Small business owners have a lot on their proverbial plates. To succeed, business owners need to leverage their vision and expertise, available technology and the best team possible to differentiate themselves in the market. You just have to know where to invest the time and energy for maximum results.
Businesses of all sizes need to utilize technology in today’s market to keep up with demands and stay competitive. As a small business owner, doing more with less is a necessity and since employees may not be in the picture yet using technology to augment staff is critical. Additionally, you will need to present yourself in a professional manner to prospective customers and keep you data accessible and secure. Here are some necessitates and products you should consider:
1. Cloud storage
The great thing about working for yourself is that you aren’t required to sit at a desk, at least not contractually. Small business owners often have a lot of mobility but must have access to their data and files from anywhere. Cloud storage is a must for small business owners because it allows access to files anywhere there is an internet connection. You can pay for large cloud subscriptions or start with a free one from Dropbox or Box.
You must have a mobile-friendly website if you want to attract the most customers. You don’t have to spend much to have a site that is easy for customers to find and use. Make sure you spend a little extra to claim your domain and add on an email address with the same domain. It looks more professional than send from a generic “gmail” or “yahoo” account. If you are really wqnting to maximize your search engine reach, consider adding a blog component and adding new content once a week. Not sure where to start building your small business site? Check out WordPress and Wix.
3. Organizational Apps
Small business owners wear the hats of scheduler, accountant, secretary, and customer service manager all in one day. There is no way to keep everything together without the help of some organizational tools – and many are mobile. You don’t have to wait to upload receipts or add a client to your schedule if you have the right apps on the go. For general organizational apps, try EasilyDo and Evernote. If you want something tailored more specifically to small business finance, try Mint or Mvelopes.
Vision for Your Company
Even if you are the sole employee of your small business, finding daily inspiration to keep going is vital. It’s also important to know what is going on in your industry and the economy as a whole because it impacts your bottom line.
Small business owners MUST have vision and drive if they want to succeed on both the good and bad days. Neil Blumenfield is a software technology businessman and also a world-renowned poker player. In his piece “Using Business Skills to Win at Poker” he identifies the great need for small business owners to always think ahead – and keep their company goals in mind.
“Success in startups requires vision…Once a long term vision is defined, the successful entrepreneur steps back and creates the game plan for executing the strategy,” he says.
Continue growing as a business leader through thought leaders who have done it before. Great resources for continued inspiration and education include publications like Fast Company and Entrepreneur. If you have any business leaders you admire, see if they have their own subscription or RSS feed for when they post new content.
Investing in Your Team
As the founder of your company you are more invested than your employees and need to have a clear vision of where you are headed. Even then you need to realize you can’t do it all and the people you surround yourself with can make or break your business. As small businesses start to grow there’s always the temptation in getting low cost employees to “just do the work.” Studies show that may not be the best strategy and actually paying employees more leads to better productivity and margins. Investing in the best resources at key positions within your company will allow you as the business owner to delegate more and focus on what you’re best at – growing your business.