A few weeks ago, we highlighted a number of online business tools that would effectively allow you to run your company in the cloud. This means that you no longer have to make the commute in to the office in order to take care of both your employees and your customers. It also means that if business happens to take you abroad, you can still handle everything that you need through remote business management.
It goes without saying that you have a myriad of options when it comes to cloud-based business tools and the services that you add to your arsenal will depend partly on your budget, partly on the nature of your business, and partly on the particular solutions that you need. With that, we take a look at a few more web-based utilities that could prove invaluable in running and growing your business.
Grasshopper Virtual Phone Service
When you have a traditional office with a traditional receptionist, a traditional phone system with the usual set of extensions might be appropriate. When you have a less traditional office with remote workers, telecommuting and mobile employees, a virtual phone service like Grasshopper might be a better idea. You get to keep your existing number (or you can take on a toll-free number if you prefer) and you still get multiple extensions, but it all works virtually. The extensions can even forward calls to cell phones, making it easy to work from just about anywhere while easily keeping in touch with colleagues, partners and customers alike.
The most popular plan is $49 a month, including 2,000 minutes, up to two numbers (toll-free or local), and unlimited extensions.
When I Work Employee Scheduling Software
Are you having a hard time staying on top of the shifts and timetables for your growing team? Rather than trying to shoehorn something into an Excel spreadsheet, think about the “super simple staff scheduling software” from When I Work. There’s a simple wizard for defining employees, locations and positions, filling and replacing shifts in 30 seconds flat. The system handles everything from availability management to vacation requests, making remote business management a breeze.
The default employee scheduling plan for 20 employees is $29 per month, rising to $55 per month if you want to add the time and attendance tracking features.
Pipedrive Sales CRM
You manage to get yourself a hot lead on a prospective client and you want to make sure that relationship gets properly monitored and nurtured. One of the better online sales CRM (customer relationship management) solutions is Pipedrive. You get a great view of your sales pipeline, including diving into the finer details for each team member, for specific products or for specific timelines you want to follow. The Timeline View makes sure you focus on the activities that should yield the best results and the mobile apps keep you in the loop no matter where you go.
Pricing has been kept as simple as possible. The monthly plan is $12 per user with no contracts, no hidden fees and no account limits.
Deskero Help Desk Software
Everyone has the assumption that if a customer is reaching out for support, he’s probably reaching out to complain. That’s not always the case! He might just need some help with your product or service. Managing support tickets with “the next level of customer care” is Deskero. The “complete help desk software” is able to take in requests not only by email, but also through social networks like Twitter and Facebook. And you can export that data at anytime too.
The monthly plans range from $0 to $78 per agent, depending on the features you need.
Gumroad E-Commerce Solution
Whether you sell digital products that can be delivered over the Internet or you have physical goods that need to be shipped the old fashioned way, Gumroad could be the engine you want to power your e-commerce store. The heavily optimized purchase experience leaves a positive impression on your customers, including the easy ability to respond to questions or issue refunds. Support for software license keys, multiple versions of the same product, and even rentals rounds out a comprehensive online system.
Plans start at $10 a month including unlimited bandwidth. You are then charged 3.5% and 30 cents for each transaction, which is comparable to what PayPal would cost but with way more features.
Image credit: Michael Coghlan / Flickr