Use the cloud to make your home office look like a big business

With the rise in home workers, freelancers and portfolio workers home working is changing from a select few and moving mainstream.

Growth in technology is enabling this. What’s more not only can you now work from home efficiently you can portray your home office, startup or small business to be a lot bigger than it is.

Cloud computing and the internet make this possible. Here are 5 tools you can use to make this possible:

  1. Virtual switchboards. A virtual switchboard like can provide you with a professional pbx system with no hardware and a fraction of the cost. For some organisations making it look like there are departments for sales, customer support and finance can give it the feel of a bigger business when in reality it could be a one man band. You can also ensure you never miss a call as you can divert the switchboard to as many phone numbers as you want – mobiles or landlines.
  2. VOIP. Voice Over IP allows you to make and receive calls over the internet wherever you are in the world. Rather than using a static phone line say from BT you can install VOIP technology on your computer dialing people at a low cost from wherever you are. Skype is the poster child for VOIP and great for calling other people on Skype, when calling landlines or mobiles a service like would be more cost effective.
  3. Project Management and collaboration tools. The great thing about cloud computing is the cloud’s market leaders work just as well for startups as they do blue chip organisations. Usually priced on a per user basis solutions are scalable. Managing projects with multiple teams and parties, Basecamp claims that 1000 customers a week are signing up its project management/collaboration service. The free Google Docs tools allows you to work on documents, spreadsheets and PowerPoint with your customers wherever they are.
  4. Meetings. Having a meeting, doing a presentation or demonstrating your software online is made easy with tools like GoToMeeting, the market leader for web conferencing and online meetings. Use this, wow your customers with the technology and present as if you were in the same room.
  5. Website. Technically in the cloud as a website could be hosted on any server anywhere these are not often thought of as being in the ‘cloud’. Your website though can position your company bigger than it is. Making it look like a website a larger company would have and using a respectable phone number on it (not a mobile) and an 0845, 0844 or 0800 for a national company builds trust and credibility.

Online tools which are becoming ‘industry standards’ are just as accessible for startups as they are for bluechip organisations now. These tools can help position your business to look bigger than it is, helping you reap the awards of this bigger identity.