How your business uses technology can ultimately determine whether your business succeeds. It’s a bold claim, but as the new adage goes: “All businesses are tech businesses.”
Gartner agrees, predicting that, “70% of small businesses that succeed over the next 5-7 years will cite technology as an indispensable factor in their growth.”
Not all technology is created equal, prompting us to ask the question: What’s the most important technology for small businesses? The answer: cloud computing. It’s been a game changer, allowing businesses to:
- Spend less money
- Reduce the risk of data loss from an on-site hardware failure
- Save time that was spent on updates
- Have anywhere access to accommodate today’s mobile workforce
- Remove geographic barriers to allow for remote workers
- Easily scale to accommodate future small business needs
- Access the same type of high-tech functionality as enterprises
While technology can make it easier to run your business, it’s not always clear which apps are worth it and which will clutter up your operations. Here are the top cloud technologies can help you manage your small business.
1. Small Business Communications
There’s no getting around the fact that your business needs a phone system. However, you’re not stuck choosing between an outdated, analog business phone or losing functionality by going completely cell phone only.
Instead, small business phone systems can be a powerful part of your tech stack, helping you stay connected while letting the technology do the heavy lifting.
For the past seven years, Ooma Office has been named as the #1 VoIP phone in PC Magazine’s Business Choice Awards.
Here’s how it works. VoIP, short for Voice over Internet Protocol, is the category of technology that transmits calls over your internet connection. This means that Ooma Office can be used via a desk phone in the office or on your cell phone through the Ooma Office business phone app. No matter what device you use, calls will show your work line, so your business communication remains consistent and professional.
Yet, the features set VoIP apart from a traditional office phone system. Every Ooma Office customer has access to unlimited calls in North America, a main company number, a direct dial line for each user, a virtual receptionist to automate incoming calls. ring groups, call logs, conference calling, voicemail audio to email, and more.
The small business phone service is contract free and scalable with a low per-user monthly fee. As your business grows, you can even scale up to the Ooma Enterprise service, which expands access to include capacity for call centers, UCaaS, video conferencing, application integration, and more.
2. Small Business Finances
No matter what industry you work in, small business owners need an easy way to manage money.
There’s a reason why QuickBooks Online tops so many small business technology lists. The web-based financial tool covers many aspects of accounting, including managing invoices, mileage tracking, receipt capture, tracking sales tax, and more.
Numbers and finances can quickly get complicated, but QuickBooks’ user interface helps you avoid information overload with a cleanly designed dashboard.
It also offers advanced functionality so you can manage payroll, integrate with tax software, power payments on your e-commerce store, provide mobile credit card payments, and more. You can also add automation so that QuickBooks syncs with your other business apps without you having to lift a finger.
3. Project Management
Luckily, project management tools for small businesses can cater to a variety of needs, helping your team stay on track and keep focused on the work that matters most. There are many top-quality project management apps, and each is prioritized for a different reason.
Choose from these apps to find a tool that matches how you run your business and how your team likes to work.
- Asana is a powerful and flexible way to manage projects. The flexibility can be an advantage if you have specific needs, but it can also mean that you’ll spend a little longer on set-up.
- BaseCamp provides a good array of online collaboration tools, including project tracking, message boards, chat, and file storage. Plus, the company offers several open source side projects.
- Slack is widely known as an email replacement platform to keep teams working in sync without the inbox overload. It can also be used for project management with user groups, app integration, collaborative to-do lists, and the beloved slackbot for automated follow-ups.
- Trello uses a visual interface for tracking projects and tasks. It’s easy to adopt, and users can simply drag and drop cards to move projects through the pipeline.
- Podio is a top-rated project management app that’s customizable and scalable. Notably, there’s a wide selection of app packs that allow you to deploy features to accommodate the needs of different industries or departments.
4. All in One
For small businesses, Google is in a category of its own.
The G Suite collection of apps covers a wide range of business tools, and because they’re all under the Google umbrella, you’ll have maximum integration across the platform.
G Suite includes Gmail for your hosted email, Google Drive for cloud file sharing, Google Docs to create files and work collaboratively, Google Hangouts for chat or online meetings, Google Calendar for integrated and shared planning, and more.
G Suite also offers third-party integration so your non-Google apps can be in sync.
There’s no denying that social media is critical to your business’ success. About 91 percent of all U.S. businesses are using social media for marketing, with the other 9 percent being stuck in the stone age.
However, it can be time-consuming to be active on multiple platforms, respond to customers, watch trends, and pay attention to your competition. Before your business is at a scale where you can hire someone to manage your social media, it can be overwhelming to try to do it right, and you could stunt your growth if you get it wrong.
That’s why social media management platforms can be a helpful way to streamline your social activity.
Sprout Social and Hootsuite are two industry leaders. From a single dashboard, you’ll be able to post content to multiple platforms, plan your publishing calendar, message with followers, review real-time analytics, and more.
The right technology provides the framework for business success. Learn more about how Ooma’s office phone system is helping businesses improve communications and save money.