When you are starting your own business, everything can seem to be overwhelming. It just feels like there are a million things to do with so little time and resources. It is not surprising that, according to a study by Statistic Brain, the failure rate of US companies after five years is 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years.
Not saying that it is not worth it to go into business, but it is just smart to acknowledge the inherent risks that comes with it. That includes being overstretched because there are certain aspects of the business that you do not know how to handle. After all, running a business is more than just having a good product or service. As a business owner with little resources, you will end up doing a lot more things than worrying about sales. This includes timekeeping, accounting, business communications, etc.
Fortunately for you, the rise of cloud technology has proven to be a boon for business owners. There are now different cloud-based solutions that meets the demands of the different aspects of your business. And, because these are cloud-based, or hosted over the Internet, you don’t need to invest in expensive hardware and architecture. You can simply subscribe to the service and access it over the Internet.
To help you out, here are some of the most helpful cloud-based solutions based on different business needs:
Evernote is a nifty app that not only lets you instantly take note of an idea, it also helps you cultivate that idea into something more by letting you come up with concrete steps to get it done. You can clip different details from the web and tag them so it would be easier to search them later on. You can also edit these and add more information. You can even embed videos and more. You can also use it as a journal, as sticky-notes for reminders and checklists, and more. The app can be downloaded for free but you can also upgrade to the business version for unlimited uploads for just $12/month.
If you are interested in gauging the interest of customers to your product or service, you can use Zoho Survey to conduct, you guessed it, surveys. The free version lets you conduct unlimited surveys for up to 150 respondents but it’s best to get at least the $19 plan just for the advanced reporting and to see the piping and where it is appropriate. While it does not have the bells and whistles of other survey services like Survey Monkey, its simplicity is actually what makes it more attractive to startups. It’s easy to use and easy to understand, and that is really all you need when doing surveys.
The Gartner Magic Quadrant Report for UCaaS leader has always been the industry leader in cloud communications. But they have brought their phone system to a whole new level with a cloud-based unified communications solution. From a single platform, you can have voice, fax, SMS, audio and video conferencing, and even team messaging. The tool also comes with an advanced call management phone system with advanced features like auto-attendant, call logs, call metrics, call recording, and call screening, just to name a few. Subscribers of RingCentral Office also get free automatic $5 subscription to Glip Basic Plan (a $5 value), RingCentral’s team messaging and collaboration platform.
Nutshell is the CRM (Customer Relation Management) built for startups and small businesses. This app is ready to go and will automate your sales process and simplify contract management immediately. The main criticism for this app is the lack of customizations but for mom and pop shops who are looking for a plugin solution without much fuss, the lack of customizations is actually perfect. Plans start at $22/month.
If you are not yet used to using project management apps, Basecamp is the perfect first solution. It is pretty simple to use and the navigations is pretty straightforward. For $20/month, you can manage up to 10 projects. With Basecamp, you create task lists, add collaborators, communicate per project, attach files, and of course, track progress and milestones.
These are just some of the cloud solutions that can help you run your business smoother and easier. There are other cloud-based apps and services there for different business needs. It is up to you to decide which ones would work best for your company.