10 New Technologies That Can Help Your Small Business Grow

If you’re like most small business owners, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the CEO, the marketing department, the IT support, and everything in between. It’s no wonder that you’re always looking for ways to get things done more efficiently. Luckily, there are a growing number of new technologies that can help small businesses like yours to streamline operations and drive growth. 

Here we check out 10 new technologies that can help your small business grow.

1. Social media marketing

If you own a small business, you may be looking for ways to grow your company. While traditional marketing methods can be effective, you may also want to consider using some new technologies to reach a wider audience.  

Social media marketing is one option that can be very helpful. By creating profiles on popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can connect with potential customers from all over the world. You can share information about your products and services, as well as offer discounts and special promotions.

In addition, you can use social media to build relationships with other businesses in your industry. By working together, you can create a powerful network that can help your small business grow. 

Another option to consider is using email marketing. This involves sending out newsletters or other promotional materials to a list of subscribers. Email marketing can be an effective way to reach a large number of people without spending a lot of money. You can also use it to target specific groups of people who are more likely to be interested in your products or services.

2. Mobile payments

technologies

If you own a small business, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. After all, early adopters often have a leg up on the competition. One area that is rapidly evolving is mobile payments.

Mobile payments refer to any type of financial transaction that is conducted via a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. There are a number of ways to accept mobile payments, including Near Field Communication (NFC), QR codes, and dedicated apps.

By giving customers the option to pay with their phones, you can make it more convenient for them to do business with you. In addition, mobile payments can help you save money on processing fees. If you’re not already accepting mobile payments, now is the time to start.

3. Cloud storage

In the past, small businesses had to invest in expensive on-premise storage solutions to keep their data safe. However, with the advent of cloud storage, businesses of all sizes can now enjoy enterprise-grade storage at a fraction of the cost.  

Cloud storage is perfect for small businesses that are growing quickly and need to be able to scale their storage capacity up or down as needed. In addition, cloud storage is more reliable than on-premise storage, meaning that your data will be safe even if your local servers go down.  

Since cloud storage is managed by experts, you can rest assured that your data is always secure. If you’re looking for a way to help your small business grow, cloud storage is a great option.

4. Online bookkeeping and accounting

Online accounting and bookkeeping can be a valuable tool for small businesses because it allows them to manage their finances in a more efficient and organized way. It also gives business owners the ability to track their expenses and see where they are spending the most money. As a result, they can make necessary changes to save money and increase profits.  

In addition, online bookkeeping and accounting can help businesses keep track of customer payments, liabilities, and even joint credit. If you looking for a joint credit meaning, is the process of two business owners sharing the same credit. To elaborate, it takes into account the combined credit history, income and assets of two or more business owners. All of this is essential for managing cash flow.

5. GPS tracking for vehicles

GPS tracking can be used to track the location of company vehicles in real-time, which can be helpful for several different purposes. For example, it can be used to track down a lost or stolen vehicle or to monitor the whereabouts of employees.  

GPS tracking can also be used to optimize route planning, ensuring that employees are taking the most efficient routes and saving time and money. In addition, GPS tracking can be used to monitor driver behavior, such as how fast they are driving or how many stops they make.  

By using GPS tracking, small businesses can gain valuable insights into their operations, and make changes that can improve efficiency and bottom line.

6. Employee time tracking

In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s more important than ever to keep track of employee time and attendance. New technologies can help your small business stay ahead of the curve by providing accurate, real-time data on employee hours 

This information can be used to make informed decisions about staffing levels, scheduling, and even compensation. Employee time tracking can also help you identify patterns of absenteeism or productivity issues.  

By using new technologies to track employee time, you can ensure that your small business is running as efficiently as possible.

7. Project management software

This kind of software can help you to keep track of all your ongoing projects, assign tasks to team members, and monitor deadlines. Having everything in one place will help you to stay organized and on top of your workload. Additionally, many project management platforms offer features like real-time chat and file sharing, which can further improve collaboration within your team. 

