Running a business from home or remotely has become very common lately. This wouldn’t be possible without the technologic advances out there that allow you to run your business even from your cell phone. That’s right! It is possible with a virtual office.
But what exactly is a virtual office? A virtual office is not really something you can touch, but the set of tools and applications, usually cloud-based, that allow you to work from any device connected to the internet. This means that you can manage your timelines, employees, inventory, invoices, etc, from the palm of your hand.
Why use my cell phone when I can use my computer? Well, picture this: you’re a small business owner with only 5 employees, two of them are sick, and you’re at a networking event and something urgent comes up all of the sudden. You need to solve it right there but you don’t have your laptop to check the shipping status of your product or review the invoice of a customer who is complaining. That’s when your virtual office comes to save you. You take your phone, open the required apps an solve the problem without having to leave the event.
Not only that, having a virtual office gives you the liberty to work at any time without being at your physical office. You can manage better your work-life balance and have a happier working environment. Of course, this only works if your business allows it. If you own a restaurant, certainly you have to be there, but you can manage some administrative things from your phone.
There are several applications for all sorts of needs and business operations, so you can choose which ones are useful to your business.
Best Apps for Your Virtual Office
Project Managing Apps
(Camino Financial’s Choice)
Trello is one of the simplest project management tools out there, perfect for your virtual office. You can create lists and cards to arrange the tasks, and you can add people to the cards so they know they’ve been assigned a task. Trello lets you add due dates, attachments, labels, checklists, and you can even connect it to other apps.
You can start by using the free version, and unlock additional features for $20 per user a month if this helps you achieve your business objectives. Camino Financial has over 20 people connected on Trello, and we still use the FREE version 🙂
Perfect to have a flawless team communication and management. Asana helps you manage your projects through checklists, boards, and calendar view. You can assign tasks to your employees and see who’s working on what. The best feature of this app is its chat function to discuss tasks with team members.
You can try Asana’s free version for up to 15 members, and then pay $9.99 per user per month.
Amazingly helpful if you’re running multiple projects at the same time from your virtual office. Basecamp helps you keep all projects organized in one space. Each project has its own chat room, attached files, to-do list, etc. You are free to add only the people who are involved in a project and have a full overview of what’s going on in your business activities.
This app requires more investment for your virtual office, but you can have the free trial for 30 days, and purchase the paid version for unlimited users and access at $99 per month.
Finance & Accounting Apps
Finance & accounting, not your thing? Kashoo is what you’re looking for! It’s specially designed for business owners who don’t know much about accounting. You can easily receive payments, send invoices and create reports explained in a language you can understand if you’re not a finance professional.
You can try it for 14 days and then get it for $16.58 per month for unlimited users.
Accounting, Invoicing, Payments and Payroll, all for free! Wave is definitely a great tool if your budget is small. You can use the invoicing app from your virtual office or the rest of the features as long as you log in to your account through a browser. Track all your expenses and keep records of all your transactions in just one place. You can even make invoices for any currency.
FreshBooks can be run from the palm of your hand. Create invoices, track expenses, generate reports, receive payments and have an overview of your business all in one place. You can use their trial version for 30 days or get the paid version from $15 per month.
Inventory and Shipping Apps
If you’re managing an e-commerce, this can be your main tool. ShipStation has all your sales information centralized in one space and allows you to ship easily your products by helping you choose the best carrier. It also offers special discounts on them.
You can try it for 30 days free, and you can choose any of their packages from $9 to $159 per month depending on your amount of shipments and users.
For online and offline orders. Zoho Inventory helps you manage your orders, track them, get multiple shipping integrations, as well as accounting and CRM integrations for a full view on your business movements and warehouse management. You can try it for free if you’re just starting and receive less than 20 orders per month, but if you’re going big, you can start using the paid version starting from $29 per month.
Perfect for manufacturers. If you create or build your own products, Unleashed helps you keep track of all the costs and purchases of your product. And, besides that, it has the same features as the other apps. You can start a 14-day trial and used the paid version afterward starting from $99 per month.
Internal Communication Apps
(Camino Financial’s Choice)
One of the best tools for internal communications. Slack allows you to have several chat-rooms with your team to discuss different projects or matters. You can share information and files in a private way. But that’s not all: you can even connect with partners or clients using Slack as well. And integrate other tools such as DropBox and Trello.
You can use Slack for free if you have a small team or go big starting from $8 per month.
Skype for business
This app is useful if you have a lot of employees or partners working from outside your city or country. Skype for business allows you to have big video conferences and meetings for 250 people at the same time, plus you get useful features such as share screen, PowerPoint attachment, and blackboard. You can acquire it together with Microsoft Office and so many other features at $35 per person per month.
Voice, video and messaging integrated all in one. Fuze allows you to have small conversations or bigger conferences in one platform. If your team is big and you want a smart, efficient and safe way to communicate inside your business, this could be a solution for you. And, you can also use it from your phone wherever you go. You can try a demo and then get a quote from the Fuze team.
File Sharing Apps
It’s an efficient way to share documents and other types of files with your workers. You can install Dropbox on your computer and synchronize it automatically and see everything from your mobile ready to download or share if needed.
You can start from as low as $12 per user per month with limited storage space, and increase the package according to your business needs.
(Camino Financial’s Choice)
It could also be a management tool. Google Suite allows you to have e-mail service, calendar, video calls, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, sites, drive, and a lot of other things all in one place. You can start using it for free if your amount of files and team is not so big, or you can buy more storage starting from $5 per user per month.
Share and edit all types of documents from your phone or anywhere you are. Polaris Office allows you to do so. It has compatibility with all document formats and helps you convert and edit PDF files, audios and images while also protecting your privacy.
You can get it for your business all at once and forever at $240.99 or try it out for a year at $6.99 per month on a yearly contract.
So, how much should I invest in a virtual office?
That depends on your business size and budget. If you’re just starting, you can easily use the free apps to make your life easier and then invest little by little as you go. There are also some complete and amazing apps for your virtual office at very low prices. Just compare and give the first step, and your virtual office will start taking shape! Ready to make an investment in your business? Learn here how to invest in technology.