Running a cloud based business is a way of having all that you need to run a business stored in the cloud, it’s a virtual office that can be accessed from anywhere with internet access, you can then be freed up to work from anywhere, to access your data on the move and not be restricted geographically. In addition if gives you the ability to build a business without the need to invest in expensive technology, a cloud based business is dynamic, it is easily accessed, it can grow with your organisation.

A cloud based business costs a lot less than a than investing in traditional business technology, and all of your infrastructure can go with you anywhere you go. Your colleagues can work just as flexibly as you,  additionally cloud based resources make collaboration easier and productivity is increased. For a lone entrepreneur and small startups a ‘cloud based business’ is the best option especially if you have limited time, resource and capital.

Now with little more than a laptop and broadband access you can run your business from almost anywhere, below are the 5 most useful cloud based business ‘essential’ applications that can make your business run in the cloud.

The Best 5 Cloud based applications for a cloud based business.

1. Google Apps.

With Google apps you and your team can have your own email address and virtual calendars.

Documents can be shared and worked on in real time collaboration with Google docs, (before being downloaded and polished with Word).

Your smartphone can also be easily set up to to sync with your email and calendars.

Where Google falls short is not having an effective ‘to-do’ or task management system that can withstand modern productivity methods.

What makes up for the short comings of Google apps are the add ons and  apps available from third parties in Google marketplace that help you find additional tools that your business may need.

2. Evernote.

Evernote is a personal note taking and digital archiving solution.

You can store pictures, documents, web clippings, these can be organised efficiently and there is a great search function to help you find what you want.

I store project information in Evernote and I can find anything I want from anywhere provided there is web access in addition Evernote also integrates seamlessly with both my iPhone or my iPad.

3. Salesforce.

This is a great contact and relationships management solution CRM, it lets you manage your business team, contacts and accounts.

I like the fact that it can sync with your Google calendar to schedule important follow ups additionally with the Salesforce iPhone app it works seamlessly on my phone.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a salesman, the real value of Salesforce is the organisation that it brings to your business giving you the ability to organise your team and monitor workflow for the whole of your team.

4. Xero.

Is a cloud based financial and accountancy package, only a month ago I would have said there were a range of cloud based financial management solutions that could help you keep an eye on your accounts, that was until I tried Xero which is purpose built for working in the cloud.

With Xero I can seamless integrate my bank account transactions so my accounts are effectively in real time, I can use the full version of Xero on my laptop or a leaner version on my IPhone or iPad when I’m on the move and have ‘real time’ financial information with me at all times as well as logging expenses and sending invoices ‘on the go’.

It has already saved me a fortune on accountancy fees this year and prevents hours of pain getting financial information together before I file.

5. Dropbox.

Dropbox is a data storage solution to help you store larger documents on the cloud and share them with your colleagues  you can access dropbox from a browser, or from your phone or tablet, additionally you can set it up on any PC you may work on to automatically sync the files you want so that you can find them seamlessly and as if the computer you were working on was your definitive workstation.

Drop box is the way that my business can work and collaborate on bigger documents, it also allows access to these from almost anywhere.

In Summary.

These are the 5 best applications for a business in the cloud, if you think I have missed one let me know.