It doesn’t matter if you’re in retail, hospitality, or manufacturing: Running a business requires technology. However, not everyone starts their business as a tech whiz. Here are four things you’ll learn about technology when starting a business, plus tips for learning the ropes.
You can probably do it yourself online.
Before outsourcing everything — and shelling out a lot of cash in the process — ask yourself if you could do it yourself for less. While it’s always worth hiring pros for jobs way beyond your skillset, some things are quick and easy to DIY. Take these business tasks for example:
- Registering an LLC: It’s smart to talk to a business attorney before forming a C corporation, but if you’re forming a pass-through entity like a limited liability company, you can do it online in most states. An LLC protects a business owner’s personal assets from business liabilities. It also lets business owners avoid double taxation.
- Bookkeeping: Business owners shouldn’t skimp on hiring an accountant when forming their business or paying taxes. You can, however, do your own bookkeeping using apps like Quickbooks, Xero, and Freshbooks.
- Registering a domain: Before building a website, you need to choose and register your domain name. And depending on the competition, you may need to do it quickly. Luckily, it’s easy to purchase a domain online — the hardest part is picking the right one!
Some things are worth paying for.
While there’s a lot you can do yourself, some things aren’t worth the learning curve. Take website design for example. Sure, you could try your hand at a drag-and-drop website builder. However, if you need more than a generic landing page, you might struggle to get the functionality you need. Small businesses are better off hiring a company like FosDog to get a site that does exactly what they need and aligns with their brand.
This also holds true when it comes to hardware and software. While you might not need custom tech to meet your business’s needs, relying on old school tools like spreadsheets and landlines will only hold you back. Invest in smartphones to keep your team agile and turn to software as a service for a low-cost route to a more productive team.
Cybersecurity is really important. Like really important.
Design isn’t the only consideration when developing a website. Small businesses also need to ensure their websites are secure from cyber threats. You might think your business is too small to be targeted by cybercrime, but nearly one in three data breaches involved small businesses in 2019.
In addition to securing your small business website, business owners also need to protect business devices and educate employees about cybersecurity risks. Not sure where to start? This tech hub offers a primer on digital security topics like virus protection, identity theft, and more.
Social media is a necessary evil (or your new best friend).
You might not be the biggest fan of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. However, they’re a crucial marketing tool for small businesses today and customers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media.
It’s not enough to toss the occasional post onto your feed. For effective social media marketing, small businesses need to set goals, know their audience, and share an interesting mix of content. Social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can expedite this process while still keeping social media marketing costs low.
What do you need to start a business? Grit, a good idea, and a decent chunk of change are probably the first things that come to mind. However, small business owners also require a surprising amount of tech-savviness. If you’re not already an expert in these areas, take this time to start learning more — or to find the pros who already have the skills.