Get started with Microsoft Teams in your small business

The way we work and live has changed significantly in the last few weeks and many small businesses are making a rapid transition to remote work. As your business works to equip employees to work remotely and connect with your customers virtually, below is a brief set of guidelines to help you get up and running quickly with Microsoft Teams. 

If you're just starting to change your business to work remotely, you've come to the right place. With Microsoft 365, you can manage a business virtually and stay in touch with your employees, partners, and customers through online meetings, chats, file sharing, and calls in Microsoft Teams. 

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For help with working remotely, we recommend starting with these three steps:

1. Get ready

Getting started is easy. If you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, make sure that everyone has a license that includes Microsoft Teams. If your company does not have Microsoft Teams yet, you can sign up for a 6-month free trial of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, which includes a full-featured version of Microsoft Teams. 

Get Microsoft Teams ready for your customers

Guest access allows teams in your organization to collaborate with people outside your organization by granting them access to existing teams and channels in Microsoft Teams. Anyone with a business or consumer email account, such as Outlook, Gmail, or others, can participate as a guest in Microsoft Teams with full access to team chats, meetings, and files. As the Microsoft Teams admin, you control which features guests can (and can't) use in Microsoft Teams - check out Manage guest access.

2. Start using Microsoft Teams

Now it's time to start using Microsoft Teams. You can use it from the web, or install the app on your computer, laptop, or mobile device.

Meet from anywhere

With Microsoft Teams, people can use video conferencing to communicate securely with HD video while seeing and talking to other participants in real time. This adds a level of engagement and interaction to the conversation as body language and facial expressions promote higher collaboration and understanding.

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Chat from anywhere

Connect in real time on private 1:1 chats, group chats or in channel conversations that are visible to the entire team. Chat history is available at any time to recall past discussions and decisions. This adds a lot of value for new people coming into the team, or for current team members looking to re-visit a conversation’s context.

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Collaborate with customers and employees

Microsoft Teams provides an excellent way to keep in touch with both your employees and customers.

Help everyone in your organization install Microsoft Teams on their devices. For more information, see download Microsoft Teams.

With Microsoft Teams you can send instant messages, share files and hold meetings. You can invite anyone to a meeting, even if they don't have Microsoft Teams. For real-time collaboration with chat, document sharing, and calls, you can invite people outside your business to be a member of your team.

Create and organize teams

A team in Microsoft Teams is designed to bring together a group of people who work closely to get things done. Teams can be dynamic for project-based work (i.e. a product launch), or ongoing, based on your company’s departments or office locations. You can also set up org-wide teams to include everyone in your organization.

Channels are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects or disciplines. Conversations, files, and notes for each channel are only visible to members of that group.

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Store and share files

As your team works together remotely, you'll have files that you'll want to share and collaborate on, both inside and outside the company. Microsoft Teams makes it easy to share files and work on them together. If your documents are Word, Excel or PowerPoint files your colleagues and customers can even view, edit, and collaborate on them, right within Microsoft Teams.

Make sure your company’s key documents are saved in the cloud and ready to be shared securely with clients, customers, partners, suppliers, and other people in your business. Keeping files in the cloud also means you get the benefits of backup and the ability to recover from hard drive failures, ransomware attacks, and other misfortunes.

3. Get everyone ready

To help your employees get the most out of Microsoft Teams, you can share with them the following links to end user training resources:

Next steps

For a deeper dive into the functionality of Microsoft Teams...

Secure your business as it runs remotely

A highly recommended security feature is multi-factor authentication (MFA). Adding MFA for remote employees requires them to enter a security code received by a text, phone call, or authentication app when they log into Microsoft 365. If a hacker gets a hold of someone’s password through a phishing attack, they can’t use it to access your company’s accounts and data. You can add MFA protection from the Microsoft 365 Admin Center: Set up MFA for mobile devices.

Microsoft Teams templates

To make deployment in your organization easier and more streamlined, check out the templates that are available specifically for small businesses. Microsoft Teams templates allow you to quickly and easily create teams by providing a predefined template of settings, channels, and pre-installed apps, while orienting users to get started using Microsoft Teams effectively. See Get started with Teams templates for small and medium businesses.

Business phone system

Turn any PC, Mac, or mobile device into a working business phone by adding Microsoft 365 Business Voice to your subscription. Give employees their own work phone number to make and receive calls, set up a call menu system to route calls, add audio conferencing, and set up both toll and toll-free numbers for your business. Do all of this while replacing traditional telephony providers and in-house phone systems that can be costly and difficult to manage.

See Also

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