Conference call service--like most telecommunications--has become a commodity. Dump costly companies, and save your business money with one of many free options.
While the name and URL sounded like a typical Internet scam, FreeConference.com, lives up to its promise for basic service. Up to 150 people can join the call, giving ample headroom for nearly any small- or medium-business situation.
You'll either schedule the call in advance or set up an access number for an impromptu meeting at anytime. Planned calls let you input a few extra controls, such as the organizer being able to mute the entire group of callers.
When you need additional workers but you can't afford to hire employees, you might turn to contract help. If you lack the established connections to find the right person for the job--or you just want to try a new option--turn to an online labor marketplace. These services match companies with skilled freelancers.
One of these marketplaces, Guru.com, combines elements of eBay, Craigslist, and dating sites to give workers and companies ways to connect.
A business posts a help-wanted ad pertaining to more than a dozen main categories. Beyond just tech support and administrative services, companies can solicit illustration, legal, finance, marketing, and many other kinds of professionals.
Disk space is cheap, but that doesn't mean it's free. By archiving old email and attachments, you can reestablish room for new messages, saving the cost of new drives. But even better, your server performance could improve, and you could gain other supplemental benefits.
An archiving tool moves old messages off of your main email server into a different storage area. Your email traffic should flow more efficiently for routine messages, plus you can have more room in daily use. You'll probably only need to retrieve old messages once in a while, so those are offloaded to another location, accessible through a search function or directly in your mail application.
C2C's ArchiveOne Express distills that company's enterprise email archive software into a small- and medium-sized business tool. It's aimed at businesses with 20-200 employees, interfacing with your Exchange server.
I'm scraping together phone service for my startup, mostly relying on mobile numbers that my contacts already know. But I'm considering Internet telephone alternatives, such as VoIP calling to save money.
Some online phone services combine the routing magic I like from Google Voice with more VoIP and business features. One example, RingCentral, sells a small-business tier of service with these functions in mind. RingCentral partly replaces traditional lines and partly supplements them.
On the routing side, the RingCentral website stores the existing phone numbers for you and your employees. When a call comes in, RingCentral rings one--or any concurrent combination--of those numbers. Extensive rules can send calls from certain contacts to certain lines. Or you can route calls based on the time of day, including sending someone to voicemail in off-hours instead of ringing your phones.
You might think that your small-business file-storage needs have to span several companies: remote backup plus local backup, employee and client file-server access, and collaboration tools. But you might save money by choosing a single host that can provide all of those functions.
Egnyte combines these elements into one service. Client software enables Macs and PCs to access storage directly through those respective, familiar OS-enabled network interfaces. Or you can tap in through a browser or FTP application.
Beyond those storage options, Egnyte handles backups. The service constantly transfers new versions of files between your network and its servers, letting you recover from major crashes or just retrieve an old copy of a document.