Small companies need flexibility. But for Catherine Titta, 36, president and owner of the 5-year-old Web design consulting firm ArborComm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, flexibility means coordinating a team of eight full-time employees and up to a dozen subcontractors, many of whom work from home or at client sites several days per week.
By last year, Titta says, planning became especially difficult with everyone so seldom in the office together: "We needed more than an Outlook-type program--something that people could access from their offices as well as their home PCs."
On a suggestion from a team of University of Michigan business students, Titta's company, which had sales of $400,000 in 1999, started using a Web-based calendar feature on vJungle.com, an applications services Web site that offers some small-business services (like its calendar) for free. "We'd tried several other sites, but they all took too long to load," Titta says. "By contrast, vJungle's calendar is the most straightforward and user-friendly."
Now all ArborComm's employees can simply log on to vJungle.com from wherever they are to view and add company or team-specific events as well as their own. Temporary workers can keep in touch with company schedules without compromising the security of ArborComm's own intranet files. With event reminders sent via e-mail, file-sharing capabilities and even an online chat feature, everyone in the company can be on the same page again.
Mie-Yun Lee, founder and editorial director of BuyerZone.com, is Entrepreneur's "Buyer Zone" columnist. Kaukab Jhumra and William Scales contributed to this article.