Five Big Things That Small Businesses Can Do On a Small Budget

Edmund Tee
Edmund Tee
13 November 2015 Business Insights, Tips and Tricks

As a small business, MightyCall understands the need to manage resources carefully, so we’ve put together a list of important activities that every business needs to do well, with tools that are either free or low-cost. These include collaborating/partnering on a single project, via tools such as Google Docs and Dropbox; organizing work on different parts of the same larger project utilizing project management software like Asana, Trello and Wrike; quick coordination of meetings, when required, with platforms like FreeBusy and Doodle; basic communications facilitators like good ol’ Skype, Slack and HipChat; managing customer communications via platforms like… well, like MightyCall!

At MightyCall, we really understand what small businesses need to be successful.

We also get that resources are often limited.

That’s because we’re a small business too.

So we thought it would be helpful to put together a list of important activities that every small business needs to do well, with tools that are either free or low cost. These tasks are:

  • How to partner on a single thing.
  • How to collaborate on different parts of a big thing.
  • If a meeting is needed, how to quickly find time that works for everyone.
  • How to communicate with other people.
  • How to manage customer calls.

Here we go.

How to partner on a single thing

One of the key things that every bootstrapping team needs to do is collaborating with others on one specific thing.

Maybe that thing is an article. Maybe it’s a podcast or video. Or, maybe it’s a spreadsheet or a presentation.

Not being in the same place could make this a little difficult, but thankfully, document management and cloud storage capabilities have solved this issue. Most allow shared access to files, and allow you to track changes, markup stuff, and capture the most current versions of the content.

Some even allow for simultaneous edits.

Good options include Google Docs and Google Drive, DropBox, Box and OneDrive.

How to organize working on different parts of the same big thing

Another important function that small companies need to do well is collaborating on a project. These can get pretty complex, requiring a business owner to assign tasks, track progress and deadlines, and manage dependencies.

Some great project management tools include Trello, Asana and Wrike (especially its Gantt Charts!).

If a meeting is needed, how to quickly find time that works for everyone

Think back to the last time you had to set up a meeting or call with someone else. How much phone or email tag did you have to play to get it done?

Now add a whole bunch of other people in different organizations to the equation and the task gets a lot more difficult.

One of the latest tools to hit the market is FreeBusy, which helps busy people pull together cross-organizational calls in seconds.

It does this magic trick by finding the free/busy availability of everyone’s existing calendars, without the hassle of making you create a new account or calendar.

This is huge, because just about every so-called scheduling app out there like Doodle requires a new calendar, and seriously, who wants yet another calendar?

With FreeBusy allows anyone, even those with zero technical skills, to turn the parts of their calendar that they want to share, and publish it as an iCalendar that the you can control who has access to.

It even pulls together meetings in a heartbeat when my teammates and I want to take an instant messaging conversation in Slack into a conference call.

It’s free as of this writing, but I hear that there are plans to start charging, so might as well sign up now while the deal is sweet.

How to communicate with other people

So you found the time to connect. Great. Now how are you going to do that?

Sure, if it is one-to-one, your smartphone and its apps are no brainers. Maybe even your instant messaging apps.

But if your small business needs to reach a larger group, or need to connect with people all over the world, you need to take your game to the next level.

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have that old grand daddy — Skype. It’s a big reason why Microsoft bought it. Highly reliable, even in places where the internet may not be the best.

It works all over the world (ok almost), it’s affordable (dare I say cheap?), and has navigated the mix of computers, machines, operating systems, actual phone numbers, and devices really well.

It does video, screensharing, and small group conferencing too.

Heck, it just works. I love it.

If you want to promote message discussions among your team, Slack is the darling of the Silicon Valley. A close second is HipChat.

Both take instant messaging, weave in a little contextual recognition and the ability to integrate third party capabilities, and turn the whole thing into a virtual water cooler that captures the searchable discussions for posterity.

Need to meet with a larger group in real time and present a meeting? Webinar apps like GoToMeeting, WebEx, and JoinMe are great. You can also record them for folks who simply can’t meet up.

How to manage customer calls

I’m not going to lie — this next part is going to be a plug for ourselves.

That’s not just because we’re really proud of what we bring to the table, but also because we use our own product every day.

Each time you call us, you will hear a professional greeting, and options to either get to our customer support team, punch an extension code to get to individual people, or leave a message.

In the backend, MightyCall makes sure that every customer call is taken care of by a team member.

All that is done with no need for new phones, hardware, or even new business numbers.

And because MightyCall masks your personal cell numbers, you can have the power of a professional virtual phone system right out of your iPhone or Android phone.

So there you have it. Five important functions that every small business needs to pay attention to, without having to worry about blowing up is budget.

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