In a rapidly changing marketplace it’s more important than ever for your start-up to invest in the right infrastructure, allowing you to grow your business effectively. Here are a few of our favourite tools for encouraging and maintaining success.
Building your online presence
Your company website needs to be slick and professional, but with a limited budget hiring a designer can be a costly expenditure that just isn’t within your reach. Luckily, almost anyone can create an impressive looking website using an online website builder. With so many tools to choose from there are bound to be pros and cons to each, yet common features include fully customisable design options and 24/7 customer support.
Managing the numbers
Consistently measuring data and metrics relevant to your business can help you to discover where you should be focusing your attention. By plugging in to free analytics software such as Google Analytics, you have the potential to find out more about who your audience is, how they found your site and exactly how much traffic is being generated.
Mastering the art of email marketing
It’s imperative to spread the word about any start-up business, making email marketing one of the most effective methods of nurturing sales. Tools such as MailChimp offer easy-to-use templates that help users to create exciting newsletters and campaigns, while keeping your current database of contacts up-to-date.
Energy costs account for a huge proportion of small business overheads, so being energy efficient really can prevent unnecessary costs to your company’s budget. Switching lights off in unused spaces, turning the heating down slightly, and unplugging devices once fully charged will all dramatically reduce annual energy bills. Many small businesses with fewer than 10 employees can even have a smart meter fitted at no extra cost from their energy supplier, helping them to keep track of usage and spend.
Making free international calls
Extortionate phone fees became a thing of the past with the arrival of video messaging service Skype, and every start-up needs to be taking advantage of free international calls when dealing with overseas clients. Alongside offering high quality video conference capabilities, this helpful tool can also help save on time and money spent travelling to and from meetings.
Sourcing the best talent
Perhaps the most important step towards success is surrounding yourself with a tight team of like-minded individuals that can help grow and nurture your business. LinkedIn provides an online directory of resumes, acting as a platform from which to source the industry’s best talent.
Managing social media accounts
You can’t dispute the importance of building a solid brand identity through social media, especially if you’re a new and upcoming business. Spending time updating each and every account can take a big chunk out of your week, so try a social media management tool such as Hootsuite in a bid to utilise those extra minutes elsewhere. Integrate your accounts, track performance and schedule regular updates all in one place.
As your business grows, it’s essential to a run an organised and efficient ship. Many online project management tools let everyone work on one platform – thus improving in-house communication and helping to provide exceptional customer service. Trello is perfect for start-ups as it’s completely free to use.
Sharing files securely
Storing files, images and secure information online rather than on your hard drive makes sense for so many reasons, such as being able to access key information from any device. With mobile file access and deleted file recovery, tools such as Dropbox also come with the added security of being able to control exactly who has the ability to view and edit documents.
Getting ready for the tax man
Keeping track of finances is vital no matter how large your business is. You’ll find a wealth of user friendly accounting programs online, enabling you to see exactly how you’re performing and manage your incoming and outgoing expenses before the end of the tax year.
While many start-up owners are keen to keep outgoing expenses to a minimum, investing in the right tools early on is one way to improve business infrastructure from the start and prevent running into costly problems in the long run.