Every small business needs effective tools to stay competitive and one tool that has revolutionized the way small businesses communicate with customers and with their own teams, is video conferencing. With the rise of remote work and global teams, video conferencing has become an cheap, effective essential solution for communication and collaboration. Gone are the days of expensive business trips and long-distance phone calls as video conferencing allows small businesses to connect with clients, partners, and employees in real-time, regardless of their geographical location.
Video conferencing offers numerous benefits for small businesses. Firstly, it enhances productivity by enabling face-to-face communication, which helps engagement in your team; it also helps teams to collaborate effectively on projects and make quicker decisions. Video conferencing also enables small businesses to expand their reach and connect with clients and partners around the world, without the need for physical meetings. This not only saves time and money but also opens up new opportunities for growth and expansion.
We look at five of the best video conferencing software tools for your small business to help you stay in touch with your colleagues and your customers. It’s now easier than ever thanks to the significant improvements over the last couple of years in video and web conferencing software that are now quick, easy and very affordable to setup a web conferencing system that will help you improve collaboration and effectiveness you’re your team.
Web conferencing software has made remote work much easier – in fact, Covid and remote working forced an increased pace of change from developers of video conferencing systems allowing you and your colleagues to continue to work together, but from home. As remote work takes centre stage in many businesses, web conferencing has driven this trend by promoting reliable and effective online communication.
Here’s our view on five of the best tools to help you communicate effectively on regular calls with customers, sales calls, team meetings, or 121 discussions.
5 great web conferencing software for a small business
We’ve looked at the features and benefits of web conferencing software for remote workers in small businesses and have come up with five of the best to help you work effectively.
- Zoom – Best Overall Web Conferencing Software
- Microsoft Teams – Best MultiPurpose Web Conferencing Software
- Google Meet – Best Web Conferencing Software for Google Workspace Users
- GoToMeeting – Easy-to-Use Web Conferencing Software
- Zoho Meeting – Best Web Conferencing Software for Webinars
Find out more at zoom.com
Zoom is undoubtedly the most popular video conferencing platform around the world and it drove a lot of the change during lockdown as families, friends and work colleagues switched to remote working. This software allows you to make calls, record videos, and interact with your employees worldwide.
One of the reasons why Zoom is a household name is that using it is super simple. You can easily join virtual meetings through secure links and share your screen with others.
This software runs on Android, iOS, web browsers, Mac, and Windows.
Zoom has found applications in many areas of life, like education, business, healthcare, financial services, and retail. For example, it enables doctors to connect virtually with patients through telemedicine.
There’s a free plan available, but this limits your time per call and the bandwidth (which determines the quality of the video) is normally lower than on paid plans. Paid plans are affordable and start at around £20/month – the options list is comprehensive, but somewhat confusing with the number of options available.
As a small business owner, Zoom helps you connect with your employees in different departments and hold meetings online. This way, you can address urgent issues as soon as possible – even if you’re away on a business trip.
- Easy document and screen sharing
- Crisp video and audio during calls
- Works on mobile devices, Macs, and PCs
- Up to 100 attendees for every meeting
- In-chat messages available
- Integrates smoothly with calendars
- Smooth calls even over poor network
- 40-minute limit on the free plan
2. Microsoft Teams
Find out more at microsoft.com
Microsoft has moved quickly to catchup with Zoom and its Teams conferencing system is built into its Office suite of software as well as being available separately. Microsoft innovates often and fast and the platform is now very widely used by businesses, if not so much by individuals.
This software has four main features: meet, call, collaborate and chat. The meet feature helps you organise virtual meetings and interviews quickly. You also get screen sharing for more impactful interactions, you can record and even transcribe the meetings automatically.
The call feature works like any regular phone by allowing you to dial and call people on their mobile lines. In addition, you can also receive calls with no audio drops with Microsoft Teams.
As its name suggests, the collaborative feature seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft products like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. This way, you can share files smoothly while at meetings.
Lastly, the chat feature works like WhatsApp messenger and allows out-of-office communication with your employees.
