In the excitement and drama of starting your own business, there were certainly dozens of things you forgot to do before you opened your doors. Sure, you have all the legalities ironed out, and you would never skip diligent market research, but some of the seemingly smaller, less important tasks might have fallen to the wayside. If you can’t seem to remember those tech tasks you let slide, here are a few must-dos to get your small business really up and running:
A business website is far from a meaningless accessory; it is an essential marketing tool that helps you generate leads and convert sales — even if you don’t sell anything over the web. In 2017, the eCommerce Foundation determined that 88 percent of consumers perform online research before making a purchase. Your website can inform consumers about your products and services, your company values and more, helping them decide to buy from you. Your website is a vital online marketing tool, and the sooner you develop it as such, the sooner you will see how important it is for driving sales.
Your business is small, so surely no hacker in their right mind would target you for data theft or fraud, right? Wrong: The smaller the business, the less secure it is likely to be; thus, hackers gladly attack brand-new startups and small businesses, knowing they are likely to get in and out smoothly. If you are asking questions like “What is network security?” and “How do you install updates on apps?” then you should consider enrolling in a cybersecurity for business course as soon as possible – or at least hiring someone with more experience to make your startup secure.
Cloud computing was a veritable craze a few years ago, but today talk about the cloud has all but disappeared. However, that’s not because businesses are no longer using the cloud; rather, most businesses rely so heavily on the cloud that the tech is no longer novel or intriguing enough to make the news. The smaller your business is, the more it can benefit from cloud computing – by hosting various automated apps, securely storing greater amounts of data and more. You should look into different types of clouds in your budget and build your business’s unique cloud soon.
Your Customer Service Tools
The primary way your customers interact with your business is through customer service, so you should strive to equip your customer service team with the best tools available. Most likely, this means giving them the apps they need to stay organized and respond quickly to customer concerns. Some of the best customer service management software includes:
- SmarterTrack. This helpdesk tool manages and reports on all CS communications and provides a ticket system, live chat, self-service portals and more.
- Respond. This Buffer add-on helps CS teams manage incoming queries from social media.
- Get Satisfaction. This app goes beyond typical CS to boost customer engagement.
Your Collaboration Tools
To ensure your launch is successful, you need to ensure that your employees can communicate effectively and efficiently. Digital collaboration tools allow teammates to connect and cooperate, even when they are continents away. This is especially critical for the modern small business, which usually acquires talent from around the world and allows workers to clock in remotely. You can build your own collaboration platform, or you can use a highly rated tool like Slack or Trello.
Your Data Tools
Your data should be well-protected thanks to your security efforts (see above), but just because your data is safe doesn’t mean it is optimized for use. Businesses run on Big Data; it is impossible to be competitive in your market without it. Thus, you should have specialized tools for collecting, organizing, analyzing and applying your data. If you are new to the wide world of data, you should either hire a data professional – they come in all shapes for all budgets – or take a crash course in data yourself.
Your Marketing Tools
Your website shouldn’t be your only marketing effort. Good marketing doesn’t immediately bring hordes of customers to your door, but it will improve your business’s visibility and your brand’s reputation over time. Your marketing efforts should help you build your audience in multiple spaces, which means you should have a variety of marketing tools to help you execute and manage your strategy. At the very least, you should have a social media tool, an email tool and an SEO tool.