With regards to technology, small businesses and entrepreneurs working out of a home office used to be at a competitive disadvantage. But the abundance of productivity tools and online resources for small businesses has changed all that. Being small doesn’t have to look small — now you can run your business from beaches and terraces of the world with just a cell phone or a tablet.
Now, smartphones are practically office computers in and of themselves, allowing you to stay connected 33,000 feet up in the air or stuck in gridlocked traffic. Not surprisingly, a Small Business Technology Poll taken by AT&T reports a steady increase in the use of tablets, 4G devices and mobile apps for business purposes. The next step for the 85 percent of small businesses using smartphones is utilizing the variety of tools available online.
Here are three inexpensive resources offered online that help small businesses and the one-person team working from home — and your business shouldn’t be without them.
1. Virtual phone system. This system allows companies of all sizes to have a business-class virtual phone system designed to help small and home-based business owners build the same strong, professional image as larger competitors. It comes with toll-free numbers, Internet fax, voice mailboxes and more.
2. Payroll software. Depending on the size of your business, it may not be pragmatic to have a full-time accountant, and outsourcing can be pricey. But payroll software can be optimized for all payment methods, and accuracy is based on a money-back guarantee. Software of this nature tends to be very user-friendly and extremely secure.
3. Email marketing software. Social media marketing is all the rage right now, but according to SmallBizTechnology.com, email marketing software remains more effective. An email marketing software tool will track who opens, reads and forwards your emails, design more targeted newsletters, increase referrals and get quicker results.
One last word of advice, which may be the most crucial of all: Type TestThis4Free.com into your browser and bookmark it. The website is a one-stop shop for online productivity tools, including virtual phone systems, payroll software, email marketing software and more. The best part? It offers free trials of various software and services to make sure users will use and benefit from a tool before buying it.
With these tools offered for free online, small businesses actually stand a chance against large companies and big budgets.