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10 Ways to Set Up Your Small Business for Success in 2013

10 Ways to Set Up Your Small Business for Success in 2013

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Small business owner confidence continues to drag, according to the latest report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). While expectations for improved businesses increased slightly over last month, small firms are still struggling to make a profit.

How does a small business set up their business for consistent growth in the current environment? 

Office 365: Your Secret to Success

It’s been said that to get whatcha want, you’ve gotta use whatcha got. The beauty of Office 365 is that it can help you greatly expand whatcha got. And with a broader set of high-quality productivity tools in your tool chest, you can gain a competitive edge even in a challenging economy.

Starting at just $6 per user per month, small businesses get cloud-based email, the ability to view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files, team sites for sharing files, a public website, instant messaging and video conferencing—and it’s all in the cloud so there’s no need to maintain your own IT infrastructure.

Here are 10 ways Office 365 can help small business owners set themselves up for success in 2013:

  1. Work with the tools you already know how to use. Office 365 offers many of the same Office features most users are already familiar with. This makes it easy to get new employees up-and-running very quickly.  And unlike Google Apps, which can require a steep learning curve, Office 365 usually involves minimal training. Says Jeremy Mahler, Director of Technical Operations for  Hickory Farms: “By switching to Office 365, we still had a collaboration environment managed for us in the cloud, and it brought us back to a familiar environment that our users were comfortable  with.”

  2. Cut costs that cost your business. Expenses like IT overhead and computer equipment can add up—cutting into your bottom line. Office 365 can reduce your monthly expenses because there’s no requirement for advanced IT knowledge, no need to buy hardware, and very little maintenance required. 

  3. Improve your flexibility.  With Office 365, you can quickly add or remove new employees from your IT system as businesses conditions fluctuate. And just like a utility like electricity or water, you pay only for the services you actually use that month.

  4. Keep your employees working wherever they are. Office 365 provides a simple way to access and collaborate on documents—whether your employees are working in the same room or across town. And unlike Google Apps, which offers limited offline productivity,Office 365 enables you to keep working even when there’s no Internet connection.

  5. Achieve a highly professional image. Office 365 can help you maintain the same professional image as a large corporation with a big budget. You can hold online meetings, create a business email address for all of your employees, easily create a great-looking website, and develop high-quality documents and presentations. You don’t have to worry about losing formatting in Google Docs, as Google Apps users do when they open Office documents. And you have a far broader toolset with which to work when creating  presentations.

  6. Take customer service to a new level. Office 365 helps small businesses improve customer service by offering customers high-quality information, right when they ask for it. With SharePoint Online, you can set up a central storage place for company documents, giving employees a fast way to find information. And with Lync Online, you can quickly access the right experts, see if they’re available, and start up a conversation.

  7. Reduce the need for travel. Lync Online lets you hold high-quality conferences over the Internet, reducing both the time and cost of travel. You can quickly move from a chat session to a video conference. You can share and present content as well as take notes from within the meeting experience. And you can use the whiteboard to brainstorm and jot down discussion points.

  8. Work more closely with customers and partners. Using Lync Online, you can also easily interact with customers and partners to obtain their feedback and involve them in decisions. Unlike Google+ Hangouts, Lync Online includes a virtual whiteboard for highly productive collaboration. And unlike Google+ users, who can only communicate with other Google+ users, users of Lync Online can communicate with anyone even if they don’t have Lync installed.

  9. Keep your business information safe and private. Office 365 makes it easy to keep your business data private and secure, just as you do with your physical office. With Office 365, you can tap into the same systems used by Microsoft and other enterprises worldwide to protect email, documents, and networks. And unlike Google, Microsoft doesn’t search-mine customer data or engage in other practices that compromise customer privacy.

  10. Eliminate the need for IT expertise. Office 365 is easy to manage and maintain without IT expertise. It includes a web-based management portal that makes it easy to manage users, licenses, and domains from a simple, clean interface.  And unlike Google Apps,it also includes a service health dashboard that’s tailored to your organization so you can see the service-health information that pertains to your specific company.

Multiplying Whatcha Got with Office 365
Office 365 extends the productivity tools available to you, helping you to greatly expand whatcha got. And with more to work with, you’ll be able to truly get whatcha want—which for most small businesses means continued success even in a down economy.

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