In the old software model, a B2B company could expect a number of cash flow obstacles from software purchases. After they purchased computers for their employees, they would discover a purchase of Microsoft Office was also required. Later they would need to complete a full purchase of an accounting software. Perhaps they need two copies of an illustration software. This software may even require an IT tech to set them up. Each of these pieces of software may be used a lot at first, followed by not at all for a long stretch of time. This made it difficult to start a business. In today's software model, software can be "rented" as a cloud offering by the month. If the software is not used or not needed, the "rent" can simply be terminated, usually without any penalty. Here are the top 5 cloud offerings that can save a lot of money.
1. Office Software & Email
Office365, is the cloud remake of the decades popular OfficeSuite. Starting at $4/month per user and going up to $22/month per user, these plans have a number of interesting options. Not only does this service act as your email server, several of the plans even come with desktop versions alongside the cloud version of the ever needed Microsoft Office software.
Google Apps for Businesses, starting at $5/month per user or $50/year per user, has become the main alternative to Microsofts traditional enterprise empire of Word, Excel, and Outlook. For those who are used to using the consumer versions of Gmail, Google Docs, and Sheets, this is a natural extension at the office. The Google email (with your company domain) is fast becoming the preferred email infrastructure for startups & rapidly growing companies. The Google Docs and sheets still have a while to go before they catch-up to office, but it's great for light-weight needs and google is ever improving their offering
2. Accounting & Invoicing Software
Xero, is the leading alternative to old school quickbooks software. Starting at $20/month this service introduces you to a number of interesting options. The first option is that the service connects to business bank accounts online, pulls in the information, and helps reconcile the expenses / income. If a business is unsure about reconciling these, the service allows access be shared with an accountant. Invoicing can also be done through so that clients can pay their bills online. With over 400 apps, Xero is one of the most configureable accounting apps out there.
Quickbooks online, is a modern upgrade to the classic Quickbooks desktop. Starting at $14/month this gives you basic accounting capabilities, further plans include, Inventory, Bill payment, and Payroll.
For stand-alone invoicing software, for freelance small businesses, Due.com is a great free option. It has customized template, pdf & email formats, taxes & discounts, custom payment terms and a number of other features you'd only expect in an expensive invoicing tool, yet somehow it's free. If you need a more large enterprise system, then Invoicera is a great option for highly customized billing & invoicing needs.
3. Design Software
Adobe Creative Cloud, is an amazing discount to Adobe's flagship desktop product. In the past each Adobe creation product may cost several thousand dollars. Adobe now allows a desktop version of each product to be "rented" for $20/month. If the organization finds itself needing a lot of Adobe products, they can get the all-inclusive complete package for as little as $50/month.
4. Contract & Digital Signature
Both Docusign and Echosign are amazing service allows a business to send a document that requires a signature digitally. As any good sales staff will tell you, the easier a business makes the approval process on a client, the better. Beyond improved sales through ease of signing, this service also helps store these important documents in a central location. This makes finding these documents later much easier.
5. CRM Software
Tracking sales activities can often be troublesome. SalesForce practically invented cloud business software, and has helped so many businesses spending time & money installing complex systems. Their newest release Lightning makes using the cloud CRM as easy as most consumer apps.
Alternatively if you are looking for a mobile first, CRM app then OneUp is a great modern approach to business applications. Uniquely it combines Accounting, CRM, inventory and more into one easy to use cloud system so you don't have to worry about combining multiple systems. It also deeply integrates with Google Apps for those of you who are running your organizations with Google. Best of all it's dramatically less expensive then Salesforce so it's a great alternative for startups & fast growing SMBs.
If you'd like to learn more about B2B cloud software products for your business, feel free to contact us. We'd love to hear from you and let you know what we've been using at PayStand.