Small business consultants and web-based businesses in a virtual environment should have access to the best technical tools available. This is especially the case if the provider will primarily operate as a web-based business. For small business consultants and web-based businesses, such as e-commerce merchants, these virtual tools will be extremely helpful. Here are five great types of web tools that will simplify the process of doing business online.
Web-based businesses run by small business consultants should have an online registration or event management tool. For virtual teleseminars and web-based presentations, an event management tool is essential. There are web tools designed specifically for professionals that provide coaching services and classes virtually. An event management solution should include a registration tool that allows one to register and pay completely online. Ideally, the registration process is automated to the point where no additional contact with the attendee is needed. Autoresponders should be issued to confirm acknowledgement of payments, and the small business consultant should be alerted through email of any new registrations.
Internet faxing tools are also helpful for small business consultants and web-based businesses. In doing business online, it is common for consumers to request that an item such as a receipt for small business bookkeeping be sent via fax. There are a number of internet faxing tools that are free and the paid solutions are very affordable. Ideally, the small business consultant doing business online should be able to fax documents, such as pdf or docx, with no issue. Know that some size requirements may apply. The electronic confirmations will be sent via email. If using a free service, expect a small amount of online marketing materials or a limited number of free faxes for a given time frame.
The virtual office for web-based businesses should include some form of web conferencing presentation tool. This virtual tool will make it easier to share presentations online with the audience. Visual aids used by small business consultants can be shared conveniently from the presenter’s desktop using certain web conferencing tools. Some applications make it possible to select which items on a desktop can be shared or hidden from an audience. The tools allow one to type messages to an audience, present slides and utilize the conference call features simultaneously.
Web-based businesses and small business consultants in the virtual environment should also have a messenger device of some sort. Many of the web conferencing tools available already include messenger features as a part of the service offered. There are free web-based messenger devices that work really well. Some even have complimentary applications that can be added to the free messenger devices. The complimentary applications are designed to help the small business consultant or web-based business conduct presentations, coaching sessions and tutorials from within the same application. Expect to have to have to read application documentation to evaluate compatibility and system requirements. Most provide easy wizards to facilitate the installation process, and others offer online troubleshooting forums with literature.
A virtual office is another tool for the small business consultant or web-based business. Online records management tools and scheduling mechanisms should be included in a virtual office environment. These virtual offices can be accessed through mobile devices and desktop PC’s. Small business bookkeeping records are easy to manage with an electronic storage system in place. The small business coach should be able to move, shift, add and alter records the way he or she sees fit. File management through an online records management solution gives the small business consultant a convenient and cost-effective way to maintain a backup copy of records. The various vendors that offer Software as a Service for records management purposes make it easy for the small business to take advantage of the virtual storage technology. The technical portion of setting up a filing system and ongoing records management can easily be outsourced to a records solutions provider.
Virtual tools available to small business consultants and web-based businesses are usually affordable. There are virtual solutions for any small business budget. The web tools mentioned above are essential to the small business consultant or web-based business that desires to conduct the bulk of business in a virtual environment.