Over the last year, I’ve slowly started using the cloud a lot more. I’m a solopreneur, so my situation isn’t always the same as another small business owner’s, but I can see some of the ways that other business startups and home business owners can use technology to save money and move forward. The cloud is one of my favorite ways to save information, collaborate with others, and generally get things done — without breaking the bank.
Here are some ways technology can help your small business save money and collaborate more effectively:
There are a number of document sharing apps out there. I’ve used Google Drive quite a bit to collaborate, since it’s easy to share information and edit documents. You can even see when others are making changes. I just finished a collaboration on a company’s style guide document with someone who lives hundreds of miles away.
Another cloud document sharing app I like to use is Dropbox. Not only is it a good way to share documents, it can also be used to share larger files. My partners on the Money Mastermind Show and I use Dropbox to share video files and we recently hired a company to edit our audio and provide transcripts. This is freeing up some of our time and providing us with a chance to be more effective as we grow the podcast.
Your small business can benefit as well. Document sharing with the cloud can mean fewer time (and soul) sucking meetings, as well as save you money on printing costs and other paper costs. You boost productivity and make more money, all without spending a great deal.
Invoicing and Contracts
For some small business owners, particularly freelancers and others who work online, the right invoicing tools can help. Tools like Due.com allow you to track your time, create invoices, and even generate effective contracts. This saves you money, since you don’t have to always pay a lawyer or even buy a contract template. While some businesses benefit from retaining a good small business lawyer, others are more likely to just need a little help with invoicing, time tracking, contracts. An online solution like Due.com can help. Additionally, setting up with recurring invoices and saving templates saves you time, increasing productivity (and your bottom line).
There are also great online and cloud solutions to help you manage payroll and save money as a small business. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to manage your operations, and these types of technology tools can be a great help to you.
Finally, don’t forget about meetings over long-distances. There are a number of online and cloud solutions that allow you to hold video meetings and trainings — without spending a great deal on travel. You can use videoconferencing to share screens, make reports, and even train others. These meetings allow you to have an in-person feel without spending thousands on travel costs.
If you look around, you might be surprised to discover how much the cloud and technology in general can save your small business.