When embarking on entrepreneurship, IT is often an important asset, allowing you to save time and be more efficient in managing business.
Here are some essential tips and tools for entrepreneurs starting their new business.
Choice of your Hardware
A laptop is essential to work from anywhere and respond to customer requests in real time.
If you hesitate with the comfort of a desk and its computer with large screens, be aware that it is also possible to use a docking station where you can connect your laptop and benefit instantly of your usual desk installation: keyboard, mouse, screens, etc. Prices can vary from 50 euros for relatively efficient hardware to several hundred for more complex features.
Despite digitalization, printers are still useful. In order to compensate the disastrous ecological balance of ink cartridges, it’s now very interesting to prefer an ink tank printer. Its purchase cost is often more expensive but in use it will quickly become unbeatable.
For mobile users needing to print documents from anywhere, there are also travel models that plug into an USB port. Very interesting when you need to print a commercial offer that has just been modified in presence of your customers and must be signed as soon as possible!
Communicating with customers, partners and suppliers go through all available channels: phone of course, but also emails, instant messenger, social networks, videoconferencing software, etc. Fortunately, all of that is already in your smartphone.
It’s therefore mandatory to make uncompromising choices according to your activity (excellent photo sensor to publish illustrated offers, long battery life to work all day outside, scan of documents to forward asap…).
However, the challenge is then to handle a second smartphone to separate private and professional life. But, in addition to this additional bulk, this brings also other problems: which phone will benefit from the hands-free kit in your vehicle, which one to charge first, etc. So what is the best solution? Keep one single phone to do it all!
Virtual Number Service
We recommend this type of service to get a professional phone number available on your current smartphone. For example, with the OnOff service, you could get a second number for few euros per month. You can also choose between different numbers available (try your year of birth for example) in different countries, but it also benefits from portability. Meaning that you can keep it as long as you want and even transfer it to any other operator.
In the meantime, thanks to a smartphone application, you will now have 2 numbers on the same device. So, no more problems connecting your bluetooth kit or your hands-free kit!
But what happens to my whatsapp?
Indeed, with a second number on the same phone, it’s impossible to easily switch from one whatsapp to another. So what to do?
Don’t panic, just install Whatsapp Business to have a second application dedicated to your professional number. It will even provide to your future customers a lot of information about your activity, schedules and products.
Choice of your Softwares
Still many entrepreneurs are reluctant to budget a website when they start their business. However, it’s indeed an essential investment to make yourself known and present your products or services. It also allows you to further communicate on company news, interact with customers and sell online.
If you are scared to take an oversized solution, opt for a scalable approach: start with a showcase site of a single page that you will later develop as your business grows. By then, you may need to open an e-shop, digitally optimize your customer relationship or even provide business services for your employees working remotely.
The false good idea: create your website on your own
There’s so much to do when you get started! Your time is precious and it’s better to focus immediately on your core business. For the rest, you better leave it to professionals. Few or even none entrepreneurs will take care themselves of maintaining their professional vehicle (unless they are mechanic!)… because during this time, the most important is to progress with suppliers and prospects. It’s the same idea with your future website! Moreover, it will bring new customers without any effort… but at one condition: to be attractive, efficient and well referenced on search engines.
The best advice before starting your business: it’s to plan all the communication part in your business plan (by integrating costs such as logo, visual identity, banners on social networks and of course website). Being fully coherent with the image of your company, even when lauching it, will be a sign of quality and seriousness.
Business Management Software
Business management software helps managing invoices, quotes, orders, inventory, accounting, and more. There are both free and paid solutions. Make the right choice according to the real needs of your company. That said, some accounting firms already include this type of software in their services. Otherwise, you can also consider free sites (up to a certain number of clients) such as MonAE or Zervant.
Data Backup Tool
It’s essential to back up company data regularly to avoid any loss.
Backup solutions can be physical or online, and must be automated to ensure your data security.
80% of companies that encountered a major loss of their data went bankrupt within 12 months. While 29% of these data losses are accidental, only one out of two SMEs backs up their data, but 77% of them do not check its validity and 60% do not have a copy outside of their production site.
Full Security Solution
IT security is mandatory to avoid viruses, malwares and computer attacks. It’s important to install an anti-virus/firewall package to protect all of your IT equipments.
In parallel, IT security trainings for all employees is essential. We too often underestimate the human factor which is mainly the real target of Social Engineering. Social Engineering is nothing but manipulating someone to reveal confidential information by trickery.
83% of VSEs/SMEs are not able to recover from financial damages of a cyberattack (-27% of turnover on average), especially in the current context! However, in more than 9 out of 10 cases, hackers manage to break in through a simple e-mail.
Nicolas Thore, founder of Guiddy
Project Management Software
This kind of tools allows you to manage tasks, deadlines, resources and budgets. It also allows you to follow the progress of projects and communicate with all team members. Most softwares are now available online and may be free for a limited number of users.
Where to start ?
IT tools are essential for entrepreneurs… even before starting their activity. The important thing is to choose according to the real needs of your future business and to prioritize quality tools that will guarantee the efficiency and safety of your work.
Lost with IT stuff? We are here to help you from your first ideas to the complete realization of your tailor-made solution.
Please note that all solutions presented above are listed objectively. It’s a guarantee of our independence: we receive nothing from these companies. And that’s normal since we are only dedicated to find the best solutions for our customers.