Choosing The Best Option for Small Business Email System
There are many options for setting up a professional email address for small businesses, but not all of them are good. This article goes over the best option for small business email systems and describes why some of the other email solutions might not be a good choice for your small business.
Using Personal Email Accounts for Small Businesses
We see so many small businesses nowadays that don't have a proper email account. The funny thing is, a lot of times they have a website and own a domain name. But they just don't know how to set up their email with their domain name. If your business uses an email in a format similar to firstname.lastname@example.org, not only does this look unprofessional, but you're probably also missing out on a lot of extra business. If I was trying to decide between two businesses and one had a professional email address and the other one didn't, it would be an easy decision since the one with the professional email address appears to have their "ducks in a row" so to speak. I would assume that the other one is either new and not very tech savvy or hasn't made enough money to hire someone who is tech savvy.
Many times these businesses have their employees set up separate personal Gmail accounts to use for work. Once again, this comes across as unprofessional, but more importantly, you (the business owner) don't have control over that email account if that employee leaves your company. If your clients are emailing your ex-employees, you won't receive those emails, and you won't have the ability to see the history of what emails were sent or not replied to. More than likely, that email account will just become abandoned and no one will respond to the emails that come into it. If you have a client that is waiting for a response and never receives one, not only are you losing out on possible business, but this can make your business look very bad.
Using Your Hosting Company for Your Emails
Other small businesses may use their hosting company for their emails, but a problem with this is if your website goes down, so does your email. And if your website and your email server are BOTH down, how are you going to be notified? It's a disaster waiting to happen.
Using Google Apps as Your Email System
One of the biggest downsides of using Google Apps for business services is the fact that the system requires Internet connectivity to function. If anything happens to your connection to the internet, you lose access to important business software. Because Google documents are all online, you won't be able to access them if you're in a place with no internet service.
Google Sheets is no comparison to Excel, however, it can be great for simple collaborative data entry as long as you're not doing anything complicated. If your employees are used to the powerful features of Microsoft Excel, don't you dare tell them it will replace Excel. The features are not even comparable. Not only will they be mad, but their productivity will greatly diminish if they spend a lot of time working in spreadsheets.
Using Your Own Email Server
If you run your own email server, you are responsible for the care and maintenance of your system, and it never ends. Applying critical updates is your responsibility. When do critical updates come out? That's your responsibility to keep track of, too. Setting up and maintaining this type of environment is typically done by an IT professional and can be very costly, especially when your server gets outdated and you need to replace it. Plus, you have the headache of worrying about if your IT professional quits since they are typically the only one who knows how to take care of the servers.
Worst of all, if you screw up and your server is compromised or used as spam relay, your domain will almost certainly wind up on blacklists. Your ability to send and receive email will be diminished or even eliminated altogether. And good luck trying to get that reverted. You have been warned.
For many small businesses, the Exchange Server route is simply out of reach due to the high cost. Even if larger businesses can afford to go this route and have the ability to hire competent IT Professionals, they should ask themselves, are the risks and costs worth it?
Office 365 Solution: Best Option for Small Business Email System
Luckily, times have changed. Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud solution that is highly scalable and affordable, regardless of your business size. With Office 365, you don't need expensive equipment, and you can easily manage user accounts without the need for IT expertise using a user-friendly, web-based portal. You can easily manage your email through Microsoft Outlook, respond to emails easily on your phone, and access your email from any computer via the web portal.
Office 365 basically makes technology less complicated and ensures you always have the latest version of Office. With less infrastructure to purchase, you'll reduce your capital costs, and with a smaller infrastructure to manage, administrative costs are also greatly decreased. In our opinion, Office 365 is the best option for a small business email system.
Other Office 365 Benefits
Using SharePoint and OneDrive, you have the ability to set up a central portal for document storage and allow employees to collaborate on documents more efficiently. With Skype for Business, businesses can easily hold meetings with employees or clients regardless of where they are in the world. Yammer adds a social channel for employees to collaborate and let others know what they're working on and provides a chat feature so they can easily communicate across cubicle walls.
Many people don't realize that Office 365 isn't based purely in the cloud. You still have the option to install Office applications on your computer just the same as Office 2016 (or any other version). You don't need to have internet access to work on applications like a Word document or Excel spreadsheet. But, unlike Office 2016, it also comes with a lot of cloud benefits.
Cost of Office 365
For most businesses, the cost of Office 2016 and Office 365 is roughly the same. For many others, Office 365 is more cost effective.
Here's why: Microsoft releases a new version of Office about every 3 years, the same amount of time most customers stick with each version of Office before upgrading. Office 365 subscriptions also come with higher installation limits. With one 365 subscription, you can install Office apps on up to 5 PC or devices versus just 1 installation for Office 2016.
If you think of an Office 2016 perpetual license as a subscription, multiply its cost by how many installations you need, and average the cost out over 3 years, Office 2016 is roughly the same cost or far more expensive (depending on your installation needs) than an equivalent Office 365 annual subscription.
Plus, with Office 365, you can get a lot more tools like SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer and Skype for Business, which can extend your productivity and efficiency to a whole other level.
With plans starting as low as $5 a month, Office 365 makes enterprise-level tools affordable to even the smallest of businesses.
Migrating & Managing Office 365
Migrating your current email over to Office 365 is by far the most complicated part. However, it doesn't have to be. Let SoftwareMedia handle your migration and experience zero downtime and have all your emails seamlessly copied over to Office 365.
If you purchase qualifying Office 365 skus from SoftwareMedia, we will take care of the migration of up to 25 users for FREE. We are also doing a giveaway for one lucky business to receive 6 months of Office 365 for free plus free migration for up to 25 users. For more information on our giveaway, please see Office 365 Giveaway Details.