Implementing new technologies in your business can be a big undertaking. However, the benefits often outweigh the costs. When used effectively, project management software can help you to get more done in less time, freeing up valuable resources that can be reinvested in other areas of your business. In today’s competitive landscape, anything that gives you an edge is worth considering.

8. Customer relationship management software

In the business world, it’s all about relationships. Building strong relationships with customers is essential for any business that wants to thrive. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help small businesses build and maintain strong customer relationships.  

CRM software helps businesses track customer interactions, manage customer data, and automate customer communication. In addition, CRM software can help businesses track sales opportunities and provide valuable insights into customer behavior. As a result, CRM software can be an invaluable tool for small businesses that want to grow their customer base.  

Thanks to CRM software, building and maintaining strong customer relationships is easier than ever before.

9. Inventory management software

In any small business, inventory management is key to success. You need to know what you have in stock, how much it will cost to replace it, and when you need to reorder.  

In the past, this was a time-consuming process that involved maintaining physical records and doing regular countdowns of your stock. However, there are now a number of different software programs that can help you manage your inventory more efficiently. These programs can track your inventory levels in real time, generate reports on your sales and stock levels, and even send automatic reorder requests to your suppliers.  

As a result, investing in an inventory management system can save you a great deal of time and money. And with the increase in accuracy and efficiency, it can also help your small business grow.

10. E-commerce platforms and tools

technologies

Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic shift in the way that businesses operate. With the advent of the internet, more and more businesses are moving online. As a result, there is an increasing demand for e-commerce platforms that can help businesses to reach a wider audience.  

While there are many different e-commerce platforms available, choosing the right one for your business can be a challenge. To help you make the best decision for your business, here are three of the most popular e-commerce platforms: 

Shopify: Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform that offers a wide range of features to help businesses grow. It includes everything from a simple website builder to powerful marketing tools. In addition, Shopify provides 24/7 customer support, making it a perfect fit for small businesses. 

WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a well known WordPress based plugin that allows businesses to turn their WordPress website into an online store. It includes features such as product management, order management, and payment processing. WooCommerce is a great option for businesses that are already using WordPress for their website. 

Magento: Magento is an open-source e-commerce software with a vast range of capabilities and customization alternatives. It’s an excellent choice for organizations that require a more sophisticated online store. Magento comes in two flavors: enterprise and community, making it a great option for businesses of all sizes. 

No matter what sort of business you have, there is an e-commerce platform that can help you grow. By investing in an e-commerce platform, you can reach a larger audience and make it easier to sell your products or services. 

Conclusion on New Technologies

It is quite evident that technology has had a profound effect on the way small businesses operate. In particular, new technologies have made it easier than ever for businesses to connect with customers and sell products or services online.  

Thanks to advances in CRM software, inventory management software, and e-commerce platforms, among other things, small businesses can now manage their customer relationships, stock levels, and online stores more efficiently. These businesses are better able to grow and thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.

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Top 7 Benefits Of Building An MVP

MVP

Software development is aimed at solving a particular problem and one way to achieve that aim is to create a minimum viable product. A minimum viable product or MVP is a basic version of a software or app that can meet the targeted users’ needs and collect adequate feedback for improvement. This is an important part of the product development process.

The users of this age are more poised to use an app or software that solves their problem in the shortest time with the best user experience. Apart from that, the software developer also needs to be sure that the investment into creating the app is worthwhile. All of these make MVP software development an important step. You can start your product development process with an MVP development company today.

There are several benefits of building an MVP. The obvious ones are the chance to get firsthand glean into what users want and make the best of the software development investment. Below are the 7 main benefits:

1. You Can Save your Money

The first advantage of creating an MVP product is that it is economical. It is a huge monetary cost to develop an app. To put that investment to the best use, then the app must be developed from the eye of the user, not just based on the thoughts or imaginations of the developer.

