OK, time for me to have a “grandpa story moment”.
— Remember the days when we all worked in one office? Bob and Mary and you all came in around nine and worked in your cubicles with easy access to one another. If you had a question, you could just get up and ask it of one of them and if you needed to meet, you would hop into a conference room and draw pictures on the white board. Ah, sweet memories! —
Today, Bob, Mary and you still work in one office, but the three of you are never there at the same time. You are all off meeting with clients, managing vendors and working late nights at home to get it all done. You never have time to see each other because you are busy with your tasks and just trying to find a time for you all to get together is a task in itself.
You need to coordinate your activities just as you did in the old days. You need to ask each other questions and get the replies quickly. You need to whiteboard ideas and brainstorm solutions.
But how can you get this all done if you’re never in one place at the same time?! How can you effectively collaborate?!
The answer is easy: online small business software.
Need to ask questions and get quick replies? Use a collaborative space such as Teamwork PM.
Need to coordinate your tasks and assure you are all on the same page? Use project management software such as Clarizen.
Need to whiteboard and brainstorm even though you cannot be in the same room, or even online, at the same time? Use a mind mapping tool such as Comapping.
These are just a few examples of great online collaboration tools, but there’s an even bigger message about small business software online for you to take away from this article.
Another “grandpa story moment” (last one, I promise!):
— Bob, Mary and you used to work on separate computers. Sharing files meant copying to a disk and then walking it over to the other person.
Then, one bright day, the company bought network software. Suddenly, there were spots to which you could copy files so that Bob and Mary could access them as well.
Then, the company bought software that allowed you to work together on your internal network. Now there was no copying of files because you were all sharing the same data within the same application! This was GREAT! —
Today, Bob, Mary and you are never in the office. You still need to collaborate via shared applications and here is where the unique advantage of online small business software comes into play:
Because it resides on the Web, an environment that is accessible by anyone anywhere, online software IS collaboration.
I am often asked what my top pick is for online small business collaboration software. My typical answer, truly heartfelt though a bit flippant is, “All of them”.
Think about that for a second. By nature, small business software online is uniquely placed to bring different players and roles together into one place to get work done in a timely and efficient manner.
And isn’t that the definition of collaboration?
MMatt Mansfield is a “small business software online” evangelist who is passionate about teaching small business and startup owners about “The Online Software Advantage”. Matt recently completed his eBook, “Leverage The Web: Why all successful small businesses in the future will be run using software online” which details the advantages of leveraging small business software online.