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  • #995217
    aaron.miller
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    So we are growing and taking on our first staff member and this has led me to investigate how to resolve some of our current issues with good old email.
    Our current situation,
    We run as a family 2 companies and 3 brands, its Mum, Dad and me. Mum works from home, dad is 50/50 home/work and im pretty much work only.
    Mum a retired accountant runs the books, Dad does R&D, level 2 tech support and some sales. I do everything else.
    We sell printers and consumables, ribbon etc for a variety of markets such as custo tshirts, school place ribbons etc, and we source the products we sell from both Australia and overseas suppliers.
    Each of us has a pc at work, pc at home, iphone and ipad. Pc’s have outlook 2010, ios devices use mail.
    For each brand we have a office 365 hosted exchange mailbox called sales. We then have aliases for my name, my dads and accounts, but all emails for each domain go into the sales mailbox. The kinds of emails that go into each brands sales mailbox include orders from the website, payment confirmations from the website, orders sent as emails, fax to email orders, direct transfer remittance’s, supplier invoices, supplier statements, supplier rep communications, customs docs, newsletters from customers, suppliers and competitors, communication with tradeshow organisers, and so on.
    Some customers are on upfront payment, some have accounts with us.
    Anytime an email comes in, and we can get upwards of a hundred per brand per day, every device gets the email, and if someone replies to an email one on device, no matter what device the others are using they can see that it has been actioned, and look in sent items to see the reply.
    There is a sub folder to the inbox called purchases. Every supplier has a folder in purchases, all emails received from suppliers are moved into their folder. Their would be many thousands and thousands of emails in the purchases folder.
    All orders received are manually added to myob, we have 2 myob files, one per company, then that email is moved to a completed orders folder.
    So pretty much the three of us need access to all those emails, anyone of us can take a call from a customers broker, or a customer chasing up an order etc and we need to quickly find the email.
    We are taking on a new employee who will mainly be in charge of orders, entering them, packing them etc. She is starting out part time, we want her to have access to the order emails but nothing else at this stage.
    I would also like to move away from the alias’s and have actual mailbox’s for each of us.
    But having say all the supplier stuff going to mum because she does the books does’t really work as im the one doing the ordering?
    So I have a condundrum, how have others tackled these growing pains?

    Aaron

    #1200628
    Anthony Michaud
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    You could setup a new SHARED mailbox, that will be accessible to those you grant permissions to, in addition to each user mailbox you have. You can also replicate this to accounts@domain, or info@ etc. You then add a new user account for the new staff member, and only give them access to SHARED, not info/accounts.

    #1200629
    aaron.miller
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    • Total posts: 117
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    Hi Anthony,
    Thanks for the suggestion,
    The shared mailbox sounds like it would solve the new staff member problem, thanks.
    However do you have any suggestions for the rest of us, lets say we have all emails pertaining to purchases from suppliers go to accounts@.
    In order for all 3 of us to be able to see the emails we would then need to have the mailbox accounts loaded on all devices. Do this for the 3 domains and their would be 12 exchange accounts?

    Thanks again
    Aaron

    #1200630
    Anthony Michaud
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    • Total posts: 66
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    Hi Aaron,
    This may be where you want to look at a CRM package, or even a suite for full logistics, however, this will very likely be a costly exercise. You potentially could each have the shared mailbox as your own (you, mum & dad) where the primary hat you wear indicates your mailbox or simply limit the number of mailboxes you have access to on non-computer devices. i.e. does your dad who is doing R&D REALLY need orders and purchases on his mobile phone?

    Definitely sounds like you need to do some rationalisation, and not add all accounts to all devices (and even all accounts to all users). Perhaps now it might be better to leave all the accounts to Mum, (but you can open the accounts email from your PC if she is away etc.) and you and Dad don’t have to worry about 3 mailboxes.

    You’d still have the same volume of email, you’ve just got it automatically being “filed” into a specific email inbox.

    #1200631
    aaron.miller
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    • Total posts: 117
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    Ok came across an issue with shared mailboxes.
    Apparently you can’t access shared mailboxes on mobile devices?

    Aaron

    #1200632
    PRO
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    It sounds to me like you need to sort out who is doing what. There must be a lot of wasted time looking at emails that other people have already responded to. Why do all 3 of you need to see what everyone else is doing? Can you divide it by brand, so each of you have one or by role.

