In order for your small business to succeed in a market filled with “big box” stores, or other well-known established businesses, you might work longer hours and wear many hats. You also might be competing with businesses online. This is where small business technology can help. Technology resources can help you and your small business become more efficient, and help you better understand the marketplace.
Solving Business Technology Needs
All independent businesses should have the basics:
- Business Computer – Even a modest computer can handle all the day to day tasks that most small businesses generate. You can either use a desktop or a laptop; they’re exactly the same except for portability. They key idea is reliability. To help keep your computer reliable, learn how to use it properly, invest in a virus detection program, and limit your web surfing from your work computer to help keep it virus free.
- Printer – Many brands offer all-in-one products that include print, copy and fax capabilities. These products usually are the best choice for small businesses. They normally can print in color or black and white and are usually very easy to install and use. Most come with software that makes setting up your print, copy, and fax preferences a breeze.
- Software Programs For Business – You’ll need office based programs that can create documents, spreadsheets, and possibly graphic designs. There are numerous office based programs that can accomplish these tasks. You can choose to purchase them or can take advantage of various free products. Use the Internet to search for facts and to find out what other independent business owners use and recommend.
With these basic business technology purchases, you should be able to efficiently complete tasks such as writing letters to clients, designing advertisements and other marketing pieces, tracking inventory, sales and profitability, and creating other important documents, such as price guides, catalogs and mailing lists, etc.Always backup your data on a separate computer in case of a catastrophe. There are many backup technology resources available to make sure you don’t lose your data – your most important asset.
Creating Your Business Website
One common misconception is that a small business doesn’t warrant or justify the expense of a business website. Think again – especially if you operate locally.
ComScore, a leading source of Internet audience research and measurement, reported 40 percent of all online searches in 2007 related to local information. Today’s consumers expect you to be online – and they may even be accessing your site from a desktop, or a laptop or mobile device while they are out and about. It may be to find your location, for a contact number, or even a price comparison. But if they can’t find your company online, you’re missing out on plenty of potential business.
Creating a business website provides you with the free marketing opportunity to submit to the local search options in Google and Yahoo!, as well as rank in the traditional results for local searches like “landscaping Cleveland Ohio,” “accountants Seattle WA,” or “wedding photographer Naples Fla.”
Whether you’re creating a business website for a startup or an established company, be sure you choose a developer with experience and expertise in both design and Web marketing. They can help ensure your site is visible to the search engines and user-friendly to visitors, as well as help you identify other affordable online opportunities for your independent business.