5 Essential Cloud Tools
Why these cloudware tools are a must for any modern business
Smart business owners are always on the lookout for ways to save money. One of the best ways is capitalizing on some of the best free cloudware tools available to businesses. Sixty percent of small and medium enterprises are already using cloud-based tools. The cloud has made it even easier to store and access files, across locations and on a variety of platforms. You can even collaborate and share documents and photos with clients and colleagues. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a fortune on clever cloud tools. We’ve collected what we believe are the top five must-have cloudware tools for any modern entrepreneur.
Read on to find out how these apps can grow your business, all for free.
If you’re not using LinkedIn, you’re missing a massive trick. Not only is it a great way to find out a little bit of background on potential customers, but you can also keep up to date with news from your industry in the ‘Pulse’ newsfeed.
Endorse your peers for skills and encourage others to do the same for you. If possible, get recommendations from ex-colleagues and clients too. LinkedIn works like an online CV, so having social proof that you do what you say you can do is paramount for building new client relationships and growing your status as an industry expert.
Connect with Thought Leaders and professionals in the many forums and participate in discussions and debates. Having a LinkedIn profile makes you look like a serious business professional, just make sure your photo is business-appropriate.
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud-based file storage solutions. Create a folder on your desktop that syncs with an online cloud folder. You can access files in this folder from any device, using your Dropbox account. Dropbox allows you to edit documents, play videos or share photos, from any device.
Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage space, but if you refer friends, you can earn a further 16GB of additional online space.
Your files are safe and secure with two-step verification and 256-bit AES encryption.
Gmail is the go-to free email service for businesses around the world. Not only is it fully customisable and offers decent tagging and filing options for messages, it also offers 10GB of storage space. You can prioritise incoming messages and manage mail with promotional and social tabs. Take advantage of Gmail’s Boomerang system and schedule emails to be sent out whenever you want. This is perfect for dealing with clients overseas who may prefer you to email during business hours (local time).
Zoho is a free CRM system for up to three different users, making it idea for start-ups testing the water with CRM systems. You can keep up to date with ongoing sales projects and easily find out your customer’s history. You can even find out competitor information. The dashboard is your hub for sales analysis and reporting, and you also have the option of linking with your customer’s social media channels.
The free Zoho edition also offers unlimited cases and unlimited contacts.
Manage your tasks and projects properly with Mavenlink, the project management software system that combines software and services into one powerful system. Advanced project management, resource planning, collaboration and finance management services are brought together so that you can keep tabs on every area of your business. Mavenlink offers excellent customer service, including 24 hour live chat, where you’re unlikely to have to wait more than a minute to speak to a human to ask for help.
In a world where many CRM systems offer similar tools, providing a robust and reliable customer support service is a strong selling point. A client is four times more likely to switch to a competitor if they have a problem with customer service.
Many of these free cloudware tools offer an upgrade option. This gives you further access to more functionality and tools. Experimenting with a free version of a cloud-based app is a great way to find out if it suits your needs and is a good fit for your business.
By Gary Gould