Building your small business: Which tools and services do you need to make your dream a reality?
Although it may be something that you have looked forward to, starting and building your small business is very complex, and at times a struggle. Even if you weren’t aware of it at the start, you’ll quickly find that you need a range of tools, services, and software to help you keep things moving along.
You need to be careful about what you prioritize, as it is likely you are on a tight budget and you’ll want to keep overheads down – so there are some things you need to examine first:
#1 A local or virtual accountant
You are going to need someone to help you with your finances, preferably someone who specializes in start-ups and small businesses just like yours. This can help you get off on the right foot, and keep you on top of your finances, especially if bookkeeping isn’t exactly your strong suit.
It is a crucial task for any start-up, as you already have more than enough balls to juggle, so finding exactly the right person is key. You might be tempted to stay local, but looking at virtual accountants like Mike Savage New Canaan means you can find the best person for the job, rather than somebody local.
#2 Business Intelligence
If you are thinking about making your business bigger, you’ll first need an accurate picture of where you are now. That way, you can ensure you are spending money on what you need and heading in the right direction. A tool that can help you with this is Power BI, or Business intelligence, which will help turn your business performance into numbers, and break down everything into bitesize chunks. This way you can see in graphs and charts what is working well, and therefore you need to do more of – and what is not going so well and needs to change.
#3 Project management software
Planning is essential in a business that wants to get bigger, especially a start-up. This is why you should find the best project management applications to help you keep on top of your workload and keep your employees in the loop. It can also help managers do their jobs, which makes them far more versatile and valuable to the company. There are lots of options available here, so make sure you use trial versions to find one that is a good fit.
#4 End-user training
Regardless of what type of business you happen to have, you need to be well protected right from the start – and this means investing in end-user training. You need to make sure that your business has a strong outer shell so in the event of a potential attack, your employees know what to do. You don’t want to leave yourself vulnerable to attack, especially not early on, when you can lose everything so easily. This can make or break your business, so this is one corner you should not be cutting.
#5 Damage control
Dovetailing nicely with the point above, if the worst should happen and someone does get into your system, you are going to need to investigate damage control. By looking at attack path analysis, you can work to limit the number of areas a perpetrator can access once they get in. This can act as a failsafe in case of a small mistake made by an employee, or a cybercriminal manages to get in without your company’s knowledge. It can also help protect against anybody with malicious intent who works for you.
#6 Engage with customers
You should be thinking of ways to bring in customers to have a look at what you offer and keep them coming back after their first purchase with your company. This can be done through multiple modes of customer engagement, such as,
- Free custom swag that they get with their purchase (more on this later),
- Loyalty points and discounts to encourage them to buy more,
- Social media influencer marketing to market products directly to your target audience through a trusted source of information.
#7 Online presence
Every business needs to be visible online, so you should prioritize investing in building your online presence. You can do this in several ways, for example:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization),
- Investing in a website agency to help you with the initial design and maintenance,
- Investing in your social media output to help you interact with your customers and make announcements,
- Using various techniques to reach as much of your target audience as you can.
If you are going to progress, you are also going to need to make sure that your employees are working as efficiently and as effectively as possible. This is possible to achieve if you look after your employees well, and you give them appropriate training to do their job. This can help them improve speed and quality, increase their confidence, and help them progress within the company, meaning that there is more room for new employees to come in as they move up.
#9 Support for employees
As your headcount increases, you should create a strong support network for your employees. This not only means having a strong community within your workplace but also investing in a good quality HR, whether that be in-house or outsourced to experts. If you do this, you may find that your workers have a better chance of remaining relaxed despite a bigger workload and will be able to separate home problems from their working hours, increasing their focus and enthusiasm for what they do for you.
#10 The Green agenda
As a start-up or a growing business, you might feel that you need to embrace newer and more innovative ways of doing things. Currently, that means you might want to go about things in a greener and more environmentally friendly way. By moving in this direction, you will be helping the planet, potentially saving money in the long run, and also giving your customers another reason to choose you over your competition.
#11 Use the Cloud
Your business is going to need space to thrive, and you might feel that it is more effective to take a technological route from day one. Using the Cloud is a great way to give your business space to grow, and work efficiently and effectively. Not only that, but it also helps you to offer a range of different working patterns such as remote or hybrid, which allows you to recruit from further afield when it comes to looking for better or more talented employees.
To wrap everything up
There are plenty of tools and services that a start-up or growing business should be looking into, but the trick is to pick the right ones and implement them in the right order. This will vary according to what type of business you happen to have, but you should be investing in technology such as the Cloud, and various ways to protect it such as end-user training and attack path analysis. This opens the doors to greener ways of working and offering a range of working patterns to those who work for you. It also helps you plan by using project management software more effectively.
Equally important is looking after your employees, by giving them the right support to help them focus on their work, training them so they can be better and more effective, and using rewards to boost enthusiasm and give them something a little extra to work towards.
Lastly, you should be making sure that you are taking care of your business finances. By looking into services supplied by specialist accountants, you can help your business handle money and begin to work towards longer-term goals.