I know your type…
You’re just like me.
You probably like to operate your business in your home city and/or province.
There’s that feeling of comfort and stability with staying close to home.
But sometimes, you might have to travel out of the country (ie: for family events, etc) and are curious about how you’re business is going.
Or you might be that rare bird who wants to live and operate her enterprise outside of Canada.
Either way, you’d like to make sure your business is running smoothly even though you’re abroad.
Entrepreneur.com’s, Sujan Patel, has come up with 24 online tools which can help you do just that.
Even on the road, you need to connect with your staff.
Basecamp allows you to manage projects, communicate with your team and stay on top of who’s assigned to what tasks. Never be out of touch, no matter where you are.
When you’re working abroad, your time zone may not be lined up with your employees or customers. No worries -- Boomerang allows you to schedule your Gmail emails and send them out at specific times using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
This tool should be a given, but I’ll say it.
When you’re working abroad, you need a virtual location to safely store documents while allowing everyone access that needs it. Dropbox is that solution.
A reliable virtual meeting and screen-sharing software is another tool you can’t do without as you run your company remotely. Join.me is intuitive and doesn’t require any downloads or subscriptions from you or your clients -- a big bonus in my book.
This great tool allows you to grow your Twitter following quickly and easily. And that doesn’t mean fake, meaningless followers -- Narrow.io delivers a targeted Twitter following and makes it effortless to engage with them.
Tracking a project visually is important -- it can help lay out clearly where you are in a project and what step is next.
Trello is a great tool for that.
You can create tasks in various lists, drag them from one list to the next, assign them to team members and more.
Looking to track your time but tired of using pen and paper? Toggl is a great tool that helps you understand where your time is going -- a must if you’re going to be productive remotely.
This is a well-known tool, but it’s one that’s essential for keeping communication going affordably. Sometimes you just need a voice-based or video chat. Forget high international phone rates -- Skype keeps you connected no matter where you are in the world.
9. Trade Ability
If part of your business involves moving products, even if you just need to ship once, Trade Ability makes it easy. This free UPS tool helps you estimate costs and makes you aware of duty fees and international-trade restrictions.
Get tired of having papers everywhere and fear you’ll lose your key documents? Me too.
Evernote is a lifesaver, especially since you can easily clip notes from webpages and emails.
Freemind lives up to its name.
An amazing mind-mapping software available for free, this open-source tool allows you to plan your work graphically. It’s a great tool for visual learners.
This is another common tool, but it’s one that’s essential when you work abroad. No worrying about exchange rates, corrupt banks or mailing payments -- just use PayPal to securely send money wherever it needs to go. You can even get a PayPal MasterCard linked to your account to make purchasing easy as well.
This small-business email provider is an amazing solution for anyone, including those working from around the world. Infusionsoft allows you to automate huge portions of your business with customized funnels, email chains and more. It’s a huge lifesaver.
If part of your business involves providing customer service, you need Zendesk.
This is especially true if you work remotely. Zendesk allows you to track all interactions -- nothing is ever lost or hidden, no matter where you are in the world.
15. Time Trade
Having others able to set up appointments with you automatically is a massive time saver. Time Trade allows clients or colleagues to see your availability and syncs automatically with Google Calendar.
This makes scheduling easy when you travel and have sporadic availability.
So you’re running your business from a foreign country, relaxing and enjoying the sights, but who has an eye on your website? Enter Pingdom. Use it to easily keep an eye on your website and its uptime and average response time, any time.
17. Express VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a lifesaver when you visit certain countries. In China, where almost all social media is blocked, or Thailand or Indonesia, which also have restrictions, it’s important to have a VPN so you can visit your usual sites. Express VPN will make sure you’re set up before you travel.
18. Skype Number
You want to use Skype to keep costs down when you travel, but others need to call you as well. By setting up a Skype Number, you have a phone number you can give clients and staff that will forward directly to your Skype or cell phone. It’s a win-win.
No matter where you travel, theft is an unfortunate possibility. With software such as Prey, you can keep your devices safe and locate them quickly. The software sends you location information, hidden camera pictures and screenshots.
Hopefully you won’t need it, but if you do, it’s invaluable.
When you run your company from anywhere in the world, you need really good technical support for your hosting service. When something breaks, you need someone you can contact to fix it -- stat.
Reliable and affordable, you’ll be glad you chose them as your hosting service.
Sometimes, you just need access to your desktop -- a challenge when you’re thousands of miles away.
LogMeIn is a program that allows you to access and control your desktop no matter where you are.
If you’re in a distant time zone, real-time social-media interaction will be a challenge.
However, social media is essential to building your online authority. Buffer allows you to schedule social-media posts on a huge variety of platforms, allowing you to automate this task to occur at times that make sense for your audience.
If your company is big enough that you have a dedicated accountant, great! If not, consider Freshbooks. This intuitive online business-accounting program will help you track expenses, income and more, while having a variety of reports at your fingertips.
Creating great presentations on the go is very helpful for an entrepreneur, especially since you never know when, or where, you’ll meet your next client or partner.
Prezi allows you to create great presentations that are cloud-based and that auto-sync across all devices when changes are made. Now your amazing presentation is ready anywhere, anytime.
Sometimes you need inspiration on your journey doing business from anywhere in the world. Blogs such as Location 180, Chris Guillebeau’s blog, Nomadic Matt and Suitcase Entrepreneur can encourage and inform you and whet your appetite for new adventures.
Sujan, thanks for the suggestions!
Isn’t technology great?
So, what online tools will you use the next time you’re out of the country and need to check on your business?
Use them to your advantage because it’s likely your competition doesn’t even know they exist.
It’s nice to have an edge, isn’t it?
To your success,
Article by Michael Palmer
Michael is the CEO of Pure Bookkeeping, the host of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast and an acclaimed business coach who has helped hundreds of bookkeepers across the world push through their fears and exponentially grow their businesses and achieve the quality of life they've always wanted.