Our roundup of useful tools for your small business toolkit continues today with a walk on the practical side.
If there are two things that small businesses are short on – almost by definition – it’s time and space. That’s why it’s important to have great tools on hand to help keep all of your files organized and out of the way. Enter: The Cloud.
Why store your important documents in bulky file cabinets and on breakable, scratchable CDs when you could store them in a magical place in the sky? Sure there are some documents you need to keep paper copies of. But for everything else, going digital can save you lots of time and space in your office (read: kitchen table)
File Backup: Carbonite
One of the best things about Carbonite is its time saving ability. Operating in the background whenever your computer is on and connected to the internet, Carbonite automatically scans your folders for new files and changes to old files and automatically uploads them to your secure space in the cloud. Not having to save, upload, and check every time you create or change a file can save you some serious time and headaches.
In addition to every day computer files that you’re working on, Carbonite is also a great place for anything that you’ve ever considered putting in a fire safe box. Contracts, property deeds, rental agreements, old family photos – it’s a good idea to scan these into digital format anyway, and even better to store them in the cloud.
Price-wise, this is a pretty practical solution. There are a number of packages to choose from, all with increasing capabilities. There are 3 ‘home’ options for you microbusiness owners, and 2 ‘business’ options for those needing to back up multiple computers and business servers. At the time of this article, pricing ranges from $59/year to $599/year.
File Sharing: Dropbox and Copy
Like Carbonite, file sharing products like Dropbox and Copy provide cloud storage for your documents. The focus of these services is not file backup, however, as much as it is file sharing. With that in mind, they have smaller storage capacities, and do not back up all of your files automatically. Accordingly, however, they are also free! Depending on the level of service you want, of course, there are also paid options. For Dropbox, there are a variety of Free, Pro, and Team packages. Copy also offers what they call Personal and Company packages. Pricing for both products scales based on the number of computers and the amount of storage desired.
Why cloud sharing? For one thing, mailing documents and CDs can be expensive, and you have no confirmation that your client has received them. With these sharing services, you can prove the day that they were ‘sent’ and you are also notified when they are opened, or ‘joined’. Another advantage, especially for photographers, is that you’ll never get another phone call from a client you worked with years ago requesting a copy of the CD they either lost or scratched.
An added benefit that you get with both file backup and file sharing applications is that you can access your files anywhere, anytime, from any device.
There are a number of other file backup and sharing products available today, so shop around and find the one that suits you and your small business best. (And then come back here and tell everyone about it!)
Read The Series: Your Small Business Toolkit
- Your Small Business Toolkit [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Quality Tools for Quality Communication
- How To Get More Website Clicks with Heatmapping Tools
- Helpful Google Tools for Your Small Business Website
- Let’s Be Practical: Organization For Your Small Business
- Photo Editing Options For Small Business Owners
- Tools For Small Business Owners with Something to Sell
- New Social Media Management Tool from Pagemodo
- Getting Started with Email: You Need Professional Help
- Tools For Driving Traffic: Make Your Own Infographics!
- Your Most Important Tool: A Small Business Website
- Your Small Business Toolkit: Resources for Busy Entrepreneurs