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By Ed McArdle
Remember just a couple of years ago, when having your own voice mail was the leading-edge business office technology? Now, many business people have briefcases bursting at the seams with cell phones, PDA’s and a variety of pagers.
Are you trying to figure out which tools make sense for your profession? Start by asking yourself two questions.
1. How can using the new technology improve my competitive strategy?
2. How does the technology influence the way I do business?
Simply using all of the latest technology and tools will not ensure success, but using technology as part of an interactive business strategy that allows development of a competitive edge and managed growth is a powerful business force.
Take a look at how Internet technology has updated a few tools used by all businesses, large and small.
THREE FREE OR LOW COST INTERNET TOOLS
1. VISTO – A VIRTUAL BRIEFCASE ON THE WEB
http://www.visto.com Visto’s slogan is, “It’s your life on the web.”
Visto is a virtual briefcase with a complete and fully integrated set of web applications including email, file sharing, calendars and to do lists. So what do you do with a Virtual Briefcase?
- Send and check email.
- Put all of your addresses into a Visto address book so that you can change or access your address book from anywhere with an Internet connection. This is very convenient if you have ever been at a meeting or on the road, away from your computer, and you need to check customer information or your schedule.
- Share files. Using Visto’s password protection system, you can choose which items to share with friends or colleagues.
- Calendar. You can check your Visto calendar and schedule appointments from any computer, anywhere.
- Keep Your Bookmarks Organized. Organize your bookmarks, access and update them from any computer.
2. EFAX.COM! FAX TO EMAIL
When you want to receive a fax, do you have to switch cables or phone lines or schedule incoming faxes because you just do not have enough phone lines for voice, Internet and fax?
Now you can receive faxes to your email address and it’s free. There are no hidden costs and, best of all, it really is EASY to use.
Once you sign up, you are assigned a personal eFax.com number. After that, you have your customers or friends dial your eFax.com number to send faxes to you. Your documents arrive as attachments with your email. Open the attachment with the eFax.com Microviewer to view your fax on screen, print it out or even forward it to other email addresses.
3. @BACKUP – AN ONLINE BACKUP SYSTEM
Loss of data is one of the leading causes of disasters for businesses of any size. If you need a disciplined approach to backing up the data on your computer, check out the services available at @Backup. You can backup all of your important computer files automatically and online with @Backup.
Why is this a good solution for your backup needs? The answer is fivefold.
It works automatically every day. You do not need to buy any extra hardware or peripheral devices. Once you are set up you don’t have to remember to push the backup button.
You always know where your backup files are located. For added protection, @Backup stores duplicates in an offsite security vault.
@Backup is Y2K compliant. So, if your PC isn’t Y2K compliant and you lose data, you can get it back from @Backup.
It’s easy to restore files. You can restore your files with a click of your mouse.
You can use it when you travel. You can access @Backup services from any place that you have an Internet connection. You can backup and restore your data from anywhere, anytime.
How much does it cost?
An entire year of service is only $99. To help you decide, try out their 30-day free evaluation.
Advances in technology have caused the re-tooling of these three standard business tools. Keep abreast of the changes in technology so that you will know when it makes sense to implement new technologies to help build your business or to do a more efficient job for your present employer.
Ed McArdle is the owner of E & E Consulting in Coconut Creek, Florida. He can be reached via e-mail: email@example.com (The Self Help Store).
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