Birds have the gift of flight, so the smart ones use that gift to follow the comfortable weather year-round. Humans solved the mystery of air travel a century ago, but most of us still choose to bear brutal winters and scorching summers. For many of us, that is because we have responsibilities that tie us to our homes. If the responsibility that is tying you down is your business, you can use these seven tools to throw off the shackles by creating a mobile office and leave bad weather behind.
The Seven REALLY Inexpensive Tools to Take You Mobile
- Phone.com: Port your business phone number into Phone.com, and untether yourself from your on-premise phone system. Phone.com has the lowest starting price ($10/ month) of any cloud phone system, so price is not your obstacle here. The company offers high quality service and will provide you with features like auto-attendant, unlimited extensions, metered or unlimited VoIP lines and phones, online fax, mobile apps, etc. You can either handle all your calls with your mobile phone or simply plug-in your VoIP phone to any Internet connection and take calls as if you were at your desk in your home office.
- Google Hangouts: For some meetings, a phone call isn’t enough. In those cases, use Google Hangouts to setup a video conference for up to ten people. This service is completely free and requires no software (besides a web browser), but is somehow still extremely reliable.
- Team Viewer: If you have a desktop at your office that has some programs that you don’t want to put on your laptop, but you occasionally need to access, install Team Viewer. This program allows you to login to that computer from your laptop from anywhere in the world. Team Viewer offers a completely free personal license.
- Mailbox Forwarding Inc: Physical mail is pretty hard to eliminate; fortunately virtual mailrooms allow you to minimize their limitations. Mailbox Forwarding Inc, will receive your mail (you’ll have to use one of their mailing addresses), scan the envelopes and send you the images. You then review the images and decide what you want them to do with each piece of mail. Your options include shredding, opening and scanning, forwarding, and even depositing checks on your behalf.
- iDrive Backup: In order to ensure that you have access to all your digital files, sign up for iDrive Backup and install it on every one of your and your teams computers. iDrive charges based on total storage, not number of computers, so this won’t drive up the cost. Once your files are backed up, you can access them from any computer or smartphone. iDrive charges $45/year (less than $4/ month) for up to 1 Terabyte of storage.
- Dropbox: iDrive will back up all your files and make them accessible, but it’s cumbersome to use for files you want to edit and then make available to your team or on other devices. For those files, use Dropbox. Dropbox is not the cheapest (iDrive Sync is the cheapest), but it is by far and away the most reliable. Keep all the files that you plan to access and edit regularly in your Dropbox folder and share them across your devices and with team members. Dropbox Pro accounts are $10/ month for 1 Terabyte. iDrive might seem redundant, if you’re using Dropbox, but we’ve had bad experiences trying to add all our company files at once to Dropbox (caused the computers to run slow), and Dropbox Pro can’t be installed on a server.
- Trello: No matter how small your business, you will be engaging in projects with other people. Trello is a very simple and free project management system that allows you to keep yourself and your teams organized.