- Improved communication and collaboration
- 5 GB cloud storage with the free plan
- Enables smooth file sharing
- Allows 100 members per meeting
- Secure meeting platform
- Advanced features available
- Requires app installation
- Not currently available in some countries and regions
3. Google Meet
Find out more at meet.google.com
This web conferencing software is great if you use Google products to manage your business. Google Meet helps you integrate your meetings into your calendar seamlessly.
In addition, Google Workspace helps you share files and documents from google docs, sheets, or even your drive without leaving the call.
Google Meet allows up to 100 participants per call, and you can discuss for hours with no time limit. This feature makes Meet popular among the online community.
Screen sharing, in-call messages, and file-sharing features are available. You can also send the link directly to emails or create private meeting rooms.
After creating a meeting on your calendar, Google provides a link you can share within your organisation. You can also create a meeting link via your Gmail account or the ‘Create Meeting’ interface on Google Meet.
Each link has secure encryption for a private online meeting within your small business.
- Crisp audio and video with low lag
- Option for 100,000 participants in view-only mode
- Live captions are available in English
- Smooth file sharing from Google Drive
- Works on multiple platforms
- Simple user interface
- May not perform optimally on browsers other than Chrome
- Audio quality depends on network strength
4. GoTo Meeting
Find out more at goto.com
GoTo Meeting gives perfect audio and video calls without a cluttered user interface if you’re looking for a simple-to-use option.
This software works via the web, so there is no need for installations on your PC. The pricing is affordable, and you can also get a discount if you activate a subscription renewal.
Using GoTo Meeting is simple, and you get started in no time. This software records videos in HD and allows you to share your screen, keyboard, and mouse. You also access the drawing tools to demonstrate and highlight ideas better during a call.
Some security features like the ‘meeting lock’ and ‘dismiss attendees’ ensure you’re fully ready for the presentation.
- High-quality audio during calls
- HD video for effective communication
- Recording and transcriptions available
- Advanced features like commuter mode
- Background noise suppression for clearer meetings
- In-call chat available
- Members per meeting capped at 250
- The free plan has limited abilities
5. Zoho Meeting
Find out more at zoho.com
Some small businesses in the online niche need to create webinars for many participants. Managing these online seminars is tough, as many platforms allow 100 members per meeting.
As a result, Zoho meeting is the perfect pick if you’re selling a product or service to thousands of people online.
One of the best features of Zoho is round-the-clock customer support. You can get instant help if you have issues setting up meeting links.
Zoho Meeting also allows you to create customised emails and contact forms that make more impact on your audience.
In addition, this web conferencing software also integrates with other Zoho products and third-party apps like Gmail and Outlook.
Lastly, the simple-to-use user interface ensures no problems using the web conferencing software. Industry-grade security ensures your webinars and meetings stay as private as ever.
- Affordable price with no hidden charges
- Support webinars and online conferences
- Enables meeting recording and screen sharing
- Mobile apps available
- Simple to use
- Live customer support
- No free webinar mode
- 60 minutes on a free basic plan may not be enough
How to choose a solution
When selecting a video conferencing solution for your small business, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost is ease of use. The solution should be user-friendly and intuitive, requiring minimal technical knowledge to set up and operate. This is especially important for small businesses with limited IT resources.
Compatibility with existing hardware and software is another crucial factor. Ensure that the video conferencing solution integrates seamlessly with your current communication tools to avoid any compatibility issues.
Security is another vital consideration. Small businesses handle sensitive information, and ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of meetings is essential. Look for video conferencing solutions that offer encryption and other security features to protect your data.
Scalability is also crucial, as your business may grow and require the ability to host larger meetings or accommodate more participants.
Finally, pricing is a significant factor for small businesses. Consider your budget and choose a solution that offers the right balance between affordability and functionality.
Benefits of web conferencing software
Web conferencing software has come to stay. Here are some benefits your small business will get by keying into the digital era:
Web conferencing helps you communicate with different teams handling projects in your business at an amazing speed. You can monitor work progress, give instructions, and hold real-time meetings with employees.
