If you have the passion, the aptitude, and the willingness to take chances, now is a great time to pursue becoming an entrepreneur. You can use your innate talents, like creating your own products or bringing people together, to cater to growing niches. Whether you’re selling clothing, accessories, edible items, or unique services, there’s a world of opportunity waiting for you. The range of new technologies available - for free or at very reasonable prices - also make starting, maintaining, and expanding a small business easier than before.
Tech tools are especially important in helping you realize your goals, as entrepreneurship in this era requires more than pen-and-paper methodologies to achieve competitiveness. Small business owners need to upgrade their toolsets to stay ahead of the game. The right array of tools can keep internal operations streamlined and organized, sustain the company’s cash flow, and tap into new markets. So even if a business starts small, it can become capable of a big impact, thanks to its use of technology.
Consider incorporating the following tech tools into your workflow once you commit to the entrepreneurial lifestyle. These can help you get your small business’s name out there and become more competitive in your chosen field!
Regardless of whether your business will operate from a brick-and-mortar store or exclusively from an e-commerce platform, you need to invest in your web presence. This goes for your own company website as well as for social media. A strong web presence will cultivate awareness and trust in your brand. It will also enable you to deliver a wide range of purchasing and engagement experiences to your customers.
Wix is a website builder that you can use to create an appealing and reliable website for your business, even on a tight budget. The pros of using Wix include full customizability, multiple payment methods, and access to Wix’s traffic generation and SEO tools. Even without coding skills, you can start building a website for your business that will make a great impression on your target market. Consider using a website building service like Wix as one of your top priorities for getting your business off the ground.
Social media management is another aspect of your business that you want to take seriously. But it doesn’t have to be a matter of manually updating your business’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. You can prepare social media content in advance, and coordinate posting across different platforms on particular dates, with a tool like Hootsuite. This ability will prove especially helpful for boosting seasonal sales or promos.
If you’re planning to sell online and you want to have your own website, there’s no better way to start than to launch it through Shopify. It is an ecommerce platform that allows anyone to easily set up an online store and to begin selling their products. Whether you intend to sell physical goods, digital products, services, memberships, ticketed experiences, rentals, or lessons and courses, you can sell them all on a website powered by Shopify. The platform makes things convenient and efficient by providing users with a variety of tools that optimize the commerce process. From payments and fulfillment to marketing and customer engagement tools, Shopify has them all.
No matter the nature of your small business, you will always want an airtight system for accepting and managing customer payments. Keep in mind that payment is often a make-or-break deal for customers. They will come back to businesses that offer them the safest, most convenient, and most reliable payment experiences. Give priority to this aspect of doing business and offer your customers the smoothest payment options.
The PayMaya One Lite Device is a pocket-sized point-of-sale payment gateway that’s perfect for small business owners. It can be carried around and used for face-to-face transactions at a startup business’s headquarters, stores, kiosks, or during meetups and deliveries. PayMaya’s new One Lite device accepts all types of cashless, paperless payment, including from QR codes and cards. Small business owners can also readily manage their payments from customers from wherever they are using the PayMaya Manager. If you do business from a brick-and-mortar establishment, it’s worth purchasing this all-in-one device to consolidate all your cashless payments in one place.
Yet another handy tool for facilitating organized and timely payment is PayMaya Digital Invoice. With this feature, you can accept e-wallet or card payments through email, SMS, or chat even before you launch your business website. This tool is a must-have for freelancers or small business owners who need an organized system for charging customers. PayMaya can generate digital invoices based on set templates, so all the entrepreneur needs to do is plug the customers’ details.
Next on the list of must-have tech tools are tools for accounting and payroll. Without requiring the business owners to shell out a great deal, these tools can set the standard for financial housekeeping within the company. You will want to try these so that you can stay on top of your finances and account for every peso going into your company.
QuickBooks is an accounting solution with versions that can be used both on business premises or on the cloud. It can be used for any small business’s monthly accounting, bookkeeping, and financial reporting activities. It can also cover essential tasks like compiling reports for taxes. For its fairly easy to - use interface and range of integrated tools, QuickBooks is one of the top accounting solutions for Filipino entrepreneurs.
Wave is a software suite that can take care of payment processing and accounting, but several use it for the specific purpose of payroll management. A tool like Wave can help a business owner manage payroll and ensure that all employees are paid their exact salary on time.
One aspect of doing business that you shouldn’t neglect is securing your online assets. For sure, the idea of getting hacked, phished, or infected with a virus isn’t very pleasant. But all business owners need to be vigilant of the worst-case scenarios that can transpire online. Protect your business data on your website, cloud storage platforms, and emails with tools like the ones below.
Avast remains one of the world’s most trusted names in antivirus protection. Its endpoint protection services have the ability to guard against viruses, as well as bots, worms, and trojans. Thus, Avast is worth checking out for a security application to shield your business’s computers from malware. This will limit malicious agents from accessing your business data and causing you a costly and damaging business interruption.
