Taking Advantage of Available Tools: Onboarding a new employee for $3

Tools at your disposalIt is important to think and be grateful for what we have in life and the opportunities that are available to us.  I like to spend time every day looking and wondering at all the little things that we all take for granted which took millions of minds building and iterating over years and years to create.

Something as simple as my inexpensive thong sandal took years of innovations and many different materials that have been refined by thousands of minds.  Further, I am amazed at the spontaneous coordination that is involved to bring to us even the most simple of products.   All of these tools, despite the effort that went into creating them over the years can be purchased by you and me for a fraction of the labor that it took to bring those products into being, regardless of our pay scale.

Today, the tools available to a small business owner are better than ever.  We have access to so many tools which, in the past we could only utilize by being part of a large company.  The business models of software companies for small businesses are such that they incubate you until you are successful enough to pay them. Many software as a service (SaaS) based companies allow you to use their product for free until you get above a certain number of users.

What got me thinking about this recently was onboarding a new virtual employee. I was thinking about all the tools I have at my disposal which I needed to give access to my new employee, all of which I spend little to no money on.

To start, we communicate with one another face to face and my employee is literally on the other side of the world.  The cost for this service (Skype) $0.  Next, we had to give our employee the ability to make unlimited calls within the US from the Philippines, the cost for this service, $3 per month.

In order to manage projects for this employee we utilize project management software (Redbooth) that allows us to manage all our companies and the projects we are working on within each of them.  Organized by project we have the ability to assign tasks, have ongoing discussions, store files and have notes, which are editable working documents accessible by all team members.  All of this is available to my company for free.

Next, we have free access to 50 gigabytes of cloud storage (Box), which can be linked directly to any computer or mobile devise that I utilize.  Further, all team members can access the folders that I choose.  We use this to keep all important company documents organized and backed up.  Further, it is ideal for transferring large files to other individuals as needed.

Finally, we have access to a great Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software (Zoho) all backed up in the cloud.  This allows us to track all contact with anyone that has any importance to my businesses.  What I love about SaaS products is I never have to worry about updating or downloading patches or purchasing new versions.  I know that I am always using the most up to date version.  Further, I never have to setup a new employees computer with the all this new software, I just give him access to the software we use through the LastPass account we require our employees to get (also free) when they sign on with us.  This allows us to instantly relinquish access to all our proprietary data at which time said employee is no longer working with us.

I like to think about how much it would cost to provide the same amount of utility I receive from all of these tools if I was a startup 20 or even 10 years ago.  Think about that a bit.  Not only would that be a pretty large number upfront, but the ongoing costs that would be hefty as well.  You would need IT personnel to maintain the servers and deal with all the problems that inevitably occur.  Twenty years ago it would take tons of money, not $3 a month to operate my company now.

For more information on the technology we use for our businesses and this blog please visit the Real Everyday Business Tools page.

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