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  • Small Business Briefcase

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    Thanks to the internet and the connectivity it provides, small businesses can easily collaborate with team members and clients who are 10 or 10,000 miles away.

    A good, progressive business owner is constantly searching for ways to boost business growth. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to expand operations outside of a business’ home city, meaning it can gain and work with new team members (who may contribute new or different approaches to company issues) and also reach new clients.

    Working with out-of-town teams and clients comes with specific challenges, and constant communication is key. Now, tools like video conferencing and more take virtual collaboration to a new level, making it simpler, more productive and even more profitable.


    Check out these free or low cost tools for sharing ideas and information with non-local team members or clients.

    1. ezTalks Meetings / This collaboration tool is effective for video conferencing and also for webinars. A free option allows up to 100 participants, and it allows access to screen sharing and recording services.

    2. GoogleHangout / This webinar software is free of charge, easy to use and operated within the browser. It works well with high quality video chat functions and instant messaging.

    3. Dropbox / This tool is useful for saving and sharing documents and other files with multiple users simultaneously. It offers two terabytes of storage and offers file recovery up to 120 days, for a little over $10 a month.

    4. Trello / A free alternative to BaseCamp, Trello combines several collaboration tools into one. It is especially useful for working with remote employees because business owners can create checklists, track deadlines and assign tasks, while sharing files and staying updated on project progress.

    5. WhatsApp Business App / This popular free Android app is made specifically for small business owners to aid in communication. It offers quick messaging responses, including automated messaging when you are unavailable, and provides messaging and business statistics.



    We asked local CPA Nan Lloyd of Associated Business Services how taking advantage of technology to work with virtual team members and clients has benefitted her business.



    We choose to work with the virtual world because the challenge allows us growth not possible with the traditional office setting. We live in a virtual age where the hand-held computers we use regularly double as a phone. ABS is committed to staying ahead of the electronic curve to offer our clients the ability to reach us and find the answers they need, using a method with which they are comfortable.



    In 2014, I started conducting webinars for multi-level marketing businesses. The webinar reached 250 people and grew from there. That exposure and the referrals from it have grown our client base nationwide. Today 25 percent of our clients are not in Alabama. Using virtual tools has been a huge production boost and allows us to look for staff outside our area too. The possibilities are endless for staff and clients.



    Nan Lloyd is a CPA and General Manager at Associated Business Services in Montgomery and works seamlessly with multiple out-of-area clients thanks to today’s digital tools.

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