If you're thinking of starting a business (and I know most of you reading this are already business owners or managers) you no longer need only a lawyer and accountant to help you. You must have a technology consultant sitting on your advisory panel or board of directors.
Lawyers and accountants are great and very much needed, but without a great technology adviser you won't know how to do more in less time, save money and overall be more productive using technology as a tool to grow your business.
As a business owner you are an expert in your business - whatever it is - but most likely you are NOT an expert in technology, CRM, mobility, security or other things. Your technology adviser can help
A recent Microsoft survey found that nearly one in three new entrepreneurs credit technology as a key catalyst in driving their entrepreneurial spirit.
There is a lot of technology available to businesses, many of it low cost, some of it free.
A lot of focus has been on Google, Twitter, Facebook and other tools, but Microsoft (more than Office) continues to offer a solid set of tools for every business - in particular growing businesses.
For example, the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite is an integrated set of messaging and collaboration solutions hosted by Microsoft. It consists of Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Communications Online. These online services give businesses streamlined communications with high availability and comprehensive security without the cost or hassle of managing onsite hardware and software.
Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7, also addresses the business needs of growing businesses with its new and enhanced features, including the following:
• HomeGroup enables small businesses without a server to build a basic network and easily share documents, printers and devices across multiple PCs.
• Advanced Backup schedules a periodic backup to save data or an entire system image to a network location or a local drive.
• Encrypting File System is a powerful encryption technology that encrypts files and folders and helps protect a business's confidential information, such as credit card numbers or employee information.
• Windows Aero enhancements (such as Aero Snap, Aero Peek and Aero Shake) help intuitively navigate, arrange and work with multiple open windows on the desktop.
• Windows Mobility Center makes mobile computing easier with access to all mobile settings in one place.
• Location-Aware Printing intuitively identifies and sends documents to the correct available network printer when working between home and office.
Ramon Ray is the editor and tech evangelist for smallbiztechnology.com