business technology solutions just aren’t cutting it or you’re in need of an expert IT team to keep in your back pocket as your company grows, give CMIT Solutions of Seattle Downtown a call. We can help small to medium-sized businesses through any technology decisions – from purchasing decisions to help desk solutions to expert consulting and advice. Maximize your budget and keep your IT costs down – contact us today!