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    SME solutions
    27 August 2019

    James Francis

    Five services every SME should use

    Is your business getting the most out of today’s technology services?

    It was not so long ago that business software and services were expensive, aimed at large companies and generally not worth the cost for smaller businesses. But thanks to today’s online services, you can use the best that the enterprise world does. Here are six services that will boost your company, sometimes without spending a cent!

    Grammarly

    Not everyone is fond of writing, even though it’s something that every business needs in terms of emails, presentations and all kinds of documents. Writing also takes a share of focus and consideration, which makes it very easy for mistakes to creep in. Spelling checkers can catch some of the errors, but what about grammatical mistakes, poor word choices or creating overlong sentences? Maybe you misspelt someone’s surname or left an extra space somewhere. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone - or something - that can help check your writing?

    If you want to make sure you are writing good well, use Grammarly. This is an online artificially intelligent service that scans for mistakes, including spelling, punctuation, grammar and a lot more. Use the website or a plugin that works with popular browsers and some document editors. The basic tier is free but already catches several common mistakes. The paid membership unlocks even more correction choices, but as a free tool, Grammarly is already very useful to shake any embarrassing mistakes from your writing.

    Firefox Send

    Now and then you have a large file that needs to be sent to someone. Email is unreliable: the file might be too big and not upload. It might be put in the recipient’s spam folder or be stripped out by zealous security software. Other options are even more limiting or just too much work to deal with.

    There are several reliable services for sending large files. But Firefox Send, from the makers of the Firefox browser, is one of the slickest in the pack. You don’t need to register for files smaller than 1gb. You can also set a password, a time limit or even have the file destroyed after a certain amount of downloads. This service is completely free as part of Firefox’s campaign for privacy protection and you can use it on any browser. Free and safe? It’s hard to believe but in this case, it’s true.

    Office365

    Email is critical for every business. Most small companies make do with free email or a basic service from their ISP. But the first option is not very professional and the latter can cause problems around security and backups. Fortunately, thanks to the cloud you can have great email with all the perks - and still keep it cheap.

    Several cloud email services offer a lot, but Office365 is one of the best. At a low monthly fee, you get access to a complete email that will support your company’s domain, matches the features of email software, is easy to search and always accessible via a web browser or mobile app. The service also includes a calendar for simple, professional scheduling, as well as several other apps such as Word, Excel, a CRM, team managers and much more.

    Sage Business Cloud

    Managing accounts is a real drag, but an important part of doing business. Whether it’s invoicing on time, capturing expenses, chasing errand payments or getting your books ready for tax season, your business can rise and fall based on how reliable your accounting practices are. But admin is a pain, accountants are expensive and spreadsheets are boring. So rather use an online accounting service.

    There are again several decent services in this category. Yet Sage Business Cloud stands out for its good local presence. At the most basic tier, you can manage invoices, track payments, generate reports and access services any time on a PC or mobile device. Slightly higher tiers add more features such as stock management and more. Available in monthly and annual pricing, try it out first and see if it works for your business. You can also get the comprehensive experience on the Vodacom Business Booster app, which is powered by Sage and designed to manage all your accounting needs in the palm of your hand.

    Zoom

    It’s productive to meet people in person and add a face to a relationship, but today’s jam-packed schedules don’t always make that possible. We also live in a global age, where many different people can collaborate from different parts of the world. These reasons have made video conferencing very popular and a must-have business tool. Even a camera built into a laptop or phone gets the job done - all you need is the service.

    Small businesses have plenty to choose from in this section. But Zoom is particularly nice because its free tier has a ton of features you’d normally pay for. This includes hosting multiple participants, screen sharing, recording meetings and support for dialling-in with a normal phone call. There are some limits, but Zoom should cover your remote conferencing needs and add a lot more.

    The Vodacom Business solution

    In this dynamic world, the cloud provides agility and access to the essential data and apps your business needs to be decisive and differentiated. Our Cloud and Hosting solutions can improve productivity within your organisation, offering a more flexible way of working while reducing costs. We bring together the power of our network, connected devices and cloud platforms. 

    James Francis