Starting a Business: How to Best Utilize Technology

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Starting a Business: How to Best Utilize Technology

When start­ing out with a busi­ness, you will prob­a­bly be look­ing at every method out there that will give you that extra edge to suc­ceed. After all, cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing a prof­itable com­pany is much trick­ier than it might seem when all your ini­tial dreams only focus on the poten­tial rewards.

Thanks to the con­tin­ued rise of tech­nol­ogy and the Inter­net, there are more options avail­able than ever to help your busi­ness grow and avoid com­mon pit­falls. To best illus­trate this, below you will find a healthy sam­ple of ways where your busi­ness can uti­lize tech­nol­ogy for your benefit.

Jump on the mobile bandwagon

For­get about desk­tops; mobile is where it’s at right now.

Well okay, don’t for­get about desk­tops. How­ever, it is impor­tant to note just how preva­lent mobile usage is these days. In fact, peo­ple have been using their mobile devices longer on a daily basis than their desk­tops since 2014 – and the gap con­tin­ues to grow each year.

As a result, it is highly rec­om­mended that you have your web­site opti­mized for mobile usage. Thank­fully, this is gen­er­ally included auto­mat­i­cally with mod­ern web­site themes/​builders. On top of this, you should also explore the idea of pro­duc­ing your very own app. Because while peo­ple browse the Inter­net on mobile, reports sug­gest most of their time is spent using apps.

It’s not all about opti­miz­ing for mobile, either. There are plenty of apps on the mar­ket – from sim­ple things like a cal­cu­la­tor to project track­ing soft­ware – that can ben­e­fit your business.

Hire the best from around the world

One of the great things about the Inter­net is that it opens you up to the world – and that includes your abil­ity to hire work­ers. No longer do you have to be restricted to only bring­ing in local tal­ent; now you can spread your wings and hire the best of the best in their respec­tive fields.

As for how to find and hire these peo­ple, web­sites such as Upwork and Free­lancer make it easy. Post the job you need doing (or sim­ply head­hunt a top rated free­lancer), choose from the best appli­ca­tions, sort out pay­ment terms, and then hire the per­son once every­thing is done. Con­sid­er­ing this can all be done within an hour or two, it’s fair to say that it is much eas­ier and quicker than going through a tra­di­tional hir­ing process!

If you don’t come across a suit­able free­lancer, there’s also the option of going with a spe­cial­ist out­sourc­ing firm. In gen­eral, these firms should be able to offer you that extra level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and assur­ance over the stan­dard freelancer.

By the way, one other bonus of going the out­sourc­ing route: you don’t need to pay the likes of health or den­tal benefits!

Use spe­cial­ist software

Say­ing spe­cial­ist soft­ware doesn’t just mean well-​known pro­grams like Pho­to­shop and Microsoft Office. In fact, there are plenty of other soft­ware pack­ages that can make life easy for your business.

One of the most help­ful is ded­i­cated account­ing soft­ware. Now while there are var­i­ous options avail­able to suit all budgets/​tastes, these account­ing pro­grams should help to keep track of those num­bers all that much eas­ier – some­thing you’ll be thank­ful for when tax sea­son rears its ugly head.

In addi­tion, the inclu­sion of project man­age­ment soft­ware and CRM (Cus­tom Rela­tions Man­age­ment) soft­ware is also highly rec­om­mended. The for­mer helps keep track of projects, while the lat­ter places all your contacts/​customers in one con­ve­nient place.

Con­duct mar­ket research

Mar­ket research is cer­tainly noth­ing new. How­ever, with the Inter­net, con­duct­ing and get­ting a clearer mes­sage from your research is much more viable than tra­di­tional means.

First of all, you can set up a sur­vey to send to prospec­tive cus­tomers. Google forms are arguably the best option avail­able in that regard, where you have the free­dom to ask var­i­ous ques­tions that will help you gather the knowl­edge as to if your busi­ness idea is one that is viable or not.

Sim­ply brows­ing the social media chan­nels that your rivals use could also pro­vide a healthy out­look with regards to know­ing the mar­ket, while using Google Ana­lyt­ics helps to sort out those web­site num­bers and see what is (or isn’t) work­ing with your business.

Pro­mote across the web

While tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing meth­ods haven’t exactly gone the way of the dodo just yet, online adver­tis­ing tech­niques are cer­tainly the pri­or­ity for most new busi­nesses. The rea­sons behind this are sim­ple: it’s gen­er­ally inex­pen­sive, con­ve­nient and many peo­ple con­nect to the web on a daily basis.

As for which mar­ket­ing options to choose, this is down to which you feel will best suit your busi­ness. There’s the obvi­ous path of going with social media, which is rec­om­mended for essen­tially every com­pany. Not only do you not need to spend any money with this method, yet nearly every­one is on the likes of Twit­ter and Face­book these days.

The likes of web­site ban­ners, AdWords and other advert avenues have also been uti­lized over the years. You can also go cre­ative with this type of advert – think about the pos­si­bil­ity of send­ing your prod­ucts to be fea­tured by rel­e­vant YouTube chan­nels or promi­nent bloggers.