There is less money needed to create a minimum viable product since it only has the basic functionalities to meet the users’ needs. The budget is minimal and the product gives the needed information on the best ways to create the full app or software. With startup MVP, there is a focus on the appropriation of the full app development budget. Unnecessary designs and functionalities are easily avoided, cutting down the cost.

2. You Can Save your Time

MVP

Another major cost of app development after money is time. With an MVP product, you get to save time. The basic functionalities are included in the minimum viable product, so it takes less time to create. This makes the time for market entry short. Once the core functions are created in the product, they can be released to users.

If it would have taken about 6 months for full app development, an MVP will only take about a month. This ensures that another startup will not have time to launch the same product before you. Time is of the essence and building MVP saves it. The faster you get the MVP out in the market, the quicker you begin to get the needed feedback for the full development.

3. You Can Attract Investors

Many times, you need investors for a cash injection to take your business to the next level. A very important benefit is the attraction of investors. The minimum viable product shows the investors the core features and benefits of the product. This way, the investors have a tangible feel of your idea in a product not just based on a virtual presentation or word of mouth.

Startup MVP packaged with the right business plan should convince any investor interested in your product niche. The MVP will show them the potential of your product and make your idea real. This validity is important in convincing them to invest in your product. 

4. You Can Learn What Your Customers Really Want

A business that stays in the heart of customers is one that gives them what they really want. Developing a product that people do not want is a waste of time, money, and effort. Creating an MVP is a good way to learn exactly what the customers want. The early launch of MVP gives you an insight into what should be added or removed from your product.

The basic features of the MVP make it easy to use by early customers. They are less distracted by aesthetic features and so will be able to give clear feedback that will inform a better upgrade. MVP benefits app development by making it a customer-centered process. You won’t be building a product with a concept of what you think people want. But you’re sure it is what they want.

5. You Can Do Target Audience Research

The deployment of an MVP product gives great detail about the target audience. The early users of the MVP are the sample population that you need to expand for successful product delivery. It may be that the target you had in mind doesn’t really find your product fancy. Target audience research is key to business success.

A startup MVP will give clear direction to researching prospective users. You also have the chance to try out the minimum viable product among different groups of prospects until you find the best fit. In this space, you will be able to discover your group of loyal users and serve them efficiently. 

6. You Have an Ability to Test Early 

Lean startup MVP is the main theme for shortening the development cycle. It gives you the chance to test your product viability in a very short time. You can create an MVP, test out its potential in the market and gain the information needed for the next level of launch within 90days.

This MVP benefit is just not a money saver, it is the key for tech startups to keep dishing out the best products. Building MVP allows early testing of features and functionalities. The best UI and functions are easily added once the testing is done. 

7. Better Scalability of Development

MVP

The product development process is a lengthy and demanding one. Launching an MVP makes the process scalable and less tricky. The direction is clearer when the MVP product is out there. There is far less risk in packaging the full product with the feedback gotten from the minimum viable product testing.

The scalability of the development process is boosted with a clear focus. The development team will be informed on what improvements are needed. Thus, a wider reach can be achieved when the improvements are added to the minimum product. The process of entering the larger market is made easier and simpler. The overall development is made scalable and so will the whole business become. 

Conclusion on Having an MVP

Creating a minimum viable product is a vital step in the product development process. The important thing is to create a product that meets the specific need of users out there. Their need is central, so they should be the main focus when creating a solution. The product allows the developer to gather the needed ideas to create this ideal solution.

The possession of minimum and basic functionalities by the MVP created will allow for the best feedback collection. The early adopters will not only give the needed feedback, but they will also show the ideal customers that will be interested in the product. This will make way for concrete research and learning how these customers can be best turned into loyal users.

Finally, MVP software development is the major way to create an innovative solution within the best budget and time. The risk of wasting money and time on a full product development that may not be accepted by the market is reduced by an MVP launch.

