Services That Every Small Business Owner Should Use
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Small business owners and entrepreneurs are often extremely mindful of how they use their money. This is, of course, a good thing if kept within reason — no one can expect to be successful in the long term, with any business venture, if they are prone to throwing money around recklessly, whenever the impulse hits.
On the other hand, it is also the case that spending money is often necessary to ensure that your business progresses from strength to strength in the way you’d want it to — or is even able to get off the ground in the first place.
Various tools, software programs, and other assorted services can make a tremendous difference in your experience as a small business owner. Some of these will require you to invest some money, others will be, but they’re all well worth using in any event.
Here are some services that every small business owner should use.
Professional web hosting
A fatal mistake that some entrepreneurs make is to try and set up their business websites using free hosting services. This always sends off a dramatically amateur look to anyone who knows what to look for, and always results in a lower quality experience for would-be customers who come across the site.
It’s not too much of a stretch to say that you severely harm your chances of being successful in business, if your website is hosted on a free platform.
Instead, get yourself a dedicated URL, and investigate small to medium business hosting services who are able to offer you the kind of platform that professional sites are built on.
Such a web hosting service should have good customer support, should allow you CPanel access, and should utilize fast, sophisticated servers that can support a speedy, visually-appealing website.
Your website will often be the first thing that a prospective customer sees about you. For that reason, it’s imperative that your website is as tidy as possible, runs quickly, has all the required information easily accessible, and can load on mobile devices without any issue.
Budgeting and financial management software
Have you ever heard the saying, “you’ve got to spend money to make money?” well, in this case, it’s more like “you’ve got to spend money to manage your finances optimally.
As a small business owner, your ability to manage your finances, see where your money is going, eliminate financial waste wherever it exists, handle your investments wisely, and keep track of your tax-relevant info, is essential to your success on multiple different levels — both professionally and in your private life.
Of course, trying to manage all of your small business and personal finances in your head, is like trying to fit the ocean into a leaky bucket. Unless you’re one of the great mathematical geniuses of the ages, it’s not going to happen.
Relying on a pen and paper is a surefire way of making things far more complicated than they need to be. You’re almost guaranteed to spend far more time and energy balancing your books than is necessary.
This is why investing in subscriptions to financial management systems such as Quickbooks, for overall business bookkeeping, Freshbooks, for handling invoicing, and YNAB, for handling personal finances, can be extremely worthwhile.
Task and project management software
It’s likely that even without factoring in the concerns of your professional life, your life as a mom has you juggling dozens of tasks at once, and always feeling as if there isn’t enough time to handle every task that needs to be handled.
Add the obligations of being a small business owner to those you’re already carrying around, and you’ll quickly find that you need to be extremely organised and “on the ball” in order to make things work.
Keeping your daily to-do lists scrawled on the backs of handkerchiefs, sheets of paper, and post-it notes, is unlikely to be the sophisticated and easily manageable system that you’ll need in order to optimize your efficiency and use your time as wisely as possible at any given moment.
Fortunately, many other entrepreneurs have had the same realizations before, and so a healthy industry or task and project management systems and apps have developed, not to mention world-renowned productivity methodologies such as David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system.
Some of the top task management systems are free — such as Microsoft’s “To-Do”. Others, such as Trello — specifically designed for managing team-based projects, will cost — at least for premium features.