Push email for small businesses

Last week Apple announced the new version of the iPhone and also a range of new services that will be interesting to small businesses. This is a good sign that the big technology providers are starting to invest in solutions that will make it easier for small businesses to use technology.

MobileMe is a new email service that has some features you would normally only expect if you were part of a larger enterprise and had an IT department.

MobileMe stores a copy of your email and contacts on the internet so you can get to them from anywhere, as well as have email and contacts shared across the computers and your phone.

iPhone users will get alerted immediately when an email is received. This is called ‘push email’ as the email server sends you a notification as soon as it receives a new email message.  This makes email a far more dependable communication tool between you, your staff and customers. You send and receive email messages immediately like you might with SMS messaging now.

Google and Microsoft have also been busy for small businesses. Both providers have hosted email services that allow you to have your own domain name and manage email for a the people in your team.  These services are standard based so can be used by your existing email software.

MobileMe takes it to the next level however and it will be interesting to see if they allow you to host your own domain name or if you have to be ‘mybusiness@mac.com’.

Google also has shared spreadsheets, documents and storage that small business owners can use for free called Google Apps. You can even change things in your documents at the same time! You will need a geek friend to set these up for you as it can be a bit complicated.  Most mobile IT support companies will be able to help you get started.

They will also be able to help you get an email domain.  Much more professional to be joe@joesplumbers.com that joetheplumber@myisp.net.

We expect that these announcements will spark more innovation from Google and Microsoft.  It’s exciting to see such useful technology being made accessible to small business owners. 

4 Comments

Emily Coltman
June 16, 2008 at 7:27 pm

In terms of innovation this sounds great. But what if Joe the plumber wants to take a week off with his wife?

If he’s using MobileMe, won’t his clients realise they can get hold of him 24-7, and ring him when he’s on the beach in Spain?

Presumably he’d just have to leave his mobile at home and tell his clients he was on a week off.

M

rod
June 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Hi Emily,

Most email products have an out of office functionality and email forwarding.

You should never be scared to turn off your mobile :)

Rod

Emily Coltman
June 18, 2008 at 12:00 am

Hi Rod,

Absolutely right – technology can be used to let customers know you’re not available.

The snag with out of office functionality is that auto-replies can let spammers know the address is active, so I guess you’d need to decide whether that’s a small price to pay for keeping your customers informed. And whether you need to improve your spam blocking software.

M

Xero | News about online accounting software for small business » Blog Archive » Phasing Out Internet Explorer 6
July 10, 2008 at 1:32 pm

[…] a .mac user I recently received an email from Apple regarding their new MobileMe service (described here). The email states that MobileMe is happy on any Mac or PC. Any PC not running Internet Explorer 6 […]

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