5 Killer Online Solutions for the NOLA Business

Did you know that you can save money when leasing office space if you are smart and utilize online products wisely?  Investing in the right software can help your bottom line through increased profit and productivity.  Utilizing digital services can even help reduce commercial leasing expenses.  The digital world has made filing cabinets a thing of the past, compressing, say, a 300 square foot storage room onto a thumb drive the size of a postage stamp.  The programs in this article go beyond simple apps to all-encompassing solutions that will totally transform the way you do business for the better.

1.  Highrise

While not a tall office building in downtown New Orleans, Highrise will take your client relations to lofty new heights.  Happy customers are the key to a thriving business, and this program helps you and your team efficiently manage all client relations.  It’s a simple but powerful CRM where you save and organize all your client info–notes, emails, contact info, etc.  Highrise can be programed to notify you when it’s time to make follow up calls or emails.  It’s from the makers of the Basecamp project management software, so expect a simple, clean interface where your team can collaborate and share information.  As the Highrise website claims, “Highrise does nearly everything a personal secrearty might do except go out for coffee or pick up dry cleaning.”

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2.  Google Docs

More and more business have ditched the expensive suite of traditional workplace software in favor of the could-based Google docs.  For a nominal monthly fee, Google docs offers the full suite of word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet programs.  Features include real-time online collaboration and live chat with your team.  You also have the ability to create simple forms to embed in websites.  When data is entered in the forms, it can automatically be exported into, say, a spreadsheet for analysis.

3.  Square

Square is forever changing the way businesses process payments and accept money.  The free Square card reader attaches to any smartphone or iPad and emables customers to easily pay for services via a credit card.  More payment options for the customer leads to greater satisfaction.  Square also allows business to keep track of customer payments over time, so you can easily implement a rewards system.  Starbucks recently reached an agreement with the processing company, putting Square in their stores all across the country.

4.  Skype

Ditch the expensive land line and use Skype for all your calls instead.  Skype allows for cheap domestic and international calling as well as video conferincing.  Need to remember what was said in a conversation, just hit the record button and the call is saved for later playback.

5.  Google Voice

I have used Google Voice for business for over a year now.  Google voice is a free app that installs on any smartphone and enables you to buy credits (like Skype) for cheap domestic and international calls.  My favorite feature:  Voice allows you to pick up a new phone number that forwards to your cell phone.  It even lets you pick the number you want, including area code–like 504-WHODAT9.  It is a great way to keep business and personal phone numbers separate.  You can even set up advanced options like screening calls from a specific area code.  Voice also enhances your phone’s standard voicemail with text transcription.  You can even manage your voicemails and all the apps’ features from you computer’s web browser.  Best of all, if you don’t plan on making international calls, its free.


Photo available under creative commons from Flicker user danielygo

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