Small businesses have to juggle a variety of needs, from creating brand awareness to breaking even. You need tools and systems that accomplish multiple tasks to completion simultaneously.
Think of this post as a starter pack to launch your small business. We cover all the bases of starting a business, from administration to marketing.
Administration and payment
In a small business, every dollar counts. Therefore, you’ll want complete accessibility and transparency into every aspect of your business operations and bookkeeping.
A few key administrative areas you’ll need to manage are:
- Contracts. A small business will typically use contracts for everything from onboarding new hires to customer acquisition to vendor coordination.
Relevant tools: docracy, Docusign.
- Time tracking. Time management tools track employees and freelancers on an hourly basis or allow them to track themselves. You’ll also identify any blockers and remove obstacles for yourself and your team.
Relevant tools: Toggl, aTracker.
- File Storage and Backup. Installing highly secure storage solutions is a critical step. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly and it backs up automatically and regularly.
Relevant tools: iDrive, Backblaze.
- Accounting and Invoicing. Keeping track of payments and chasing invoices is a universal struggle for small businesses. Almost 40 percent of invoices in the US are paid late, and 61 percent of late payments are due to incorrect invoices, according to ShareSpace.
That’s why we at Crowdz have channeled multiple capabilities into our platform, including integrations with your favorite platform like Stripe, Western Union, or FreshBooks.
A small business will need multiple elements to support a website:
- A hosting provider
- Domain name
- Tech support and customer service
- A content management system
- Design help
When you’re looking for a hosting service, speed, scalability, and price are all critical factors. Users expect your site to load within two seconds. You’ll need a web hosting provider with a fast server and enough memory and processing power to load pages quickly.
Your site will also need an SSL Certificate. An SSL Certificate, or a Secure Sockets Layer, is vital for small businesses to protect customer data and increase trust, says SmallBizTrends. It’s a security protocol that secures the connection between visitors’ web browsers and their servers. The SSL encrypts data so that hackers can’t access it without an encryption key.
Additionally, the website’s design is also vital for the success of your site. The design for a business site should have a brand logo, high-quality images and videos, rich copy and content, and be compatible on multiple devices.
Relevant tools: BlueHost, Wix, GoDaddy.
How many ways do you communicate throughout the workday? Instant message, social media, e-mail, phone, or through different collaboration tools? You need encompassing systems for multi-channel communication.
After phone lines and networks, selecting an e-mail system is a critical step that should be done early. Find ones that offer personalization and easy integration across email, calendar, and contacts.
Project management tools are also tremendous assets for keeping everyone productive and on track. Look for ones with a clear interface, scalability, and easy customization.
Relevant communication tools: Slack, Hive.
Marketing and advertising can play a significant role in the success of your small business. Strategically, you can launch campaigns like e-mail, content, SEO, PPC, social media, etc along with respective tools. You’ll need to invest in marketing automation, CRMs, and potentially work with third-party vendors or freelancers.
You may want to start with purchasing a CRM first to gather, track, and store contacts. Then find an automation tool that can integrate with it. Many automation tools will have multiple capabilities in one platform, like e-mail marketing, social media, and list building.
Relevant marketing tools: Marketo, Canva.
Customer service is one of the main touchpoints a prospect or customer has with your brand. There are often two parts: self-support and customer care, says EngageBay. The self-service part includes FAQs, a knowledge base, and product guides.
Customer care is the technical support a brand gives through e-mail, chat, or phone. It means instant, frictionless support. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, are effective for answering customer questions quickly or communicating with them.
Relevant tools: Freshdesk, Zendesk.
Get your processes in order
Aligning the right systems and processes are foundational for a thriving business. Use this blog post as a one-stop-shop for where to get started with your small business.
Crowdz was built for small business growth. The platform offers specific capabilities for strategic growth, complete control over your receivables, and receivables. For more information, check Crowdz.