Virtual Services

Virtual Services:

Sometimes you can save money by thinking of new ways to do an old task.  Many of the following sites allow you to virtualize services (such as business filing, telephone/fax, or graphic design) so that you can save time and money.  Also, by being virtual, many of these services can follow you as you travel or move between your home and office.  I’ll admit, I have limited experience with some of these products.  However, you can easily find reviews of them online to help you decide which services meet your need.

  • Intuit MyCorporation – Intuit’s MyCorporation simplifies the paperwork involved with legally creating and incorporating your business.  They also provide trademark and copyright research/application services.  You may also be interested in their “Registered Agent” services, which provides a physical presence which is available 24/7 to receive legal and official/government communications on behalf of your business.
  • Intuit Quickbooks and Online Payroll – If you run a search on the Internet, you’ll easily see that Quickbooks is the de-facto standard in small business bookkeeping.  It can be a little confusing to get started with, but once you’ve got it running it becomes very easy to work with.  It also allows multiple users to access the books simultaneously, which can be handy if you’re paying a bookkeeper or accountant to help you on a part-time basis or as a consultant.  Download QuickBooks Pro Now! Save 20% + Free Shipping!  Also of note is the new Online Payroll service from Quickbooks.  It’s definitely worth a look if you’d like a one-stop shop for handling your small business finances.  Get Started with QuickBooks Payroll Software & Save
  • Skype – A very popular application which allows you to make and receive voice calls over the Internet (Voice over IP, or “VOIP”). Calls to other users of the service are generally free, while calls to landlines and mobile phones can be made for a fee. There is also support for a few other features, such as video conferencing, file transfer, and instant messaging. There are clients for a number of OS’s and mobile phone devices.
  • Constant Contact – Email Marketing and Online Surveys by Constant Contact make it easy to connect with your customers.  You can quickly generate campaigns using built-in templates, or use their tools to build highly customized surveys and emails.  They also have technology which allows you to easily manage your subscriber list, including tools which allow them to unsubscribe (and prevent violations of the CAN-SPAM act).  Try it FREE for 60-Days.
  • Verizon Broadband ServicesFor $47.99/mo. Get the Ultimate Entertainment Experience with FiOS TV
  • RingCentral – A well-known Voice-over-IP and Internet Fax service provider. Try RingCentral Fax FREE for 30 days or try their Virtual PBX Free Trial
  • eFax - Internet-based electronic Fax services.  You can also try eFax For 30 Days Free.
  • Xerox Free Color Printer Program – A previous employer of mine actually participated in this program.  I have to admit that this sounded like an awesome deal, as the hardware was provided and maintained by Xerox.  The only cash outlay you’ll have with this is your paper and ink supplies.  Xerox does have a “minimum volume” requirement that you’ll have to commit to, but if your small business meets the minimum you should definitely look into this.  The printouts were pretty nice quality too – not nearly the mess of an inkjet, but much less expensive than color toner cartridges.
  • MyFico.com – Keep tabs on your credit report with their FICO® Quarterly Monitoring

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