10 Online Cloud Tools for Saving Small Businesses Time and Money
Like most small business owners you’re probably flat out and need as much time savers as you can get.
Here’s our pick of the top 8 online cloud based tools to save you time and money.
1. Evernote
evernote[Best suits – anybody you wants to keep text notes, voice memos, take photos or upload files online.]
  • Keep track of ideas of things you like that you see or hear
  • Make text notes, voice memos, take photos or upload files
  • Easy archive system
  • Great to use for research projects and planning and executing team-based projects
  • Free for individuals; free trial for small business

Want more information on Evernote?
Go here.

2. Social Media
fb-logo[Best suits – small businesses that want at least ONE of the following:– an online presence or to be found in search results (without a website)
– to invest time or money in longer term marketing efforts
– have a genuine interest in educating others]
Includes a Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, PInterest and Forum.
  • Educate others with what you know
  • Build trust with your prospects
  • Advertise for free to customers who are already interested in your products or services
  • Build loyalty with past customers leading to more sales

Want more information on Social Media for small businesses?

Your options are:

  1. Find information yourself online – just Google ‘social media’ or the tool you are interested in (eg facebook, twitter etc)
  2. Purchase our Social Media Support Guide [How To Get The Most Out Of Your Social Media]
  3. Ask us to do your Social Media Set Up with bonus Social Media Support Guide
3. Google Apps
google128[Best suits: small businesses with 1-1000 workers that use email, calendar or word and want to reduce IT costs and increase security]
  • Cloud Access – Create and access your emails, documents, spreadsheets and presentations from anywhere
  • No Special Hardware or Software – You don’t need special hardware or software, just a device that has internet access.
  • Office Apps – For Word and Excel, it makes most sense to use Google Drive and have everything stored in the cloud.
  • Mail & Calendar Syncing – Continue to use your current Mail and Calendar Apps and sync them with Google so you can still access everything on another computer.
  • Secure & Backed Up – All of your important info is secure and everything is backed up as you’re working on it by Google – and you can’t get better than that.
  • Multiple Device Use – Accessible on any of your devices including Apps and special technology for the smaller screens and slower internet speed on tablets and phones.
  • Unlimited Email Accounts – Customisable, unlimited email accounts with Google Apps for Business
  • Reduce IT and Admin Costs – Google Apps costs a small fraction of what most small
  • Price – $5 per user per month
Want more information on Google Apps?
Although there are a lot of good reasons for using Google Apps, you need to understand how it compares with other options and how to best set it up.
Your 2 options are:
  1. Find out more yourself – go here
  2. Get help – to talk to us about getting help, contact us

4. Objectives Setting & Management

settings[Best suits: small businesses that realise the benefits of setting and managing SMART objectives and ONE of:

– want to succeed (who doesn’t)
– experience frustration with employee or contractor performance
– want a simple self assessment and appraisal system tied to actual objectives]

Getting clear on your objectives and then making sure that they guide your everyday action is probably the key to business success.
At least one thing’s for sure – you can’t hope to achieve your goals or objectives unless you are clear on them.
Not being clear on your objectives is like getting in your car without being clear on your destination – not a good idea.
There are a number of different systems on the market but the best ones will:
  • Ensures a foolproof approach to development of SMART objectives
  • Each individual is clear on their objectives on an ongoing basis
  • Objectives are easily cascaded from top down
  • It is easy at any given moment to get a whole of business picture of the business objectives
  • By being kept informed, stakeholders come up with new ideas and initiatives
  • Appraisals simply reflect the individuals results so are more accurate, easier and faster
  • Tracks achievements so as to increase motivation
  • At least annually a larger review is done of your Organisational Objectives and how each Role’s objectives fit within the bigger picture

Want more information on Objectives Management Systems for small business?

