Last time, we talked about low cost IT systems that could help us run our business more smoothly without costing a fortune. This time, we are going to look at a few solutions that would help us manage our customers and other business stakeholders better.
Step 3: The Free Customer Management System
Wouldn't it be great if any time your customer called, you could address them by their name? Or look up their past orders, current order, and other details without having to juggle through memory or the medieval looking records that you may have maintained? Well, there is a solution. Again, technology comes to the rescue. You see there are automatic and semi-automatic systems out there. We're going to focus a little on the semi-automatic customer management systems – the kind where you can get all of the customer's information by just entering their name or number. You can manage membership details, wish them birthdays, offer them exclusive discounts, and more. Basically, you can all that and more without having to worry about the costs of a customer management system. Again, we are going with an open-source CMS system that allows us to use it our-of-the-box or if we have the time, to customize it according to our needs.
Step 4: The Free Open-Source Business Tools
Now, let us reveal the ultimate secret. If you think that when it comes to software, the more it costs the better – you'd be wrong. Its the opposite. Free software is usually open-source, which means that a whole community works together to continuously improve the product based on user inputs. This means that instead of waiting for that giant corporation to finally hear your voice and change its software, you can simply head over to OSalt.com and choose from a veritable Smorgasbord of amazing business software that is actually better in many cases than the closed source expensive software that the big corporations use. Osalt is your one-stop shop for all things open-source when it comes to business. Think you need something futuristic to keep your employees engaged? Look no further, OSalt will solve all your problems. Check out this long list of software alternatives you can use: Business | Open Source Alternative - osalt.com
Step 5: The Free Video Conferencing Solutions
This is a fairly simple choice. Google Hangouts is by far the best solution if you are looking for a long term solution to your corporate Video Conferencing needs. Why is it better than Skype? Well, primarily because it lets you integrate with the other Google offerings such as Google office, drive, etc. This means that you can actually setup your video conferencing system for next to nothing. Although, you may have to spend a little money on cams(on both sides) or better speakers, but other than that, Google Hangout works really well and is free.
Of course, if your heart is set on using Skype, you can always use it. Although, I do recommend that if you're going to go with Skype, then you go for all of the functionality that Skype offers, including the calling package. This way if you have to make a lot of international calls and you haven't setup your voIP system yet, then you can simply charge your Skype number and call actual phones, instead of skype-to-skype. This comes in really handy sometimes. You can pay for a permanent skype number, but its usually alright to just use the random numbers than Skype offers.
So, that is basically, how you can setup your small business office/ network of connected offices at a very low cost.