7 must-have tech solutions for every startup
Make use of these tools for everything from marketing and accounting to communication
As a business owner, at some point you must have said to yourself, “there must be an easier way.” It feels like your to-do-list never seems to end and you start to feel completely overwhelmed and out of control.
Thanks to new and innovative technology solutions there are easier ways of doing things. Here are 5 examples that will help you improve your efficiencies and effectiveness as a business owner.
1. Cloud Computing
This may sound complex and very technical but it’s actually very simple and there are a number of benefits for you and your business:
There is a big cost saving because you will no longer need to purchase cumbersome hardware and physical infrastructure which also means there is less maintenance and upgrading requirements.
It allows you to run your business more efficiently and flexibly because you now have access to all your information anywhere, anytime and from any device. It helps improve productivity and encourages collaboration because your employees can now share documents seamlessly and with ease.
Your information is safe, most cloud computing services backup your data hourly and they use the latest in security software, so there are no more sleepless nights worrying about servers crashing or someone breaking into your office and stealing your equipment.
2. Cloud Accounting
Keeping track of all your business finances can be challenging and is often the main cause of small businesses failing. Online accounting software allows you to keep track of all your cashflow movements seamlessly across any device. You can also use the mobile app to send invoices, reconcile and generate expense claims. Talk about efficiencies.
Your business is only as strong as the team you have and how well they work together. An aspect of any successful team is communication, here are a couple of tools that will improve team communication within your business.
4. Virtual Meetings
How many times have you had a meeting for the sake of having a meeting? Video and chat technology allows you to meet with people all around the world from any device and while you are on the move, saving you time and money. No more sitting in traffic and driving all over the place to get things done. Here are a couple of virtual meeting service providers and the best part is they are all free: Skype, Appear.in and Google Hangouts.
5. Messaging Platforms
These days we seem to run our personal and business lives on WhatsApp, we chat more than we make actual phone calls. It is more efficient and the best part is you can see once someone has read your message. WhatsApp for web is particularly useful, you can now access it on your desktop or laptop.
Slack is another unique messaging platform for teams. Their tag line is: “be less busy”. There is a web and mobile app which ensures you are able to collaborate anywhere and anytime. It integrates into most online tools and is great for working on projects with different team members. If you are looking for an online staff communication portal, you might just have found the solution.
Have you ever been out of the office and suddenly needed to access or share a specific document? Cloud document storage can help with that and also ensure your documents are at least backed up in the cloud. The irony is that most people backup their information on an external hard drive that is usually kept in their laptop bag, so if that gets stolen then everything is lost. Dropbox and Google Drive are great tools for storing, sharing and collaborating on documents.
We live in the Google era, when your customers want to find out more about your business, they search for it online. This is why it is so important to have an optimised and relevant online presensance. You need to be there during your customers’ Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT). Luckily, you don’t need to be a hardcore coder or web developer, if you know your way around Mircrosoft Word then you’ll be fine setting up your own website on one of these platforms. They have made it as easy as drag and drop. So if you need a website or you think it’s time for your website to get a revamp then sign-up today and give it a try: Wix, SquareSpace and Yola.
Now that your website is sorted, you need to ensure that when someone searches for your brand online you appear as one of the first links on Google. You can achieve this by creating a Google Adwords campaign. Google Adwords allows you to attract more customers, reach the right customers at the right time and the best part is you only pay if someone clicks on your advert. It is really simple to setup and you are always in control of how much you spend, you can start with as little as R 100. You can find out everything you need to know on the Google Adwords YouTube channel.
If you feel that your business doesn’t justify having a dedicated website then Facebook is a great substitute. Setting up a Facebook page is easy, you can follow the steps explained in this article. It is a great space to build your brand, generate leads and you can reach the right audience very cost effectively, you can start with as little as R 100 and you are able to apply very specific targeting metrics. The Facebook YouTube channel is a great resource that will help you every step of the way.
Embrace technology today and experience the impact that it can have on your business.
About the author: Dov Girnun is the CEO and founder of Merchant Capital. The company is an innovative solution for South African small and medium businesses struggling to access working capital for growth. Merchant Capital offers an alternative to traditional funding option and uses a unique funding and payment model to provide a working capital injection for growing businesses. You can follow them on Twitter@MerchantCap.