For instance, early customer Envision Studios, a commercial casting company, uses Blue Jeans-powered videoconferencing to connect casting directors watching via their iPads in Florida with ad agency reps who are on their office PCs in other states. This makes casting less expensive, while also letting agencies tap into a much larger talent pool. You can try Blue Jeans free for two weeks.
14) Bitcasa is an online storage tool that offers 10GB of storage for free. You can get unlimited storage for $69 per year. It includes mobile client tools, and although it is targeted at consumers, SMB features will be rolling out soon.
You can also elect to mirror all your devices (PC, laptop, smartphone, etc.) to your Bitcasa Infinite Drive. Your files are then automatically and continuously backed up and available anywhere. Everything is still available offline, and your changes will sync up when you are back online.
15) Box and 16) Soonr are online file sharing and collaboration services. Both let you securely share (and store) large files, while keeping them in sync across devices. Box for small businesses is priced is $15 per user per month. Soonr's pricing starts at $9.95 per month for three users.
The two main tools many small business owners use to run their businesses and track customer interactions are email and Excel spreadsheets. Most owners eventually realize that this approach leaves records scattered across various accounts, hindering sales and marketing efforts and even compromising the customer experience. Meanwhile, big CRM solutions like those from Saleforce.com and Oracle are out of reach for many SMBs.
17) Insightly combines CRM and project management functionalities in one application, so users dont have to manage multiple applications. The cloud-based solution, which tightly integrates with Google Apps, allows users to easily keep track of customer interactions and manage leads, proposals, opportunities, projects and files from any device. Users can start with a free account and upgrade as needed. The most expensive plan, supporting up to 40 users, is priced at $99 per month.
18) LiquidPlanner is a cloud-based predictive project management tool designed to execute millions of schedule calibrations over the course of a project.
LiquidPlanner helps focus teams on what's most important: strategic projects and tasks and/or those with the most revenue potential. Users estimate how long a task should take (giving a range), and after searching through calendar availability, vacation time and set priorities, LiquidPlanner calculates when various tasks should be completed, giving both best- and worst-case scenarios.
When project priorities shift, LiquidPlanner automatically updates the schedule to reflect the changes. It comes with a mobile companion, so you can stay on track while on the go. Pricing starts at $29 per user per month.
Security is a constant concern for small businesses. Sure, they're smaller targets than major corporations, but these days that doesn't mean much, especially when a business in Idaho may well be attacked from somewhere in China or Russia.
Moreover, like every other business, small businesses expose themselves to data breaches when employees are out of the office. One tool to help prevent this is 19) Pocket Desktop, an encrypted USB drive that stores all of your important information (files, banking info, emails, etc.) and lets you take your desktop with you and keep it secure in the process.
Remove the USB drive from, say a home PC, and you leave no trace that you were ever there, and there is nothing left over for someone to steal. A 4GB drive costs $20, while a 16GB one is $60.