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Business in the CloudLast week I had the opportunity to co-present at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) for their Business in the Cloud seminar. CPCC has an incredible entrepreneurial program with dozens of free classes to the public. Some people attending the seminar already had their own business and just wanted to know more about cloud computing, while others thought of “the cloud” as that scary place in their either where all of their data is subject to hackers.

I completely understand that the cloud can be a scary place. I’ve been working in technology for a long time, or as my mom would say “working with computers”, and even I can’t convince her to switch to online banking.

During the CPCC seminar, I was able to talk through the advantages and disadvantages of running a business in the cloud, and then I got to the fun part: talking about different cloud-based applications.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the the resources I shared:
(* denotes free version)

Business Applications:

  • Google Apps for Business
  • Microsoft 365
  • Zoho*

Cloud Hosting:

  • Rackspace
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • GoDaddy

Content Management Systems (CMS)

  • WordPress*
  • Joomla*
  • Drupal*

Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)

  • Salesforce
  • SugarCRM
  • Zoho*

Accounting

  • Quickbooks
  • Freshbooks
  • Wave*

Data Storage and Backup

  • Dropbox*
  • Box*
  • Egnyte
  • Google Docs*

Personal Applications

  • Mint* (manage finances)
  • Strava* (running/cycling training)
  • Lose It* (calorie counting/weight loss)
  • Eventbrite* (event hosting and RSVP)
  • Evernote* (notes)

Try Before you Buy:
Most SaaS based products offer a free trial or a freemium model – so i always recommend testing several solutions to determine what’s best for your business.

Leave a comment if you have any questions about the applications listed, or if there are any that we left off that you really like. And, if you were at the CPCC class last week, thanks for attending!

Jen Stretch

Jen Stretch is a marketing professional with a decade of web-based technical experience. Her core competencies include Salesforce.com and marketing automation consulting, implementation, and training. She is a certified Salesforce.com Administrator with five years of marketing automation experience.

Jen is also a enthusiastic cyclist and applies the same competitive spirit that she has on the bike to push businesses out of their comfort zone and beyond their perceived finish line.

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