In such a tough economy, if you own a small business it’s hard to stay afloat and make your business unique and relevant in your community. With hundreds of thousands of people retiring and having to foreclose on their beloved businesses every single day, now is the perfect time to make those changes you’ve been considering. It may not make sense, but with such grim-looking opportunities out there, upgrading your email services, creating a streamlined website and offering your small business’ services on the web can drive sales and keep your business from going under.As broadband internet becomes more easily available, business owners can now choose to run online software through their browsers. The upside of this is that it can save valuable hard drive space; you can access your files anywhere because they are stored in an easily accessible server (a “cloud”, if you would) without you having to carry around any file storage mediums, like hard drives, CDs or flash drives; the files are cross-platform, which means they can be run on any operating system and through any browser; and software updates are downloaded automatically, without you having to remember to do them. A potential downside would be if the server where your files are hosted remotely ever goes down, you are sunk. Many companies who offer remote hosting services also provide protection, sometimes financially, against such things happening.There are hundreds of thousands of options for you to choose from, from online clocks (useful for those who travel frequently; also including alarm clocks!) to sticky notes, to business schedules. Some of these apps are designed to simulate the look and feel of their real world counterparts, including, for example, real cuckoo clock sounds to wake you! Other online services can include payroll management (since the fastest way to lose a business is to have the employees walk out due to not being paid), and even phone service through the internet by way of companies such as Vonage. Many companies charge for these services; still others provide them for free.Business owners who choose online software options also appreciate having the same company provide his or her online email solutions. But instead of choosing the largest email inbox size or the one with the best virus protection, you should look for features such as email archiving and high availability with little downtime for such pesky things as software upgrades. Microsoft, for example, as part of its Office 365 business suite, offers 25 gigabyte email storage for each employee, as well as security protection against viruses, Trojans, worms and other threats; all for a nominal fee. The one catch is that the email is hosted offsite by Microsoft’s servers; therefore the business does not deal directly with the IT professionals managing the servers. This may be a good thing, especially for micro businesses, which do not always have the time or finances to deal with servers or hiring IT professionals.While the economy today may make you feel like you are the captain of the Titanic, the good news is that with broadband internet, the world is, literally, your oyster. Many companies offer their email services for free or a small price each month, including nearly every service you can think of. Email services can be through the traditional server hosted in office; or, for those who cannot afford the hassle, through companies such as Yahoo! and Microsoft. These companies provide remote access through computer, tablet and smart phones, as well as attractive email storage space, archiving and secure protection. Whatever option you choose, rest assured that if you navigate right, your small business can become revitalized!
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