The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Down The Line
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – The Meaning Of Cloud
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Down The Drain

How to Run Your Entire Business Using Free and Low Cost Web Apps

Software as a service (SaaS) and all things related to cloud computing have grown enormously popular for small business use of the last few years, and why not. Many of the services needed to run today’s businesses can be acquired for little of no cost and allow even the tiniest of start-ups to do things once only achieved by much larger organizations.

Access to online tools from virtually anywhere opens up markets, expands access to vendors and talent and makes collaboration something more easily done, even with internal teams.

The list below is a round-up of some of the tools available today. It’s conceivable that organizations could run their entire business with little more than a web browser.

Marketing

  • HeapCRM – Very intuitive product built specifically for small business
  • Infusionsoft – CRM with ecommerce, email marketing and affiliate modules built right in
  • ZohoCRM – Part of the Zoho family and an nice alternative to Salesforce.com for those that don’t need all the extras

Graphic Design

  • Sliderocket – Powerful way to build and share online presentation
  • WebNode – HTML and css editor robust enough to design and maintain entire web sites
  • Aviery – Suite of online graphic design tools for image editing, color and effects editing, illustration and even audio editing
  • Pixlr – Extremely popular free online photo editor
  • Jaycut – online video editing set of tools that also allows you to install video editing on your site for user generated campaigns

Management

  • HyperOffice – Project and business management suite that is great for collaboration teams
  • Central Desktop – Project management that allows you to easily build wiki style intranets and operation’s manuals
  • Torch – Integrates nicely with Google Apps and allows project management with bidding and invoicing built in.
  • Box.net – Simple file sharing and storage that plays well with mobile devices.
  • Mozy.com – Automatic and scheduled online back-ups for all that stuff you still keep on a computer.
  • Amazon S3 – S3 is just online storage that is part of Amazon’s Web Services offering, but you can store and stream tons of content for very little here.
  • Mindmeister – Online mind mapping and brainstorming tool
  • Evernote – Great tool for all your notes, thoughts, bookmarks and web clippings. Syncs well with mobile devices

Productivity

  • Zoho.com – Zoho has become the mother of all online offerings. In fact, you could probably run your entire business with their suite of tools alone
  • Acrobat.com – Adobe’s play in the application word of spreadsheets, docs, and presentations. More useful than Google Apps to me.
  • Google Apps – If you are a Google user than it’s pretty natural to see how this Officelike set of tools would make sense.
  • 30boxes – Easiest way to create and share calendars online.
  • Google Calendar – Google’s calendar system is free and syncs with other desktop and mobile calendars well.
  • Tungle.me – Primarily a scheduling calendar for groups that need to find times that are open for all to meet.
  • Time Bridge – Does time tracking, scheduling and sharing well.
  • Tokbox – Nice group video chat tool that allows groups large and small to meet via video without downloading software.
  • Wobzip – online file compression tool that can replace software such as WinZip and StuffIt.
  • Zamar – Upload files to Zamar and convert them to the format you need – mp4 to mov or mov to flv.
  • Meebo – online based group chat. No need to download desktop clients as all chat is done via browser (nice way to offer chat to web visitors).
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