The internet and the digital marketing space have made it easier for prospective entrepreneurs to put their ideas into action. Whether you’re using the web to learn new ideas or as a way of marketing your products, there’s no denying the fact that modern innovation plays a vital role in start-ups.
But even with the current technology, there are many essential factors that you’ll still need to be successful. You’ll need hardware and software that can help you get the job done and push your startup into what you envision.
It’s also important to remember that most of these tools work hand in hand. For instance, computer hardware may not benefit your business if you don’t have the right software programs.
In addition, you might also need a reliable outsourcing service provider, especially if your current team can’t handle some of the tasks. With that said, regardless of what your line of business is, here are eight essential cornerstones that no small business in this modern world can simply function without:
The master link of all business operations regardless of your niche or what you do is the computer. A desktop computer or laptop for you and your employees will be your chief device for all operations, in your office or when on the go.
When choosing the right business desktop computer or laptop, it’s easy to fall for the latest and luring state-of-the-art hardware. However, don’t lose sight of what is essential.
Remember, your computer is a business tool and not a multimedia hub or gaming system for your entertainment. This means that you should keep your focus on the computer that can take on the everyday workplace essentials such as spreadsheets and word processing, emails, and Internet access.
Dual-core processors with 2GB memory should be enough to meet the power and, more importantly, the pricing requirements of most business users.
Productivity and collaboration tools are crucial to any fledgling business. This software allows startups to create and produce solutions, stay organized, collaborate, and deliver superior services.
The standard office suite should allow employees to produce spreadsheets, documents, and presentations with a distinctly professional flair. However, a comprehensive and advanced office suite and collaboration solution should also integrate tools such as address book, calendar, and email management functions.
Some collaboration tools can also offer seamless communication. For example, meeting platforms with an online whiteboard. Or, consider task or project management tools, such as a shared inbox in Gmail, that allow teams to connect, regardless of where they are. These simplify communication with clients and co-workers alike, significantly streamlining your daily workflow.
Portable memory storage is the floppy disk of the 21st century. A portable memory storage device from the personal thumb drives and USB flash drives to the larger, GB portable hard drives can help businesses to manage and protect crucial information on the go.
These devices also promise secure storage and transfer of documents, presentations, and other related-business data.
The password-protected flash drives offer a cost-effective alternative to the pricey hard-disk encryption software. With this tiny gadget, employees can efficiently transfer data between computers, copy information, and store data for later access.
Meanwhile, the larger portable disk drives serve as spacious memory devices for backups. At the close of business every night, the portable hard drive can save database backups and carry them offsite.
Every penny counts. This is particularly true for the small business that’s just starting to make a name in the industry.
Thus, it’s imperative that you keep a close tab on your expenditures and income. You should be able to figure out how much money is coming in and how much is leaving.
Reliable accounting software should be able to track all your financial data—such as business expenses, billings, product sales and costs, and employee payroll.
Fortunately, unlike other must-haves for business, most basic accounting software is available for free. You should find Microsoft Office Accounting Express or QuickBooks Simple are more than enough to support your basic bookkeeping requirements.
If you only have less than five clients to work with, then you can probably remember all the conversations and transactions that you’ve had.
However, as your business grows, it becomes difficult to remember which conversation you had with which client. This is where CRM saves the day!
Short for Customer Relation Management, CRM platforms like Salesforce and Zoho can allow you to create profiles for individuals and companies, tying in the email communication you have had with each and taking notes for meetings.
It shall provide better knowledge and data of customers, segmentation, speedier services, and communication. In short, it simply improves your relationship with your clients.
While newspapers are still a thing, in this modern age, people now rely heavily on search engines like Google or Yahoo for brand information and products.
What does it mean for your company? If it’s not online, then you don’t really exist.
Your website is like your virtual business card. It should supply your audience and consumers with crucial information like directions, contacts, areas of expertise, and hours of operation. More importantly, it should convey unique traits and branding that sets you apart from the competition.
When designing a website, make it simple yet sophisticated. You can hire a web design expert or firm to ensure that it’s relevant, professional, and equipped with modern features that enhance the visitor experience. You should also consider partnering with SEO consultants to improve the quality and volume of your site traffic. SEO consultants will help you create an effective SEO strategy and make it operational for the benefit of your website and the brand as a whole.
In addition to having a website, it’s also important that you have an established name across social networking platforms.
Social networks allow businesses to share exciting promotions and deals as well as crucial business information and updates by communicating directly with your clients already interested in what you do.
You can use your social media profile to promote services and goods and even introducing direct sales initiatives. Here, you can talk about what your brand is doing and introduce new products, promotions, or anything that will pique the curiosity of your clientele.
Small businesses concerned about security (and they should be) also need to implement VPN services. Short for Virtual Private Network, VPN services can hide your online activity from snooping and hacking as well as limit those who can access your network content.
Using VPN services can also allow your remote employees to log on to your office network from anywhere as long as they have Internet access. They can access the resources they need for their tasks while ensuring that your business data is still secure.
Having the right tools can make a significant difference. A desktop computer with compatible software applications installed can simplify the tasks of the employees. Such programs include CRM, VPN, and accounting software. An addition that could be added to this list is a receipt OCR which can save time and increase productivity. A website is another must-have for any competitive business in this day and age. Social media will also come in handy in your marketing strategies and help you boost your engagement with your customers. Having these tools at your disposal isn’t only an edge you have over your rivals, but it also allows you to grow faster in the market.