In addition, departments in your small business will see improved communication between one another with web conferencing software. This way, there’ll be a better flow of information, and your employees can finish tasks faster.
Rather than sending emails that sit in employees’ inboxes and stay unread for hours or messages that get lost in the heat of work, web conferencing allows you to communicate visually.
Discussing large projects via email or text can be challenging, especially if large files need to be transferred. Web conferencing software helps you to review projects and give feedback or recommendations on the spot.
In addition, you can also record the meeting, share links, or transfer files which promotes active participation during the meeting and collaboration between workers.
For some tech-intensive careers like software development and website design, finding the right talent for your business can be tough. Sometimes, small businesses have no other option besides hiring people who live on the other side of the globe.
Communication with such employees becomes difficult since they are far from the rest of their team. They may have to travel miles for important meetings and spend thousands on feeding and accommodation.
Web conferencing software removes the distance barrier, as employees can connect virtually in seconds. Using it feels like everyone is in the same room while sharing ideas. In addition, it will save your business travelling costs since there is no need to book flights and hotels anymore.
One place where startups and small businesses burn cash is while recruiting personnel. It is important to get the right people for the job since it fosters productivity and effective communication.
Small businesses may not have the resources to interview and recruit the best talent.
Web conferencing software has proven effective in hiring people since you can interview many candidates, even on business trips. These platforms save the time and costs of hiring a third-party agent like a hiring company.
Best practices for successful video conferencing meetings
Video conferencing software is now very easy to use and almost every business person will have been on a Zoom, Teams or Google Hangout call. To make the most of your video meetings, follow these best practices, especially before an important sales call or big presentation:
- Test your equipment and internet connection before the meeting to avoid technical issues.
- Choose a quiet and well-lit location for the meeting to enhance visibility and minimize distractions.
- Prepare an agenda and share it with participants in advance to keep the meeting focused and productive.
- Encourage active participation and create opportunities for everyone to contribute – this is really important when dealing with some attendees in a room together and some dialling in to a call
- Use screen sharing and other collaboration features to enhance engagement and understanding.
- Record the meeting for future reference or for participants who couldn’t attend. Many of the platforms, such as Teams, include features to automatically transcribe what was said in the meeting so you have a written record.
- Follow up with meeting minutes and action items to ensure accountability and continuity.
Integrating video conferencing with other collaboration tools
Video conferencing can be seamlessly integrated with other collaboration tools to enhance productivity and streamline workflows. By combining video conferencing with your CRM system you can automatically place a call or send a meeting request to a contact without switching software.
If you’re running project management tools, such as Trello or Asana, teams can collaborate on tasks, assign deadlines, and track progress in real-time with an integration to communication platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams allows for quick and easy access to video meetings directly from chat threads. This eliminates the need to switch between multiple applications and improves efficiency.
Training and support options for implementing video conferencing
Implementing video conferencing in a small business may require training and support to ensure a smooth transition. Many video conferencing solution providers offer comprehensive training resources, including video tutorials, knowledge bases, and webinars. Some solutions also provide dedicated customer support to assist with any technical issues or questions. Additionally, consider conducting internal training sessions to familiarize employees with the video conferencing software and its features. This will help maximize its potential and ensure everyone can use it effectively.
Video conferencing is a powerful tool that can boost productivity and collaboration in small businesses. By choosing the right video conferencing solution, small businesses can enhance communication, streamline workflows, and expand their reach. Consider factors such as ease of use, compatibility, security, scalability, and pricing when selecting a solution.
Our list of five great video conferencing solutions for small businesses – Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, and Zoho Meeting – offer a range of features and pricing options to suit different business needs. By implementing video conferencing effectively and following best practices, small businesses can harness the full potential of this technology and thrive in today’s digital landscape.
Web conferencing software helps you connect virtually with your employees in seconds. This method of communication promotes fast decision-making and enhanced collaboration and by choosing one of the five web conferencing software products we’ve reviewed for your small business ensures you get a flexible, user-friendly platform with good quality audio and video for your business calls.