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4 Simple Data Strategies for High Tech Startups

data

As a startup, one of the most important business functions that you should understand is how to handle and manage your data strategies. Being data-driven can tremendously improve your decision-making and allow you to stay ahead of the curve as you make smart choices.

While you don’t need to be an IT expert in order to adopt efficient data management strategies, it is worth educating yourself regarding the basics so that you can be confident using that data for your everyday business needs.

To help you get started, we highlight some fundamental and simple data strategies that can take your business high tech startup to the next level. 

Store and Share Data Strategies Easily

As a first step, you need to invest in a system that allows your startup to store and share data with ease. The goal should be to eliminate any data silos and make the information accessible to all employees.

Begin by carrying out a preliminary assessment of your startup, such as the size of the company, existing IT structure, computer applications in use, and if applicable, cloud services being utilized. This will give you the information you need to identify the kind of data storage your startup requires and guide you towards the optimal storage solution and digital services for your business.

For example, you can consider investing in a network-attached storage device such as Western Digital NAS that comes with pre-integrated storage services to preserve your data. This will not only add storage space but also make it easier for employees to collaborate with each other as they will be able to access data remotely in one central location.

Train Employees in Data Use and Management

Gathering, storing, and accessing data are just the first step in your startup’s overall data strategy. Equally important is knowing how to analyze and use that data to make strategic decisions. In this regard, it is important to train your employees on how to use and manage business data.

While many companies may opt for standardized data training courses, we suggest exploring solutions that offer tailored training so that your organization’s individual needs are addressed. The training and development your startup offers should have three main objectives:

  • Enable employees to understand the data.
  • Instruct employees on how to analyze the data.
  • Teach employees on how to apply the data to make informed business decisions. 

Make Use of Data for Business Functions

data

Knowing how to use data to improve business performance and operations is integral for any data strategy. This means sifting through vast amounts of data gathered by your company to identify which type of data matters and is most useful for business functions.

For example, as with any business, your startup will need to accurately analyze customer data to understand customer touchpoints. Having an understanding of customer journeys can help to improve their overall experience and increase conversion opportunities. Similarly, as a startup, you can make use of forecasting data to present information about predicated revenue and costs to your investors in order to secure additional funding.

Generally, using data for your business needs is critical for achieving both short- and long-term business goals. It can help you to not only improve your overall business strategy but enable you to explore opportunities to grow your business, improve your product or service, and streamline internal operations. 

Protect Your Data Strategies

Considering how data breaches are becoming common, it is important that your startup takes every step possible to protect and secure your data infrastructure against both hardware failure and malware or hacking.

A data protection strategy can solve your problems by clearly articulating the measures you need to take to protect your data. For example, start by creating a reliable backup system for your data and invest in a trustworthy antivirus software. You should also consider additional cybersecurity measures such as two-factor authentication, encryption software, and a VPN.

Additionally, hire in-house cyber security experts or outsource the job to a reliable company to ensure round-the-clock data security for your business. 

The Bottom Line

As a high tech startup, knowing how to effectively and efficiently manage and use data should be at the top of your to-do list. By setting up a data strategy, you can begin to define your data needs and identify the management tools or software you will need in order to handle and make sense of the data.

Lastly, remember to invest in a data analytics team so that you have a dedicated set of employees with a specialist skill set who can make good use of relevant data to suit your business growth needs.

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Affordable Cybersecurity Solutions for Small Businesses

cybersecurity

All businesses, whether large or small, typically generate a lot of delicate and vital data. That’s why they must have solutions that protect and secure all generated and shared data inside the business realm and out of the reach of cybercriminals. Cybersecurity is essential to the wellbeing and success of your company.

Larger companies and businesses typically have IT sectors and use their beneficial skills to secure sensitive data. However, most small companies often deal with insufficient security and protection sectors, and they usually don’t have proper solutions to protect them from phishing and other common cyberattacks.  

