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Swiss-Army-Knife tools for Small Business in 2016

Vendor Independency

In general, small business owners are frugal. They have to be. In addition, they are usually short on time, which creates somewhat complicated situation. More so, there is a whole layer of additional works that goes on top of what goes into running a small business. This is why it’s crucial to turn to digital

help to streamline operations.
Lyntech Solutions has a lot of experience working with different organizations, so we are in position to give your business a few useful tips on how to use applications and online services to help you achieve more in less time.

To kick-start your 2016, this is a list of applications and services that you should considering integrating into your small business organization.

LAN Storage and User Management: Windows Server 2012 or Windows Small Business Server

The base of every well-connected small business organization is using a dedicated server suite. Perhaps one of the easiest to set up and use is Windows Small Business Server.
By configuring your network using Windows Small Business Server or Windows Server 2012, your business can easily share resources of files, calendars, printing assignments, and much more. This is an integrated solution that doesn’t take much time learning how to utilize it.
Lyntech Solutions has a lot of experience developing network solutions for businesses, so we can share with your some of the best practices. You can find more information in our previously posted article.

Email communication: Google Apps for Work or Office 365

When it comes to cloud-based productivity apps and email correspondence, businesses have a wide array of attractive options. However, when it comes to small businesses, there a few viable options. Some of the most advantageous ones are Google Apps and Microsoft’s Office 365.
While Google Apps are keeping its options simple by offering two distinctive plans, Microsoft has come up with a bit more complex solution. This might sound a bit confusing, but it’s good to have different options since most small businesses are trying to lower their costs, which is truly beneficial in the initial stages of development.
While Microsoft offers different services and different application versions through their plans, Google has a history of pushing the boundaries by offering a lot of value for the price of its plans.
You can find an in-depth article on how to choose between a plan from these two companies in our previously posted article. This is where we compared numerous features and brought you a reliable analysis of these two cloud-based services.

Online Storage/Online Backup: Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive

Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive are three of the best known cloud storage solutions available, where each one has a number of different benefits. In many instances, it is a best idea to stay within one ecosystem of online services, so if you choose to use Office 365 – you should stick to Microsoft’s OneDrive. Here is a short overview:

  • Dropbox is known for a very reliable service, as well as for gradually released innovations. One of the most useful features of this service is integration with Microsoft Office as well as over 300,000 extensions for different apps. This company also proudly says that you can count on fast, simple, and secure file sharing.
    Dropbox for Business is the company’s solution for business organizations that allows you to safely keep your company’s data in the cloud, as well as control it via extensive administration features. There are numerous payments plans, based on how many licenses your organization needs. This cloud storage is priced at $15 per month/per one user, or $12.5 per month/per one user – if you decide to pay annually.
  • In case you decide to go with Google Apps for Work, it is a good idea to use Google Drive for your online storage needs. When you purchase any Google Apps plan for your small business, you will automatically receive 30GB of online storage per user shared across Drive and Gmail. Additionally, you use the company’s unlimited storage plan for $10 per user per month.
    Some of the best-known features of this cloud storage is the ability to preview over 40 popular file formats, as well as using Google-powered search.
  • In case you decide to stick to Microsoft’s ecosystem, you should go with OneDrive. Similarly to Google’s services, you will receive some online storage if you purchase Office 365. An additional 1TB of space can be purchased for $5 per month.
    Microsoft has done a lot of work to ensure that your data stays safe in the cloud. You can count on cross-platform syncing, an array of mobile apps, as well as advanced data loss prevention.

Project Management: Base Camp, Trello, or Teamwork.com

In today’s digital age, it is easy to work with someone across the globe. Interestingly enough, the number of people who work in a virtual office space has increased over 100% during the last two years. Even if you don’t work in a virtual office, you can utilize software for virtual teamwork since most of us have access to Wi-Fi, cloud computing, smartphones, and online tools.

  • Base Camp is one of the easiest project management tools. This tool allows you to track projects via to-do lists, host chat private and public chat sessions, and easily exchange all kinds of files. Even though this is one the simpler solutions, it is powerful enough to support your small business. Additionally, you can use apps for Apple and Android devices to access this online service, as well as integrate with your Google Drive or Dropbox.
    Base Camp plans start at $20/month for up to 10 active projects.
  • Trello is also a project management tool, but this one is great for collaborative brainstorming. We usually recommend this useful tool for those who like to develop an idea using a desktop or smartphone app. You can host different boards and set up basic to-do lists, along with media attachments. As expected, you can also print your digital boards.
    Trello is free for up to 10-megabyte attachments, or $5/month for 250-megabyte attachments.
  • Teamwork is one of the most comprehensive solutions for small businesses who need very strict organization. Even though this might sound complicated, this online service offers an array of nicely designed apps that are very easy to use. In comparison to Base Camp, you can assign priorities, create milestones, send invoices, and even use time tracking. This is a very flexible solution, so you can fine-tune it according to your company’s needs.
    Teamwork is free for up to two projects and up 10 MB storage, or $12/month for 5 projects and 1 GB of storage.

Accounting Software: Xero

Thanks to today’s digital tools, accounting can be easy to understand and utilize. Based on our previous experiences, Lyntech Solutions strongly recommends using Xero. This is an online accounting software that is perfect for small businesses.
Using Xero, you can easily keep track of your company’s cash flow. For example, you can log in online and see up-to-date financials, as well as generate automatic reports. There is also a very helpful dashboard where you can glance at some of the most valuable information regarding your financials.
Another important aspect of Xero are its invoicing capabilities. This way, you can streamline your workflow by sending online invoices, keeping track of when and if your customers open and read them, as well designing the final look of your invoices. It is also easier to get paid thanks to an automatically generated link on each invoice, where your customers can make direct payments using their credit cards.

With years of experience in developing solutions for small business owners, we can help you set up and utilize all kinds of digital assistance – from desktop and server maintenance, network design, and server upgrade, up to integration of cloud computing into your workflow.
In case of any questions, you can easily contact us via our Contact Page.

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