    Alternatively use something like ASANA project management software (free for up to 15 users).

    have a X Brand Incoming Sales project or just incoming sales across the 3 brands (asana lets you create new tasks by receiving email). Each of you have your own email address. When a new sale comes into that then just assign to the relevant person.

    We have an incoming correspondence project that covers all our Certus brands and creates new tasks from emails to all our generic addresses as well as faxes and scans of snail mail. It is just assigned to the correct person through ASANA to act on. So that you don’t double your workload, you create a rule that moves incoming mail that has been sent to ASANA to an archive folder and marks it as read.

    #1200633
    Easysmb
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    • Total posts: 84
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    Hi Aaron
    From my understanding, your problem is not about the email, understand that you want to control the expenses on email, but you have options.

    Email:
    Try Zoho Mails, which is free for 25 email account, it should be enough for your different businesses, and also Zoho mail is just like gmail, it comes with IMAP and you can access on the go.

    Collaboration:
    As Darryl mentioned, you need some kind of cloud collaboration solution (you can find your own).

    • Storage: box or dropbox or onedrive, google drive, choose the one you prefer
    • Tasking and collaboration: Asana, Trello or Wunderlist, find one that you feel that fits your requirements.

    Accounting: transfer your accounting to cloud accounting, either Xero or MYOB essential.

    There are industry specific solutions out there to fix particular problems. You can try to find solutions for yourself.

    Hope these are helpful.

    #1200634
    arrowwise
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    • Total posts: 641
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    Does your Microsoft 360 email support shared email folders? If so you could put emails you want everyone to see and be able to reply to in there.

    Otherwise for full collaborative email help desk systems can work well like:

    https://www.visionhelpdesk.com/

    or

    https://www.kayako.com

    Most CRMs do not run email as well as Outlook and Gmail.

    #1200635
    Alan Maddick
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    • Total posts: 410
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    I have 3 office 365 hosted domains (3 email addresses, each on a different domain) running in my outlook without any issues, it is very handy and its easy to choose which email to reply from, which signature etc. From what you say you are trying to do here:

    “accounts@.
    In order for all 3 of us to be able to see the emails we would then need to have the mailbox accounts loaded on all devices. Do this for the 3 domains and their would be 12 exchange accounts?”

    There will not be 12 exchange accounts unless I have missed something- there will be three accounts@domain1, accounts@domain2 and accounts@domain3 – office 365 and exchange do not care how many people or devices access a single mailbox.

    It will be no issues for you to have all 3 addresses I/you mention above to be used from one device and/or pc. You could also do the same thing with a shared folder as previously mentioned in posts but you wont be able to access this folder on mobile devices and you will also not be able to see sent emails relating to this shared folder.

    I hope this helps? We run over 100 email addresses over 5 domains so let me know if I can help.

    #1200636
    aaron.miller
    Member
    • Total posts: 117
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    PRO, post: 237717, member: 44325 wrote:
    It sounds to me like you need to sort out who is doing what. There must be a lot of wasted time looking at emails that other people have already responded to. Why do all 3 of you need to see what everyone else is doing? Can you divide it by brand, so each of you have one or by role.

    Alternatively use something like ASANA project management software (free for up to 15 users).

    have a X Brand Incoming Sales project or just incoming sales across the 3 brands (asana lets you create new tasks by receiving email). Each of you have your own email address. When a new sale comes into that then just assign to the relevant person.

    We have an incoming correspondence project that covers all our Certus brands and creates new tasks from emails to all our generic addresses as well as faxes and scans of snail mail. It is just assigned to the correct person through ASANA to act on. So that you don’t double your workload, you create a rule that moves incoming mail that has been sent to ASANA to an archive folder and marks it as read.
    Hi Darryl,
    Its not so much that each of us has to read every email, just have access to the emails at a later date. I am not familiar with Asana so thankyou for the suggestion, but can I ask, If say our customs agent asks us for the free trade agreement certificate that was emailed to us 4 weeks ago when our order was loaded onto the container ship, how would i go about emailing that certificate from within asana to the customs agent?

    Aaron

    #1200637
    aaron.miller
    Member
    • Total posts: 117
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    Easysmb, post: 237758, member: 80732 wrote:
    Hi Aaron
    From my understanding, your problem is not about the email, understand that you want to control the expenses on email, but you have options.

    Email:
    Try Zoho Mails, which is free for 25 email account, it should be enough for your different businesses, and also Zoho mail is just like gmail, it comes with IMAP and you can access on the go.

    Collaboration:
    As Darryl mentioned, you need some kind of cloud collaboration solution (you can find your own).

