When you are a small business, you always try to find good programs/solutions that can meet your needs without costing a fortune. Small businesses have certain expenses that cannot be overlooked, they are:
- Building Costs
- Communication Needs
- Marketing Expenses
And while there are more expenses not mentioned, these are some of the more critical ones. Today, we’re going to focus in on the communication expenses. Even though we look at email as a “freebie”, they shouldn’t be ignored. First, you need to have an @yourdomain.com email address. This helps you to look professional (and appearances matter, especially if you are a small business).
Next, you need to use the right email client so that you can communicate quickly and professionally. While there are plenty of “free” programs out there, most of them are not good enough to help you respond professionally or track the previous responses. Today, we are going to discuss three email clients and one app that you have to have to keep your business running smooth.
Outlook / Office 365
One of the most trusted email clients in the world, Outlook and Office 365 have consistently ended up as the de facto email client for most businesses. It’s a robust platform that gives you plenty of control over your folders and helps you keep up with each of your conversations. It works with POP3, IMAP, and SMTP protocols and has a few Microsoft-only integrations that work well in the .NET platform.
Gmail / G Suite
Closing the gap quickly behind Outlook is Gmail from Google. When you buy a G Suite license you’ll have professional email with Gmail, including a number of enhanced security and data retention controls which business owners need. G Suite also integrates seamlessly with Android, and other programs such as Mozilla Thunderbird. Gmail can be run independently (and it is most of the time).
Since this is a Google product, it has the power of the Google search engine which makes finding “long lost emails” much easier. In fact, the ability to search through your emails is “powered up” through their search engine.
For a free email client, nothing else comes close. There are a few other alternatives that are closing the gap, but at the time of this writing, this is the most full-featured, Outlook alternative available.
Thunderbird works “just like” Outlook but comes in a free package. There are a few trade-offs, but it integrates well with any email address, though it really likes Gmail accounts.
And the one app you can’t leave out …
This is a time-management application that helps you keep track of your projects, employees, and making sure that everything stays on target. It’s free and works well, though there are some benefits to the paid version.
If you have trouble staying on task, this will help you see how much time you really are putting towards each project. The timer can actually work with your laptop/desktop, smartphone, tablet, and even from an online interface. There’s no reason to worry about a “time clock” if you choose Toggl.
As a small business, you have to keep costs down. Gmail (G Suite) and Outlook (Office 365) currently own most of the market share for small business email because, frankly, they’re the best options. Suitebriar recently put together a pretty good comparison between the two here.
These three email clients and one app can help you keep track of your time and stay in touch without a lot of fluff. When it comes to communication with your customers/vendors, these email clients will help you look professional while making it easy to keep up with what you/they said.