Head for the cloud

Although you hear about secu­rity breaches, and you might be a lit­tle appre­hen­sive to place your trust in cloud-​based stor­age, there are many use­ful ben­e­fits over the usual means for stor­ing your pre­cious files and documents.

One advan­tage is that it boosts col­lab­o­ra­tion between team mem­bers. For instance, work­ers with access to a cer­tain file will be able to access and edit it at any time and from wher­ever they are based. Speak­ing of which, it pro­vides flex­i­bil­ity to employ­ees who might need/​want to stay at home to do their work.

Despite those afore­men­tioned secu­rity issues, the cloud is also a more secure plat­form. With phys­i­cal prod­ucts like lap­tops and hard dri­ves stor­ing files, they can eas­ily suf­fer from dam­age or become lost. In com­par­i­son, files stored in the cloud won’t be affected even if your work device is compromised.

When starting out with a business, you will probably be looking at every method out there that will give you that extra edge to succeed. After all, creating and maintaining a profitable company is much trickier than it might seem when all your initial dreams only focus on the potential rewards.

Thanks to the continued rise of technology and the Internet, there are more options available than ever to help your business grow and avoid common pitfalls. To best illustrate this, below you will find a healthy sample of ways where your business can utilize technology for your benefit.

Jump on the mobile bandwagon

Forget about desktops; mobile is where it’s at right now.

Well okay, don’t forget about desktops. However, it is important to note just how prevalent mobile usage is these days. In fact, people have been using their mobile devices longer on a daily basis than their desktops since 2014 – and the gap continues to grow each year.

As a result, it is highly recommended that you have your website optimized for mobile usage. Thankfully, this is generally included automatically with modern website themes/builders. On top of this, you should also explore the idea of producing your very own app. Because while people browse the Internet on mobile, reports suggest most of their time is spent using apps.

It’s not all about optimizing for mobile, either. There are plenty of apps on the market – from simple things like a calculator to project tracking software – that can benefit your business.

Hire the best from around the world

One of the great things about the Internet is that it opens you up to the world – and that includes your ability to hire workers. No longer do you have to be restricted to only bringing in local talent; now you can spread your wings and hire the best of the best in their respective fields.

As for how to find and hire these people, websites such as Upwork and Freelancer make it easy. Post the job you need doing (or simply headhunt a top rated freelancer), choose from the best applications, sort out payment terms, and then hire the person once everything is done. Considering this can all be done within an hour or two, it’s fair to say that it is much easier and quicker than going through a traditional hiring process!

If you don’t come across a suitable freelancer, there’s also the option of going with a specialist outsourcing firm. In general, these firms should be able to offer you that extra level of professionalism and assurance over the standard freelancer.

By the way, one other bonus of going the outsourcing route: you don’t need to pay the likes of health or dental benefits!

Use specialist software

Saying specialist software doesn’t just mean well-known programs like Photoshop and Microsoft Office. In fact, there are plenty of other software packages that can make life easy for your business.

One of the most helpful is dedicated accounting software. Now while there are various options available to suit all budgets/tastes, these accounting programs should help to keep track of those numbers all that much easier – something you’ll be thankful for when tax season rears its ugly head.

In addition, the inclusion of project management software and CRM (Custom Relations Management) software is also highly recommended. The former helps keep track of projects, while the latter places all your contacts/customers in one convenient place.

Conduct market research

Market research is certainly nothing new. However, with the Internet, conducting and getting a clearer message from your research is much more viable than traditional means.

First of all, you can set up a survey to send to prospective customers. Google forms are arguably the best option available in that regard, where you have the freedom to ask various questions that will help you gather the knowledge as to if your business idea is one that is viable or not.

Simply browsing the social media channels that your rivals use could also provide a healthy outlook with regards to knowing the market, while using Google Analytics helps to sort out those website numbers and see what is (or isn’t) working with your business.

Promote across the web

While traditional marketing methods haven’t exactly gone the way of the dodo just yet, online advertising techniques are certainly the priority for most new businesses. The reasons behind this are simple: it’s generally inexpensive, convenient and many people connect to the web on a daily basis.

As for which marketing options to choose, this is down to which you feel will best suit your business. There’s the obvious path of going with social media, which is recommended for essentially every company. Not only do you not need to spend any money with this method, yet nearly everyone is on the likes of Twitter and Facebook these days.

The likes of website banners, AdWords and other advert avenues have also been utilized over the years. You can also go creative with this type of advert – think about the possibility of sending your products to be featured by relevant YouTube channels or prominent bloggers.

Head for the cloud

Although you hear about security breaches, and you might be a little apprehensive to place your trust in cloud-based storage, there are many useful benefits over the usual means for storing your precious files and documents.

One advantage is that it boosts collaboration between team members. For instance, workers with access to a certain file will be able to access and edit it at any time and from wherever they are based. Speaking of which, it provides flexibility to employees who might need/want to stay at home to do their work.

Despite those aforementioned security issues, the cloud is also a more secure platform. With physical products like laptops and hard drives storing files, they can easily suffer from damage or become lost. In comparison, files stored in the cloud won’t be affected even if your work device is compromised.