Entrepreneurs and freelancers are known to dive into their business ventures with gusto, blasting out emails, attending networking events, taking on new projects and learning as they go how to best structure an efficient workflow.
With just a little bit of time and research on the front-end, start-ups can avoid a few common time-consuming pitfalls as they grow. Here is a list of six must-have tech tools that can help successfully launch any small business:
1. Cloud Storage
Whether you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur, chances are you need some form of cloud storage. Sending large files to clients or coworkers no longer involves a trip across town with a zip drive. Google Drive offers up to 15GB of free storage and e other options such as Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, or Apple iCloud offer up to 5GB free. Extra storage can always be purchased later or you could choose from multiple cloud storage options once you have a good idea of how much you’ll need.
2. Online Payment System
The value of online payment tools like Square and PaySimple include much more than the functionality of quickly getting paid. Square provides the ability for anyone to easily accept credit cards from a variety of devices, and PaySimple adds in the ability to accept electronic checks. Both services have tools for small business owners to make smart decisions through sales data analytics. Most importantly, they include vital security tools that help safeguard your clients’ precious data as money changes hands.
3. Computer Security
Maintain peace of mind by securing your online reputation and privacy with products that provide adequate virus and spamware protection. Consider something like Trend Micro, which offers security products with features for small businesses and mid-sized businesses. Many ISP’s will offer a computer security plan bundled in with the Internet service, so be sure to check out the specifics of your plan before purchasing anything extra.
4. A Virtual Phone System
Virtual phone systems let entrepreneurs and freelancers work from any location by routing calls to any phone. Google Voice has several important features like assignment of a local phone number, voicemail, voicemail transcription, and call screening. Grasshopper has a few more features than Google Voice such as unlimited extensions, human voicemail transcription, and multiple toll free and local phone numbers.
5. Expense Tracking Services
Get control of your business expenses long before tax season and never miss an opportunity to write off a legitimate business expense. The Expense Tracker keeps track of your expenses by telephone, debit card, text, or email. It provides daily or monthly reports and conveniently exports them to Excel.
6. Social Media Management
Entrepreneurs and freelancers no longer need to schedule time to use Twitter and facebook to promote special offers or notable projects. It’s easier than ever to generate more business by growing a strong social media presence for your brand. Hootsuite lets you promote your brand across several social networks like Facebook and Twitter from one easy-to-use control panel.
When investing in technology for your business, make sure you thoroughly research projects so you can take advantage of the tools that best suit your budget and needs. Free trials can help guide your final decisions and give you a head start on a smoothly functioning business. With so many online tools available, working from home has never been easier.
Rose Haywood is an Internet tech blogger, business marketing consultant and advocate for equal access broadband initiatives. She hails proudly from Asheville, NC but currently resides near Atlanta, GA.
image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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