Starting a new business is enough to cause anyone to question why they did so. You may even panic over the choice you've made. After you get your emotions in check, you'll start stressing about how to grow your business. You'll go through all three of these stages as you still work to manage your business' operations. In the beginning, you'll probably do everything yourself – accounting, task lists, and making purchases too. Fortunately, there are some great technologies that will help you manage these things while also earning a regular income.
Information Management and Security
At the heart of your business lies a list of things you need to do so you can earn money. Technology has created project management tools for you to use here. You can use these to manage your scheduling, assign duties, collaborate with your other employees, and evaluate the best way of getting everything done.
Clearly, organization is going to play a major role here. One of the best tools for getting organized is SmartSheet. With this software, you can do more than simply track your tasks. You can also include data such as how much a project pays and who you're working on it with. The only real drawback to using this program is its outdated interface that looks very much like Excel spreadsheets. Its high-end functions (e.g. sorting, searching, hosting multiple projects each with its own tasks) make up for this though.
Although this tool sheds some light on your need for data management, your business' information needs will quickly exceed its capabilities. This isn't something you can take lightly since it's vital to your business' success. For this reason, you need to make sure you always have the most up-to-date information available.
Most businesses are using the cloud (e.g. Dropbox, Box) for this today. This is because you can collect data in a central place where it's easily accessible to everyone on your team. They can even work on it together in this secure place. Colocation America says this is the most cost-effective way of doing all these things. However, if you're not ready to make the move to the cloud you can look into something like Freshbooks for your accounting needs.
With a clean user interface, Freshbooks is geared towards people who don't have a lot of time to spend creating profit and loss statements. You can also use this accounting tool to email invoices, run reports, and manage expense items. All of this is done in an intuitive way that will save you a lot of time.
Once you start using all these tools you can't forget about keeping your business secure. This is vital when your business relies on technology. Everyone from yourself and your employees to your customers expect your information to be secure and private. They trust that you have systems in place to keep data from being breached.
Communications and Analytics
Once you have some technology in place to help you run your business, you don't want to overlook the importance of web conferencing. This will save you a lot of time and money since you won't need to take many business trips and yet you'll still be able to conduct business as though you had.
Today there are a lot of great video conferencing available for you to choose from – including UberConference and Go to Meeting. These are the best tools to use so you can have face-to-face meetings with your employees and clients without even renting out a meeting room. Everyone can easily get together online where they can efficiently and effectively communicate.
You don't have to hold out for important conferences to use this software. You can also have continual campfire discussions. This is important even if you're only working with one other person. Some software even saves a history of all conversations, which makes it a great tool for hosting discussions on any topic without having an 'inner circle problem' where very few people actually know what's going on.
Even though you're keeping everyone up-to-date on what's going on, you'll still want to use analytical software. This is the only way to prove that your business is successful. With the help of these tools, you can show exactly what and how your business is doing. You can track how many customers you have, how you're getting these customers, how much you're spending to acquire new customers, and what is working for you.
Inc. reminds us that these are all things we should be taking notes on. This is what's defined as 'business intelligence.' It's something we should be paying attention to from the startup stage. There are plenty of tools that can help you with this like Google Keep and Evernote. While Google Keep isn't very fancy, it's an app that's only a click away. Regardless of what you choose to use it's important to keep track of all the little pieces of information, you collect each day– things like reminders, accumulated knowledge, and contacts so you're not creating a functional chaos around yourself.
Putting Your new Technology to Work
Creating a list of technologies for your startup business is the easy part. Using the technology you accumulate is the real challenge. However, you must meet this challenge if you want your startup business to be successful. To implement technology in this way you'll need a plan that includes how much you're willing to pay for the use of technology, what you expect this technology to do for your business, and how everyone will learn to use this new technology. It's especially important to realize that there's a learning curve associated with web conferencing, data management, and security tools. This is why it's so important to emphasize the educational part of implementing new technology. Even though this will take some time, you should understand that these technologies are more capable of benefiting your business than you're probably able to imagine at the moment. For this reason, they aren't something you ever want to overlook.