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Get Your Business Online in 6 Steps

by Megan Totka


Having a website isn’t the only way your business can and should be online. There are more web-based tools appearing on the horizon every day, all designed to make your business smarter and more efficient. Here’s what you should be doing right now to get the most out of these online tools.

1. Stop Tracking Finances in Spreadsheets

If you are manually balancing your business checkbook or using a spreadsheet for important financial data, it’s time to use a tool that will make the work a lot easier for you. Web-based accounting solutions like Freshbooks allow you to sync your checking register with your bank account, send invoices, and accept payments, all from any computing device.

Cost to Use: Freshbooks has a free account if you have 3 or fewer clients, then packages start at $19.95 per month. There is also a 30-day free trial available.

2. Make Time Tracking Easier

If you work for an hourly rate or you simply want to keep track of how long you spend on a given project, again, a spreadsheet isn’t the best tool for the job. Online time tracking tools like Paymo let you track time spent on a client project with the click of a button. The platform (also available as a Chrome plugin for free) will also invoice your clients.

Cost to Use: Paymo has a free Chrome plugin, and a free account for a single user. A premium plan for 3 users is just $14.85 a month.

3. Keep Better Track of Client Data

Post-it® Notes and scribbles don’t cut it when it comes to taking notes on client calls or organizing information about each of your customers. A web-based CRM does the trick, and lets all of your employees access client data from any device. You can keep track of emails sent back and forth with clients, as well as see what they’re doing on social media.

Cost to Use: Insightly has a Free Forever plan for up to 3 users and larger plans starting at $29 a month.

4. Stop Worrying About the Security of Your Data

Local servers are so 2010. Now cloud-based servers ensure all your important files are backed up safely off site. Resources like Dropbox help you easily share documents, photos, and audio files with others while housing them in one easy-to-find folder online.

Cost to Use: DropBox is free for up to 2G of data, then plans start at $9.99 a month.

5. Take Your Word Processing Online

CloudSecurityAnother important step to getting your business running efficiently with web apps is to take the step from using Microsoft Office products in favor of Google Drive. Being able to create and share word processing documents, spreadsheets, forms, and presentations helps you collaborate with your team without redundant emails. Anyone with access to a document gets a notification when you comment or make changes you want them to see.

Cost to Use: Free, like most Google products.

6. Manage Projects Smarter

Because location is now essentially irrelevant when it comes to working with a team, it’s important to have tools in place to guarantee success. Project management software like Basecamp improves collaboration by allowing you to assign tasks to team members, set milestones, share files, and track time spent on a project.

Cost to Use: Manage up to 10 projects for $20 a month, with a 60-day free trial.

There are countless other web-based applications and tools you can use to grow your business. What you use is entirely up to you. Free trials let you try out the goods and find the tools that best fit your business needs.

How about you? Do you use any other online business tools that you feel should be mentioned here?

Article by

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web.

Megan has written 24 articles at iBlogzone.com


Anchit Shethia

February 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Everything can be done without any hassle, but we really have to worry about security.
When Apple and PayPal can get hacked, we as a small business are pretty easy to go down.


Megan Totka

February 10, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I agree that security is definitely a concern. However, we as small businesses put our faith in companies like Apple and PayPal to protect us. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do if companies like this are hacked. I would focus on the things we can control and make a plan of action for protecting yourself if things like this ever happen. That way your business is ready for the worse.

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