If you are like many other busy small business owners, you wear many hats and may easily find yourself in a situation where you need to leave your primary place of business during a busy season to attend a weeklong training in another state or help out a sick family member who lives 500 miles away. Small business owners often don’t have corporate Intranets set up, but they need access to certain files from remote locations in order to finish a project or collaborate with other team members while travelling. It can be complicated to call the home office and stay on top of all projects. It is often a hassle to keep sending large files back and forth. What alternatives do busy professionals have?
Anyone can set up a free online workspace for ongoing projects at BlueTie . You can customize your workplace, upload your files, contacts, calendar, and create to-do lists. A free account lets you have 20 users and as an administrator you can grant access and deny access if necessary. And you can access your online workspace from any place with an Internet connection. Don’t like the interface of BlueTie? There are other free options out there, such as Basecamp. With a free account, you can work on one project and give access to team members and clients. Customization is limited, but isn’t a workspace mainly for getting the job done? Still not satisfied? Try Wrike. It is built with the understanding that e-mail collaboration is crucial to completion of most projects. All members of your team get e-mail notifications about changes posted to your projects. I like their Timeline feature, it is easy to track the progress of any project. In need of more features? You can test drive WebEx Office by signing up for a free trial.
HyperOffice offers a Pay As You Go option that you can choose after your free trial expires. HyperOffice may also be an affordable alternative to Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint.
Google Docs (formerly Google Docs & Spreadsheets) makes it possible for several users to view or edit a presentation online. Users can create a presentation from scratch or import and share an existing PowerPoint presentation. During a web-based presentation, participants have a chat room to the right side of the presentation slides. Participants need a Google account. Streaming audio or video and screen sharing features are not available.
Some of us like to travel everywhere with our laptops and wireless cards. It is possible to send and receive faxes as well as make phone calls from your laptop when you sign up for RingCentral. A free trial is available.
Need to schedule a conference call with several participants while travelling? Try freeconference.com. Their “Web-Scheduled Standard” and “Reservationless Standard” conferencing services are free, but Toll-Free (800) Dial-in Numbers are not provided. Most callers should expect to dial a long distance number to access conference bridges therefore should expect to pay domestic long distance rates charged by each caller’s long distance carrier for the length of time they are on the call.
Don’t let technology enslave you, let it free you up to work wherever you would like.