    • Storage: box or dropbox or onedrive, google drive, choose the one you prefer
    • Tasking and collaboration: Asana, Trello or Wunderlist, find one that you feel that fits your requirements.

    Accounting: transfer your accounting to cloud accounting, either Xero or MYOB essential.

    There are industry specific solutions out there to fix particular problems. You can try to find solutions for yourself.

    Hope these are helpful.
    Thanks for the tips Michael

    #1200639
    aaron.miller
    Member
    • Total posts: 117
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    arrowwise, post: 237819, member: 54026 wrote:
    Does your Microsoft 360 email support shared email folders? If so you could put emails you want everyone to see and be able to reply to in there.

    Otherwise for full collaborative email help desk systems can work well like:

    https://www.visionhelpdesk.com/

    or

    https://www.kayako.com

    Most CRMs do not run email as well as Outlook and Gmail.
    Thanks Steve, Shared mailbox would be the easy route, unfortunately for some stupid reason shared mailboxes can only be accessed on desktop outlook, not on mobile devices.
    Personal archive folders can be saved on the exchange server but only accessed by the same login credentials, im seeing if the traditional archive folders might allow sharing across credentials?

    Aaron.

    #1200640
    aaron.miller
    Member
    • Total posts: 117
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    Alan Maddick, post: 237825, member: 10325 wrote:
    I have 3 office 365 hosted domains (3 email addresses, each on a different domain) running in my outlook without any issues, it is very handy and its easy to choose which email to reply from, which signature etc. From what you say you are trying to do here:

    “accounts@.
    In order for all 3 of us to be able to see the emails we would then need to have the mailbox accounts loaded on all devices. Do this for the 3 domains and their would be 12 exchange accounts?”

    There will not be 12 exchange accounts unless I have missed something- there will be three accounts@domain1, accounts@domain2 and accounts@domain3 – office 365 and exchange do not care how many people or devices access a single mailbox.

    It will be no issues for you to have all 3 addresses I/you mention above to be used from one device and/or pc. You could also do the same thing with a shared folder as previously mentioned in posts but you wont be able to access this folder on mobile devices and you will also not be able to see sent emails relating to this shared folder.

    I hope this helps? We run over 100 email addresses over 5 domains so let me know if I can help.
    Thanks Alan,
    When i said 12 accounts, i meant per brand there would be accounts@ sales@, Aaron@ and John@

    Aaron

    #1200641
    aaron.miller
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    • Total posts: 117
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    What I have come up with for now as an interim measure is to create a new email address orders@ for each domain. Orders from the website, emailed orders etc will be sent to the orders email adress which the new girl will have access too, as will all of us.
    For each email account we have, we get a 1tb onedrive.
    All the important emails such as customs stuff, supplier emails etc will be saved to the one drive. Does anyone know of a quicker way to save emails then to do it one by one?
    If that works out then we will get everyone individual email inboxes.

    Aaron

    #1200642
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total posts: 44
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    First you need to setup Rules, these can automatically, sort among other things, emails to certain folders. Easiest way is to ensure your clients use a keyword in the subject line eg. ORDER, PAYMENT, QUERY. The rules, when setup, will check each incoming email’s subject line and when it sees ORDER will file it under the appropriate Order folder.

    Add in the rule to check who it is from by full email address, domain, contacts from address book or even search the body for a person/company name like in their signature.

    This would only be a temporary solution, quick to setup and does some of the work for you but if some or better yet all your customers are up to it, setup a secure portal on your website where they can order. Pretty sure MYOB or it with some addon can do a simple web app that integrates with your inventory database. It can help the customer a lot because if your inventory levels are up to date they can see if items are instock, pricing specifically for them, discounts etc. It helps you a lot because it removes the email sorting and manual entry into MYOB.

    Work out how much time you are spending on all the manual work and what you could be doing otherwise or the fact you need to employ someone shows you that it is costing you money. Finding a good consultant to plan and put in a system is going to probably save you a lot of time and effort. It doesn’t sound you need anything custom and can be done easily with off the shelf software. Since you are already using Microsoft you could look at hosting your own Web and SQL servers (to power the inventory system), even remote desktop servers via their Azure platform.

    I’m in the process of testing it myself for a simple inventory system but with a lot of stock items, so it needs some power behind the database that will interface with an off the shelf e-commerce and in store POS system. The cost for a physical server and the licensing for SQL Server for what I want to do isn’t worth it but I can pay as I use with online servers.

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