There are a lot of factors that go into running a successful small business. From hiring priorities to office furnishings, many options come down to personal preference, while others are helpful but not necessary. Some solutions, however, are absolutely vital for entrepreneurs to find their footing.
When it comes to technology, emerging businesses should always prioritize these seven tech solutions before implementing others. These tools will lay a strong foundation that you can build upon as your small business grows and strengthens:
1. A Payroll Solution
As your small business grows, you’ll need to hire employees to fulfill increasing demand and share a growing workload. Even if your first hires are close friends and family, they’ll be expecting compensation for their labor. Paying people on time is the foundation of a positive work culture.
The great news is that there are payroll solutions for small businesses that make staying on top of paychecks a snap. These solutions are made for small organizations in mind, making quick work of paydays as well as tax compliance and benefits management. These programs are also great for small businesses that work with freelancers who don’t always receive a regular paycheck.
2. Project Management Software
Operating a business is all about executing various projects and guiding them toward completion. Everything from closing deals to creating marketing campaigns can be boiled down to a task list set with deadlines that can be delegated. Those myriad tasks can get overwhelming, though, if you’re not managing your workload with project management software.
Project management software can make even the most complicated tasks appear simple. You’re able to lay out all the details of your project and break down the timeline, individual responsibilities, and checkpoints. This software can also be used by everyone in the organization to stay up-to-date on tasks even if they’re not directly involved.
3. Website Setup and Monitoring
Every business, no matter its size, needs an updated website. Even before COVID-19 struck, customers increasingly preferred to do their shopping and product research online. Businesses without a functional website will miss out on a lot of traffic and potential sales.
Tech solutions for your website include a website builder, data tracking, and any sort of integrations you want to add. Start with a simple design that is easy for customers to navigate. Include links and pages to your products, services, and any other helpful resources you want customers to be able to access.
Depending on your business model, an e-commerce storefront might also be essential. Later on, you can add more bells and whistles to create an even better website for all visitors.
4. A Time Management Tool
Time management is important to everyone, but it’s of exceptional value to small business owners. Running a small business is all about building momentum and using your limited resources wisely.
Managing your time may be as simple as downloading an online calendar. Most calendar tools are free to use and are great for laying out your schedule and organizing your time. You can even share calendars and events with your team for better coordination.
For even more robust time management capabilities, though, consider a designated time management tool. Such solutions can help you make the most of every single day. In addition to time-tracking features that show where you’re spending your time, these tools can identify activities that are wasting it. Some include distraction blockers and will send you reminders to stay on task.
5. Cloud Data Storage
Even small businesses use a lot of data and information on a daily basis. By analyzing that data, you can make your business more efficient by speeding up workflows, identifying trends, and creating system shortcuts.
These days, storing data in the cloud is far more efficient than keeping it all on hard drives. With cloud storage, your data is backed up on remote servers that can be accessed from any device. This means you can retrieve data even when you’re outside of the office, sprinting from location to location. Cloud storage is also notably secure, so your business’s information will be kept safe.
6. A Messaging Platform
Teamwork makes the dream work. You can conduct your team communications via endless, asynchronous email chains. Or you can set up a real-time messaging platform using specialized software for flawless communication. This decision should be a no-brainer.
What sets a messaging platform apart from other forms of digital conversation is its additional features. Messaging software like Slack lets you create channels for particular departments or teams to confine discussions to relevant parties. Other company-wide channels can be used for all-hands announcements and updates. These tools enable the easy sharing of files and images and allow communication across every type of device.
7. Reliable Internet and Hardware
Enough about the software downloads. Let’s shift the attention to your hardware. You don’t need the newest computer setup or the fanciest smartphone in order to run a successful business. What you do need, on the other hand, is infrastructure that’s reliable and consistent. Your internet connection is a great example.
Modern businesses are always connected to the internet. All of the tech solutions mentioned above require a solid internet connection in order to work. Make sure you have a good internet service provider to avoid a multitude of business-related headaches. Read customer reviews and ask business contacts to recommend ISPs that can provide the bandwidth and speed you need at an affordable price.
To not only survive but thrive, your small business needs the right digital toolset. The seven solutions outlined here are the sine qua non of small business success.