Technology is not the solution to all small business problems. You have to deal with employee theft, salary, process, credit, insurance, customer relations, cash flow, and more. But in all these areas, proper implementation of technology can save you time and money and enable you to work more efficiently. Remember, it’s all about working smarter, not harder; Information technology has to fulfill that specific task. Here are some low-cost tools for your business:
It is a low cost and efficient means to give you 24/7 customer support, sales, and communication not only in your geographical area but worldwide. Your web site can also be a tool of internal communication for your employees. The massive hype of making tons of cash “on the Internet” is overstated, but your web site can be outstanding communication and marketing tool – which leads to secondary profits – and even a straightforward money-making tool if just right Developed from A good website explains your product or service and introduces potential customers to your business. When designing your website remember to pay attention to the customer, not yourself. Pay attention to the benefits and benefits that you provide.
Cheaper than nuts and faxing faster FedEx or post office. Email is a major mode of communication. For example, a client company of mine had telephone bills that reached thousands of dollars per month; Their phone bill was $ 68.00 to $ 100.00 after implementing a simple email system. They communicate more often, but email has cut expensive faxing costs. The threat of email comes from junk mail, viruses, and poor email etiquette.
Junk mail can be disposed of using simple filters. For example, Microsoft Outlook comes with built-in junk mail filters that work fairly fine. Take advantage of the system you have before spending and spending money. Email etiquette depends on your corporate culture. Some companies have no problem with every single CC’ing in the business with employees and others control it. Just find out what works for you and then tell the people in your business what you like. Email opens doors of great benefit but an equally dangerous threat. This is why you should be the next item on this list.
Viruses will attack your computer system. The only question is will you come back. Protect your data! In the 21st century, data (information) is more important than money! An anti-virus program will alert you to possible virus infection and will be able to get rid of the virus before significant damage occurs. Most modern anti-virus software programs will also protect you from other types of malware, including spyware, bots, and other such Internet threats. Any anti-virus software from a reputable company will suit. Be sure to turn on the automatic updates as millions of new viruses are created every day. Also, be sure to schedule a full virus scan every week; I schedule them for non-work hours.
Local Area Network (If you have more than 1 Computers)
Improve creativeness and information within your company by networking all the computers in your office. With a network, you only need one printer for multiple users or an Internet connection. Collaboration and communication within your office are important, and if you always have to get up and share a disk or memory stick with others, you are bringing a portion of your day from desk to desk. Even a small IT network of three or four computers requires for maintenance. To determine whether your support provider is a good choice, you should assess their familiarity with different types of computer networks:
In this type of network, no machine is more important than any other machine. Each person decides which files will be shared with the network by setting permissions on a folder-by-folder basis, and each user can restrict others in the workgroup from accessing parts of their hard drive. While a peer-to-peer network may work, especially in a small business, the main drawback is the number of passwords and privileges that reside on each machine. Besides, processing information may be slowed by allowing users to obtain information about another user’s hard drive. This type of IT network is only suggested for small, low-traffic companies.
A server-based network consists of one or more computers that have a central management role in the network. Servers can control file storage, e-mail, printer access, Internet access, security management, and backup. There are software packages available that allow you to set up server-based networks, such as Windows Server, Linux, or Unix. Ideally, a server should be a dedicated machine not used by any employee for any other purpose. For example, a server typically maintains a security database that relates to the network and what privileges each user has. Users can access data from any network machine based on their password. The server can also allow you to centralize your data, simplify access, and backup. Another server option is an “application server”, which runs all company software. This option can save money on software licenses by limiting the number of people who can use anyone’s program at any time.
One question to consider when using a server-based network is how fast you can access any backup of the server when the system crashes and you need to restore the data.
If your network system catches fire, hard disk crashes, hacked, or computer is stolen – where will your data be? Cross-Border? 10 feet in the water? Return it, store it off-site and sleep soundly. A client has recently lost more than 10,000 files (emails, contracts, original artwork, etc.), none of which were backed up. We were hired IT supports companies to try to recover the lost information. Do you know what a headache it was to manually recover some of those lost files? Some businesses never recover all their data and later, go out of business.
Office productivity software
The various common software applications in all industries are a word processor, spreadsheet, desktop publishing, and presentation software. These core business programs will enable you to create, edit, and manage information, publish your brochures, create your newsletter, and make exciting presentations. There are many productivity suites in the market including many excellent online versions, such as Google Apps, which are free.
Other products/services should include:
Desktop faxing: If you must fax, at least stay at your desk, rather than running on a fax machine. And do not print paper from your PC to fax. Correct fax from your PC, it saves time and some trees. Desktop faxing software installs a working fax machine on your computer as a printer so you never have to leave your desk.
Accounting Software: Save time, reduce mistakes, and instantly see what your money is doing. Some of the accountants will give you a reduction if you provide your economic information in a computerized format. In selecting accounting software, be sure to work closely with your accountant, your computer advisor, and even your business bankers.
Contact Management: You used to rely on just one Rolodex, but now you can track thousands of customers, potential customers, partners, and associates with software. Besides, you can keep a record of every communication with customers to minimize mistakes.
If you do not have a good computer system, none of this software does well. If your computer is old and not working efficiently, upgrade it, or simply buy a new one. An older computer that runs slower than your employee is more expensive than upgrading or buying a new machine. Employees will always complain that they need a fast computer. Here is a simple test to determine if they need a new machine: Who waits for whom? Does the employee wait for the computers, or computers to wait for the employee? If the employee waits for the computer then (and only then) is the upgrade time.
If you need technical support or advice, where are you going? This is a million-dollar question for many small businesses. In some cases, you may know someone “knows the computer.” While this may help in a pinch, your best bet is to trust computer industry professionals. They may be more expensive than the child next door but a reputable technology professional can save you from a lot of grief and suffering in the future. Remember, your computer technology will have access to your valuable business data, so make sure it is a professional you can trust.
Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of what technology investment your business will need. Remember, you do not have to buy all of them immediately, but eventually, you will have to invest some of your hard-earned money into a computer system, which will improve your life and your business. For further information, please contact small business technology consulting services.