Connecting with customers without breaking the bank
It used to be the case that if you wanted to reach a big market, you’d need a big budget to match. Nowadays, savvy entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of social media and online marketplaces, allowing them to generate worldwide interest in their wares from day one.
You don’t have to break the bank with expensive advertising to reach out to consumers: get a website, try and make a viral video, or start a conversation on Facebook. Once you take those first steps, you’ll see that the reviews, search engine rankings and word of mouth can help propel your company further at a relatively low cost.
Any business, especially at the crucial start-up stage, needs a lot of time and energy to make it work so unwelcome productivity dips are best avoided. Thanks to things like video-conferencing, cloud storage, document sharing – and the sheer speed of today’s handheld devices – you can bring your business with you wherever you go, and work wherever you are.
However, it’s important not to abuse the 24/7 communication possibilities of technology, otherwise you could end up with stressed, resentful staff. Nor should you think that technology has replaced the good old-fashioned idea of people needing a professional place to work. Employees’ smartphones or tablets may work at home or in cafes, but the people themselves may struggle. As well as the right tech devices and connectivity, employees who work remotely or flexibly need access to professional workspaces, such as business centres, where they can make best use of that technology.
Unfortunately, there’s more to starting a business than simply having a ‘big idea’ and the drive and determination to follow it – you still need to tackle the less romantic chores which are essential for the running of the business. Luckily, there’s software out there to help you with almost everything: your accounts, your payroll, and even your taxes.
Of course, they usually won’t compare to the experience and wisdom of a trained professional – but for a young business with limited capital, they can prove to be invaluable tools to help you through your first year of trading.
Looking big when you're small
It might not be true in all areas of life, but when it comes to consumer confidence, size really does matter. You might have the best products and customer service around, but if it doesn’t look like you’re an established and stable business, it can be hard to win new customers.
Luckily, technology can play a key role in helping your start-up give off a big business image. A slick, professional website is the digital equivalent of a high-street shop-front, and a virtual office with an impressive address can give the illusion of a big business without having to fork out for a rented premises.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first-time fledgling or you’re on your third start-up: getting to grips with the latest technology can give you a low-cost, low-barrier route to getting your foot in the first door.