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More Moolah in Your Pocket

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As a small business owner, one of the things about Office 365 that I am excited about is the productivity tools uniquely tailored to the Business Premium subscription. How many of you can relate to the increasing amount of software as a subscription/service one has to have to stay on top of things? A few years ago, when SASS was new, it was exciting to have access to the different types of services that, for a very long time, were only available or accessible to enterprise-sized businesses. Now, it is almost like another job to keep track of which subscription does what.

In the last release cycles, Office 365 has rolled out features bundled with the Business Premium subscription. Bookings which we covered recently help us automate our appointments without the need to pay for another service. The Business Center in Office 365 was released in July of this year. If you are a Business Premium subscriber, you may not realize that the Business Center may already be available for you to use.

Often I go out and speak with small business owners and entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping a new business.  Whenever we get to the subject of marketing, someone will invariably ask:  “How much of my budget should I spend on marketing?” In a bootstrapped startup, I think the better question is:  “How much time should I spend on marketing?” – How Much Time Do You Spend Marketing in a Startup?

Anita Campbell

What is the Business Center in Office 365? The Business Center is a place within Office 365 that is dedicated to making your life as a business owner a little easier. Do you use some invoicing service to send and collect invoices? Do you use MailChimp, or a similar service, to send out marketing emails? If you said ‘Yes’ to any of these, then you are most likely paying separately for these services. Currently, the ‘Business Center in Office 365’ has ‘Invoices,’ for invoicing and sending quotes, ‘Connections’ to send and manage marketing emails, and ‘Listings’ to manage your online business listings. The Outlook Customer Manager is an easy-to-use simple CRM within Outlook MileQ, for managing mileage and, of course, ‘Bookings.’ Aside from not having to pay separately for these services, all of these applications are organized centrally and in one place, which saves you the brain-load of having to keep track of another login.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the ‘Business Center in Office 365‘ is new. Although ‘Bookings’ was launched a few years back (pre-Business Center), the rest of the included services are new. My advice is, if you currently have a system in place to do one, some, or all, of the capabilities added to the Business Center, carefully assess which of the services you want to prioritize and switch. For example, do not do one big transition, where you move all of your marketing emails and invoicing, especially if your marketing lists have thousands of email addresses, and if you have years’ worth of invoices. If this is your business, just don’t flip the switch. Start with the other included services, such as Bookings or Listings.

However, if you are a new business with no current system in place, using these services would be a good starting point, especially using Invoicing. I remember that, at the beginning of my business, I was using Excel to do invoicing. It was not efficient, but it worked. However, soon enough, not only was it cumbersome to do invoicing this way but we were waiting too long to get paid since we had to wait for the check in the mail and to keep track of paid invoices manually. If you are new to having to work for yourself, using an automated invoicing system should be top on your to-do list.

Next week, we will go step by step through checking your type of subscription and turn on the different services of the Business Center.

Ave # of hours spent by sending email

Data Source
HubSpot

Average minutes per day self-employed businesspeople spend marketing themselves

%

Percentage of consumers who use the internet to find local businesses

Data Source
Yelp Blog

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