Regardless of what type of business you are trying to establish, the first year to 18 months is typically the most challenging. The chances are you will be doing most of the tasks yourself or you will be running things with a skeleton staff. In this situation, it is particularly important to use the right technology.
Provided you choose wisely, you will save yourself a lot of time, which frees you up to better serve your customers and make more money. Keep reading to find out how to determine what you need and buy it at the best price.
Establish what you need for your day-to-day tasks
Certain tech is essential, regardless of what kind of business you are planning to run. The list includes
- Accounting and tax software – (this guide will help you to choose the right type)
- An internet service and wi-fi hardware
- A way to accept electronic payments
- A website and or social media pages and accounts or GMB
- A package to help you to create your marketing materials and help you to monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns
You can also go online and do a search to create a basic list. It is wise to ask someone who runs a business that is similar to yours what technology they use. Forums, local business clubs, and trade associations are good places to source this type of information.
Understand how much the basics will cost
Once you know what you need, establish how much each item will cost. Look at 3 or 4 suppliers to establish a price range. Later, you can use that figure to shop around, negotiate and use discounts or offers to get the best deals.
Quickly tot up how much buying the basics is going to cost you. This will enable you to establish what you have left over to spend on extra bits of kit or software. Nice to have things that will help you to run your business even more efficiently..
Almost regardless of what you sell or the service you provide there is going to be a lot of competition. As a result, effective marketing is particularly important, especially in the early days. Without it, new firms always struggle to gain traction.
Create an online presence for your company
Because most people start their search for services or products using the web, having a presence there is essential. All firms regardless of whether they trade out of a physical location or only sell online need to secure their Google My Business GMB listing as soon as possible. You can read more about why and how to do it by clicking here.
It is also worth setting up social media accounts. If you can do so, put together at least a basic website. Later, when there is more money available you can have a professional design something better for you.
Never neglect offline marketing
Building a strong brand is essential. The more eyes you get in front of the better. Offline marketing is a big part of that. Old-school marketing like flyers, posters, and mail shots are still surprisingly effective.
If you run a physical store, consider using Mandoe Media digital signage or something similar. Their system enables you to create your own ads and display them on screens in your window or the interior of your store. This is an incredibly powerful way to market what you have to offer. The ads can be tailored to fit in with the tastes of your customers and to create deals that encourage them to buy and come back.
POS and stock control
Your Point-of-Sale solution or payment system/software needs to enable your customers to pay in as many different ways as possible. So, it needs to have the following capabilities:
- The ability to accept all of the major bank or credit cards
- PayPal functionality
- If you run a physical store, make sure you can take payments using NFC technology, this way of paying is becoming increasingly important.
- Loyalty card capability is useful too, especially in the current economic climate
Your POS system needs to link properly with your stock control database. This will ensure that your best-selling items never run out.
If you cannot afford to buy all of this new, don´t worry, you can source a lot of it second-hand, lease what you need, or pay for it using a monthly subscription. In the long term using this technology will pay dividends and make it far easier for you to run a profitable business.