For your company emails, consider using Microsoft Office 365’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service. ATP’s cloud-based email filtering mechanism can spot harmful links that make you vulnerable to viruses or malware. You will definitely benefit from that extra protection against phishing or data breach involving business emails with sensitive data in them.
Day-to-day communication - whether between clients or among staff - is yet another aspect of doing business that you should account for. Along with proper tools for communication, you should also establish formal communication protocols for your business. This will set the expectations for the company’s staff to remain updated, accountable, and responsive to everyone that they serve.
Video conferencing platform Zoom has skyrocketed in popularity over the past couple of years. Its intuitive interface and accessibility options for multiple devices are what make it an ideal applicatio for business meetings. Beyond meetings, however, Zoom can also host webinars and online marketing events, and it can also accommodate large numbers of participants. For full flexibility over the length of video calls and number of participants that can join, consider investing in paid Zoom accounts for your company.
Another industry leader in the field of online communications is Skype. Aside from its highly reliable audio and video call functions, Skype has great instant messaging features. Find ways to actively incorporate this free and all-around communications app into your company’s daily workflow.
How do you keep your customers in the loop about your upcoming business activities, your latest products, and major events like sales? The answer is to employ technology specifically developed for marketing purposes. Even a simple weekly newsletter or survey can help you spread the word about your company and receive important feedback from your customers. Try the two options below for your marketing activities.
Email marketing techniques, like newsletters and email blasts, remain highly effective among today’s customers. They’re cost-effective, capable of producing targeted and personalized content, and great at keeping people aware of the brand. One of the best-loved email marketing tools out there is Mailchimp, which you can use to send press releases, bulletins, and promo blasts. Mailchimp boasts excellent automation and integration features, so you can assemble a variety of email content and schedule it for regular sending.
Alchemer, formerly known as SurveyGizmo, is a survey platform that small businesses can use to gather feedback from their customers. Not only can Alchemer host the customer data that may eventually prove crucial to your improvement. It has additional case management tools that can help you determine the best course of action, for old and new customers alike.
Last but definitely not the least are the tools needed for your company’s non-income-generating daily tasks. Though these tools won’t help you earn revenue per se, they can help you establish sound management practices within your physical or virtual office. They will afford you greater control over your productivity, human resources, and document filing—all of which are key in building your small business’s value.
Trello is a platform that follows the Japanese Kanban philosophy of workflow management. Just like other Kanban methods, Trello promotes transparency about tasks being completed and constant communication among business staff. Its online interface, which is distinct in its use of boards, cards, and lists, are easy to learn and a joy to use. You and your staff members can log in to your company’s Trello account every day to visualize what everyone’s currently doing for the team.
If you have dreams of expanding your small business and scaling it up, one day you’ll need to recruit more people to work for you. Zoho Recruit is an excellent cloud-based human resources management tool that you can use for recruitment processes in particular. It allows you to track applicants, store their resumes, and schedule interviews. Thanks to Zoho Recruit, you’ll have all the bases covered when it comes to finding fresh talent for your small business’s future.
It’s always good for a small business HQ to have its own dedicated printer, photocopier, and scanner. But a lot of document keeping can be done with your tablet and smartphone. You can follow paperless policy for keeping documents like receipts, tax forms, and others with a mobile scanning app like CamScanner. CamScanner can automatically scan papers, either as singles or by batch, and compile them in PDF form. You can save these and either email them to staff or upload onto your company cloud storage platform for easy access and dissemination.
Tools alone aren’t the answer for succeeding at business endeavors. Even the fanciest tech tools won’t be enough to grow your business if they aren’t properly used for your application. However, your choice of tools remains paramount - you will want to get the ones that will help you address your business’s needs at present and in the future.
Here are some guide questions that will hopefully make the choice of tech tools much easier for you.
When choosing which technologies to spend on, always consult the person in charge of your business’s finances. Acquire tools that are within your means, and don’t splurge on new technology just for the sake of it.
You can also base your decision on which business process of yours will benefit the most from an upgrade. For example, you may already be doing quite well in your sales, but perhaps your customers have registered their concerns on your payment system. This is a sign that you should prioritize upgrading your payment infrastructure over anything else.
Lastly, think about tools that will boost your company’s ability to do what it does best. Is it to promote Filipino-made products? Is it to improve the standard for a particular kind of service? Or is it to educate or provide networking opportunities for people within a particular niche? Oftentimes, you’ll find that the best tools for you are the ones that perfectly align with your unique business mission and vision.
Try these tools, and be on the lookout for others that could serve your business. Here’s to wishing that your creativity, resourcefulness, passion, and entrepreneurial acumen will inspire the change that you would like to see!