Well, here we are nearing the end of another year – and what a great year it’s been for us at Ask Charly Leetham.
This year, I’ve spent a lot of time working on process, procedures and collaborating with a geographically diverse team. It goes without saying that there have been challenges along the way, but the challenges were simply opportunities to hone, review, improve or get rid of processes that didn’t work.
I thought I would share 6 Online Business tools that I’ve used this year to build my business and support team. These aren’t in any particular order – I really couldn’t rate one more highly than then other!
I’m not sure where I would be without Google Apps! Google Apps are an awesome suite of applications that simplify things for Small Businesses.
Early in 2010, I migrated my business away from using MS Outlook to the Google Apps Calendar and Email function. This immediately gave me much flexibility in accessing my email remotely and syncing mail and Calendar to my Blackberry.
Google Docs became a standard for document creation – making it easier to share content with my team and clients.
I liked Google Apps so much, that it became part of my standard service offering to our hosting and web design and development clients. In doing so, my clients have generally experienced cost savings and definitely experienced performance improvements.
You can find out more about simplifying your business communications using Google Apps by contacting me or, by visiting the Google Apps website.
Box.net is a great online collaboration tool, file sharing and more. I initially thought that Box.net was simply a ‘cloud storage’ service, but it is so much more.
With integrations to services like Google Docs, Basecamp,Piknik and a host more, Box.net really became the logical central repository for documents.
Whilst Box.net is great, sometimes something a little simpler fits the bill.
If you want to share files with a team, and be able to access them on your local computer, simply want to transfer large files to one another, then Dropbox is the one to consider.
Very simple interface, you can manage multiple folders and invite collaborators to share different folders. I don’t think Dropbox is as powerful as Box.net, but sometimes the simpler method is the best.
Skype has proven one of the most versatile tools in my portfolio. Being able to make phone calls, at reasonable rates, anywhere in the world, setting up a local number for people to contact me on, chatting with clients, screen share, video conferencing…. it’s all there.
Many of my clients know that if they drop me a Skype chat, if I’m not around, I’ll respond when I get it. It makes communicating over different timezones much easier and much simpler.
This is one tool that everyone should have.
We use Basecamp to organize projects for our clients, create To Do lists, consolidate communications and more. When combined with Box.net for file storage and collaboration, it’s made our lives a lot easier.
I particularly like being able to create different teams for different projects, and ‘sanitizing’ the information my team members see – not because I don’t want them to see it, but because they don’t NEED to see it and be overwhelmed by information.
There are some fairly awesome iPhone and iPad applications available to help you while you’re ‘On The Go’ as well.
For password management, find it hard to go past Roboform. I’ve owned it for what seems like forever and when I was travelling this year, it proved invaluable.
There is no way I could remember all my passwords, and lugging around a written password list really doesn’t strike me as a particularly safe thing to do.
The things I like most about Roboform is the automatic ‘add’ password feature and the searchability (is that a word?).
So many times I’ve not only forgotten my username and password, but the web address of a service! With Roboform, I simply open it up and search for keywords… hasn’t failed me yet.
What are your best business management tools for 2010? Why not share them below with other readers?