John RussellFollow on twitter
Starting up in the cloud
I'm regularly asked by entrepreneurs how they should start up their business in the cloud. Having started a business myself I understand firstly the importance of starting in the cloud while also keeping your overheads as low as possible.
It's no secret that you need to take care of your numbers inside a business from day dot. There is an absolute myriad of ways to do this (including free ways). I would in this instance discourage free accounting packages as they are generally horrible to use and not customised for Australian business.
I started my business on Saasu. While it's not the prettiest cloud software in the field it simply gets the job done. It is also the cheapest out of your other alternatives in Xero and MYOB Live Accounts.
NB: This is advice is strictly for entrepreneurs, MYOB and Xero have their benefits for larger businesses with MYOB at this point I feel having a more complete package.
We all need customers/clients to run a business. Seems pretty pointless without it doesn't it? For entrepreneurs I would highly recommend getting a cloud software called ZOHO. It may have a horrible logo and look like a 5-year-old’s information site, but for a free software it's incredible powerful.
It's also mobile and easy to use so you can manage your leads, prospects and clients on the run. I personally use this and love it.
Tip: Go to the website to register and sit through the online tutorials - they are worth it.
This should take you from your infant stages all the way through to a multi-million dollar business. Next stop would be Salesforce.com but let’s wait until we have the money for that.
Let's face it, we all default to Microsoft because we buy Windows machines. Office 365 is a great product don't get me wrong, but it's missing the "Google Factor" that so many entrepreneurs love.
Coincidently I would recommend getting the cloud based Google Business Suite. This will give you documents, excel, PowerPoint and all the other things you really need when starting a business.
It also gives you Google Drive to act as your first DMS (Document Management System). And it's secure!
The is the cheaper alternative to Microsoft 365, however as you grow and employ other people you will have to consider their strengths a possible migration down the track can be considered.
If you are looking for the completely free way download OpenOffice to your computer and save everything to DropBox. This won't give you the same experience or flexibility but it will be as free as a refill at Hungry Jacks.
What I have learnt as an entrepreneur, from my own experiences and also my brothers, is to keep your expenses as low as possible.
Worry about the bells and whistles of websites, business cards and offices once you've secured a few clients and know that your idea can work in the current climate!
Use a free business plan template available through Google and write it, be realistic and do your best to stick to your goals - particularly your financial ones because they are what make or break you at the end of the day!
"Make some money before you spend it!" – John Russell, 2013
All these downloads are available at the companies’ websites or through downloads.cnet.com. Should you require any further advice in this space please don't hesitate to drop me a line at