I recently attended a conference session about resources and tools available for new business owners. While a lot of the conversation what about raising seed and venture money, one topic was about the tools and services that are essential to a new business.
They listed a lot of the things that you would expect: A phone number, a good place to get business cards and a business address (see below). Being in the technology field, I was thinking along different lines. They didn’t mention a domain name, email and a website, though I hope it was just assumed.
I would argue that with the release of Office 365, this is also going to be a small business essential tool. Office 365 is going to be a simple, inexpensive tool that can meet the core email and website needs while being chock full of so much more potential.
- Sign up for Office 365
- Get yourself a domain name and configure your Office 365 account to use it for email and public-facing site. You may need some guidance or assistance with this, but it’s a lot less than setting up your own servers and there are a LOT of resources to help – online and other.
- Build your public-facing site. This can be as simple or complex as you’d like to make it, but with the template and tools available, you can be up in minutes.
- Now, go about your business.
- In the meantime, start to look at all the other capabilities you have:
- Lync Online – Conduct your online meetings without needing another services like GoToMeeting, etc…
- SharePoint Online – Store and share your documents and other content. MUCH more later as you learn about SharePoint’s capabilities…
- Exchange Online – Primarily your email, but so much more than the basic accounts you had in the past. Manage your calendar and resources and sync them from multiple devices.
- and so, much more…
To be fair, during the session they did also mentioned DropBox, and GoToMeeting. Dropbox may still be a useful tool, depending on the devices you’re using, though Office 365 is going to fill a lot of that capability as well. GoToMeeting is fully surpassed by the Lync Online capabilities and integration that Office 365 offers.
So, if you ask me – I wouldn’t start a business without spinning up a Office 365 site as one of the first things.
Notes and References:
- The conference I was attending was the MHTA Spring Conference. They did a fantastic job. If you’re in the Minneapolis, MN area and can attend I highly recommend it. MHTA is the Minnesota High Tech Association.
- Grasshopper Virtual Phone System – This could be useful as an alternative to giving out your cell number to anyone.
- GotPrint.com – Yep, you need to have business cards and these are certainly inexpensive.
- A P.O. box – Don’t want to be using your home address, but I prefer the UPS box option that allows for a real address with no ‘P.O.’ and notification when stuff arrives.