2 options:
1.  To do it yourself, the best starting point is to find out more about SMART objectives including the free articles below. (This is our recommended starting point because without SMART outcomes, there is no point having a system for developing them).http://smallbusinessauthority.com.au/a-small-business-objectives-goals-system.html
SMART Objectives for Small Businesses
Depending on who you are talking to, the acronym SMART can mean different things.
But here’s our preference at Small Business Authority:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Aligned with the other Business Goals
R – Relevant
T – Timebound
Setting SMART Outcomes does not come naturally for most people so if you find it difficult to begin with, don’t fret. Keep working at it and your skills will improve.
And the benefits of achieving it are enormous.
You wouldn’t get in your car without being clear on your destination, so why do the same with your business or life?
At Small Business Authority we have developed an entire Objectives System which includes a formula for helping small businesses and individuals to develop SMART objectives.
Objectives are SO important that without overstating it, we believe that this System can be the difference between an ordinary small business and a great small business.
To get clear on your needs and whether we can help you, contact us.
2.  For a free consultation to enable you to get clear on the best system for you, contact us for further help.
5. Go To Meeting

Meeting[Best suits – people who need to talk and screen share online with 2 or more other people]

  • Online meeting and web conferencing tool
  • Connects team members wherever they are and on any device
  • Virtually host meetings and share screens with your team
  • Great for training or online presentations
  • 30-day free trial; then from $30/month
Want more information on Go to Meeting?
6. Xero
Xero-Logo[Best suits – anybody who wants to reduce bookkeeping and accounting fees and have access to their accounts from anywhere.]
  • With the right bookkeepers and the use of Xero, you can:
  • Save time and money on bookkeeping – your bank transactions automatically feed into Xero which means very quick entry and no reconciliations
  • Save money on accounting fees
  • Improve profitability by knowing which products are more profitable
  • Reduce tax payable
  • Easily complete all ATO obligations
  • Help grow your wealth and achieve your dreams
  • Help identify the best business structure for you in terms of saleability, asset protection and tax minimisation
  • Access to your accounts anywhere on the planet with internet access
  • Free trial, No upfront costs and competitive ongoing costs

Want more information on Xero for Small Businesses?

For a free consultation to get clear on your financial needs, find out more about Xero or set up a free trial, contact us.
7. Dropbox

dropbox[Best suits – anybody who wants to be able to access their files online]

  • Access all of your files from anywhere
  • A cloud-based file management and storage system
  • Anything added to Dropbox will automatically show up on all devices and the Dropbox website
  • Easily invite your colleagues and employees to view folders or documents and it will be saved right to their computer
  • Easily downloadable onto all devices
Want more information on Dropbox?
8. Basecamp
basecamp[Best suits – anybody dealing with multiple people on projects (including clients)]
  • Online project management and collaboration toolOne-page projects, everything relating to your project is saved on a single page
  • Input timelines and deadlines into a calendar and progress is calculated daily
  • Cheap, no-nonsense project management tool that is easily used for keeping track of everyday business too
  • Great value for money
  • 2 month free trial; from $1/day
Want more information on Basecamp?
9. Infusionsoft or OfficeAutopilot
[Best suits – any small business serious about getting and converting clients]
  • Engage via email, web and social media
  • Capture valuable data on leads
  • Measure results and optimize
  • Create drag-and-drop campaigns
  • Segment your list by demographics or behavior
  • Send targeted emails automatically
  • Discover your hottest leads
  • Convert leads into customers
  • Build long-lasting relationships
  • Design an easy online storefront
  • Customize your cart and product pages
  • Automate fulfillment and billing

Want more information on InfusionSoft or Office Autopilot for Small Business?

We highly recommend this information website which compares both products:
10. Virtual assistant

assistant[Best suits – anybody willing to pay a relative pittance so that you don’t have to do admin work and other stuff that takes up time and that you hate doing.]

OK, not really a cloud too. But we had to throw it in here because its one of our favorite ideas for increasing your productivity in a cost effective manner.
  • Free up your time so that you can work on other things that matter
  • Be more relaxed
  • Stop doing things that you hate
  • Bring more business and customers through the door

But a word of warning!

We have seen many small business owners try this and give up because they didn’t do it properly.

And doing it properly means having proven systems for each of:

– finding the right person;

– identifying the right work to delegate

– effectively delegating it

If you fail at any one of the above 3, then this won’t work.

Want more information on Virtual Assistants for Small Business?

DIY – we recommend you do some homework before looking so Google “virtual assistant” or go to “Elance” and check out their free information products

Get help – to find out more about our proven system, contact us.