What technology do you need to to invest in as an entrepreneur? Read this to find out.
Whether you're at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey or are a seasoned entrepreneur launching your latest venture, in the modern era, there are some tech tools that you just can't do without.
Social Media Management
Businesses cannot survive or compete online without a solid social media presence. Even your search engine ranking is partly determined by social signals or social media. So you need a social media management tool to make scheduling posts and managing multiple accounts simpler and less time-consuming. Some applications let you schedule posts up to a month in advance, track social analytics and interact with your followers right from one central dashboard. Hootsuite is among the most popular social media management tools, and offers tiered service levels, with the basic plan free. When you're looking for the right tool, take into account which social media platforms are most important to you, and which ones each tool supports, as some don't offer support for Pinterest and Instagram, for example. Alternatives to Hootsuite include Zoho Social, Buffer, Sprout Social and AgoraPulse.
Cloud storage is invaluable. Using a cloud service means that you don't need an excessive amount of storage on-premise and that you and your team can access the information anywhere with an internet connection, from any device. Depending on how heavily you want to rely on a cloud service, your team can use lightweight, inexpensive Chromebooks or similar to work remotely and your IT team won't need to install large amounts of software on every new device. There are a huge number of cloud services to choose from, ranging from Google Drive and its integrated G Suite to fully managed and hosted services that include virtual private networks and desktop as a service, or DaaS.
Social media plays a huge role in building your brand and getting you noticed, but you need another method of communicating with potential leads if you want to keep their interest and stay fresh and relevant. That's where email marketing comes in. Building your email list should constantly be at the very top of your marketing goals. The more relevant email addresses you have, the more potential leads you have. But it can be challenging to manage large lists, particularly if your email list actually consists of multiple lists, with entrants signing up with different interests. For example, list one might be people who gave you their email in exchange for an ebook or a printable while list two consists of people who gave you their email addresses when they made a purchase. List three are those who signed up to your newsletter from your blog. List four are those who gave their email address in exchange for a discount code.
If you need to work with other people on files and projects, you need an easy way to collaborate. With the right applications, you can work in a file at the same time as someone else, and the changes appear for everyone in the document in real time. Some suites, such as Google's G Suite even include a chat box, so you can converse with other collaborators without having to leave the document to access a messaging application. Some entrepreneurs find that they can work almost exclusively with a set of apps such as Docs, Sheets, Forms and Slides in the cloud, reducing costs and eliminating licensing fees.
Sensible Scheduling and Organization
Organization is key. Without a decent scheduling and organization system in place, you're unlikely to reach your full potential. Use a reliable calendar that you can access from all of your devices and one that will send you notifications. Similarly, you need to choose a tool that helps you to schedule meetings, events and other crucial tasks in the easiest, most efficient manner. Then there's the daily/weekly/monthly to-dos. Keeping a list of all the small tasks that go into completing a big task, all those little things that you absolutely have to do on a specific day, is paramount. Without a solid list, you're bound to forget to do things on a regular basis, as your brain is so full of all that bigger picture stuff. There are countless applications out there to help you with this, from simple calendars that are connected to your email, to project management apps that let you create, assign and complete lists.
Every business needs content. Your blog. Your website. Your advertisements. Your marketing emails. Whatever the industry and nature of your business, it thrives on the well-crafted content, launched in the right places, at the right time. Whether you write the content yourself or you outsource to a freelance writer, you won't get far without a solid editorial calendar and content management system. This can be a simple Trello board, with content-related to-do lists and due dates to a full-blown editorial calendar with dates, links, notes and more. Knowing what is scheduled for when helps you keep your content goals firmly on track.
Email is great. But it has its limits. If you're trying to make a personal connection or establish a rapport with a new connection, email only takes you so far. Similarly, if you need to have a real conversation or you just need a quick answer, email isn't necessarily the best choice. However, such programs as Skype and Slack, or, if you're feeling fancy, a bespoke messaging board that you coded with your own two hands are all viable options. They help you get faster responses and build deeper relationships and gives you and your team one place to meet and converse without having to contend with giant email threads.
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