There can be a lot to consider when starting your first business: business model, customer support, hiring employees, marketing, and finances. But one of the crucial aspects of starting a business today is finding the right software to get your business ideas off the ground and running on a day-to-day basis.
There are a variety of business software packages on the market, so it can be difficult to decide what and how much you need. The key factors to keep in mind when choosing software are:
- Does it make your life easier?
- Does it make sense for your business? (a craft store will have different needs than an online graphic design business).
- Is it user friendly (for yourself, employees, and customers?)
- Price. It pays to pay for quality, but you don’t want to spend all your precious startup costs on flashy software.
Whether you’re starting up by yourself, with partners, or employees, it’s important to manage your time. Scheduling software helps reduce admin time, prevents management mishaps which can cost time and customers, and easily manages employee rostering.
While scheduling can be done hard-copy, this quickly becomes time-consuming and prone to miscommunication. 65% of small businesses have staff scheduling needs, and most of these find scheduling software faster, easier, and more accurate.
One of the most urgent concerns for a new business is finances. Australian Government business support recommends focusing on good bookkeeping from the start to ensure that you are:
- Keeping track of cash flow and expenses
- Meeting your tax, superannuation and funding requirements
- Forecasting future costs
- Seeing areas for improvement
There are multiple software options when it comes to bookkeeping, but remember to keep your industry and accounting needs in mind.
In the current global climate, more businesses are turning to working-from-home options, and it’s likely that these changes in the ‘standard work environment’ are here to stay. If this is a viable consideration for your new business, the crucial foundation for teleworking is software.
Many software companies have made their services available for free, mostly to facilitate remote work but also with some other functions. It’s important to find a long-term software service that best supports your remote working needs, however, so take your time selecting one which you feel will work best for you in regards to price, team management, video chatting and document sharing.
Often there’s just no time to navigate content management, customer targeting and relationships, and market analytics in amongst more pressing startup needs. The good news is that there are multiple software options out there to help get your marketing started.
Even for those with multiple personal accounts, business social media marketing can be difficult to manage, but there are several social media marketing software options available with capabilities including account management, automated publishing, and customer targeting. With social media being how most people consume content, it’s worthwhile investing in clean marketing via your business’s social accounts.
Alongside social media, important digital marketing platforms include email marketing and website building. Digital marketing can be the front face of your business to many potential customers, and utilising software can make that first impression clean, professional, and user-friendly. If you run online payments, be sure to choose a payment gateway that meets you and your customer’s needs.
It’s also worthwhile looking into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to get a clear overview of your customers and their needs. CRM is one of the fastest-growing areas of revenue spending in enterprise software, based on the premise that it’s better to maintain a relationship with a current customer than to bring on a new one.
There are hundreds of software options available for first-time business owners, covering all manner of considerations. To ensure that your business runs smoothly, with a good front face for customers, be sure to choose software that manages your major concerns such as scheduling, bookkeeping, marketing, and adapting your workplace to function digitally. When making these choices, always ensure that you’re making the best decision for your individual business and customer needs.