In FirstLantic’s blog last week, we proposed that starting a new career or business during COVID-19 is not as crazy as it sounds. So, now that you’re considering your options, we wanted to share some of the essential tools that you will need to launch a new venture, especially while working from home.
First of all, not all businesses need the same tools so some of these may be applicable and some may not. You also need to be realistic about how much you can do at the beginning so don’t invest time or money in any tech tools until you have mapped out why you need them and how you will use them. And, finally, there are lots of different options available so we will provide other resources where you can go to find more information.
1. Website URL, Domain, and Email
All businesses should have a website but first, you need a name and a URL. GSuite is one option offered by Google that helps you purchase a domain, set up email, track analytics and more. There are also numerous other platforms that you can use to find and register your domain. For a more complete list, go here.
2. Building a Website
When you are ready to build your site, there are platforms such as Wix.com, Squarespace and WordPress that you can use. However, depending on your level of expertise, you might want to hire a professional to do it for you. The average visitor will spend about 50 milliseconds to determine whether they will stay or leave your site so your best bet may be to hire an expert.
3. Phone Systems
One option for small businesses is Telzio which is a cloud-based system that powers your business calls and messages across all your devices from any location. However, there are numerous other options as well.
4. Customer Communication
Chat makes it easy for your customers to immediately connect with you, however, depending on the type of business, you may not need that yet and might be able to get by with something as simple as a dedicated email address for questions. However, if you decide that chat is essential, Intercom.com makes it easy to communicate with your customers and has a suite of solutions ranging from lead generation, customer engagement and customer support. More chat tool recommendations.
If you simply need a tool for invoicing and paying bills, you can easily get by with something like PayPal. However, if you need full accounting functionality to keeps track of expenses and P&L etc. you might want to look at something like QuickBooks or one of the other solutions outlined here.
6. Conference Calls
With many people working from home right now, reliable conference systems are more important than ever. If you simply need to collaborate internally, you may be able to take advantage of free tools, However, if you need something more reliable for customer calls and presentations, there are tools like join.me, Zoom and Webex in addition to Google Meet. For a list of other recommendations, click here.
In conclusion, small businesses have no shortage of tools to choose from. The harder part might be figuring out how to use them. If that’s a problem for you, you might want to consider a service like GetSetUp.io. They have qualified teaching professionals that will help you learn how to use QuickBooks, Squarespace, LinkedIn, and numerous other small business tools. For a complete overview, you can visit Ageist.com which is an online magazine for those over 50 and is offering a discount specifically for GetSetUp.io. However, whether you choose to use a service or figure it how yourself, the key thing to remember is that you don’t need to take on everything at once. Start with the basics and go from there. For example, while social media can be extremely important, determine the one channel where you are most likely to reach your prospects such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or Instagram rather than trying to do them all at once. The important thing is to do your homework but also trust your gut and make decisions that are best suited for your specific business.