Businesses might not properly treat cybersecurity as a top priority. However, the current landscape does indicate that attitudes are changing. More and more companies choose to invest in the security and reliability of their services. After all, cybercriminals continuously introduce new threats, many of them targeted against small companies as well.  

All unprotected data is valuable to cybercriminals, so safeguarding your small business against cyberattacks must be the top priority. Luckily, there are affordable cybersecurity tools for small businesses that can effectively secure valuable and sensitive data and protect you from any threat. 

1. VPN (Virtual Private Network) 

The first solution on our list is the most affordable but still an effective tool that can protect even the data of your employees. VPNs are not only suitable for small businesses. Large companies also turn to quality Virtual Private Networks for their cybersecurity defense systems.  

What can VPN do to improve your company’s safety? 

As the name suggests, a Virtual Private Network can create a virtual bridge between your private network and a public server. That means a VPN allows you to secure your company’s valuable data when surfing the internet or doing anything else online.  

For instance, you might perform all necessary network security measures in the office. However, many people work from home or might even use personal computers for their tasks. Sadly, the conditions on unknown networks are difficult to predict. Therefore, a VPN for PC devices at home is crucial to ensure a secure exchange of information. This protection should extend to smartphones if employees communicate via various apps or access corporate details.  

2. Two-factor password authentication 

cybersecurity

You probably know that most people who shop online use two-factor password authentication to protect their data from fraudsters. However, that is not the only perk of using this tool. Two-factor authentication solution is helpful for small businesses.  

Since passwords are typically the first thing cybercriminals hack and steal to access sensitive data, it’s not safe to use single-factor password authentication as a protection tool. It’s not enough to use only a username and password as protection.  

If you add two-factor authentication to your defense system, you can significantly lower the chances of being a cyberattack victim and putting your business in danger. Two-factor password authentication can make phishing and malware attacks almost impossible.  

You can add many types of two-factor authentication solutions to protect your business. Whichever you use, it will provide you with an effective security layer. 

This affordable solution protects valuable data and ensures no one can breach your defense system without passing through a strict two-factor authentication process.  

3. Next-generation firewall solution (NGFW) 

A firewall is another valuable solution for upgrading your company’s cybersecurity defense system. It’s a powerful tool that protects all incoming and outgoing traffic and your valuable data. 

The firewall solution works like a selective tool with the power to prevent any breach or suspicious network from compromising your company’s data.  

It detects malicious websites and networks using advanced analysis or deep packet inspection (DPI). A next-generation firewall is one of the most affordable solutions on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective in protecting your business data from cybercriminals and malware.  

This tool is helpful if you need to restrict access to some websites or have a list of safe and malware-free apps and networks. Simply put, a firewall blocks any threat that comes from suspicious websites and apps by checking all the data you send and receive on your computer.  

If an NGFW detects malicious behavior that could lead to a data breach, it sends you an instant warning.   

4. Domain Name System (DNS)

Domain Name System protection is a powerful solution that most businesses should use to improve cybersecurity levels. This affordable tool gives an additional level of security and can protect your company’s valuable data on different levels.  

It typically prevents data breaches and prevents your employees from visiting malicious websites and endangering sensitive business data. The Domain Name System prevents access to harmful websites and helps filter unwanted content. 

It helps you control and monitor which websites your employees visit during work hours. It blocks all suspicious activities that can infiltrate and endanger your network – if all your employees use the company’s private network. Of course, there are options for changing DNS settings on computers if the need arises.  

Bottom line of Cybersecurity

All the solutions we’ve listed above are valuable cybersecurity defense systems that all businesses should implement, regardless of their size. 

Every company has sensitive data that must stay private and away from prying eyes. Just like you care about your personal belongings, it’s crucial to improve cybersecurity and protect business data, employees, and all your clients.

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6 Ways To Protect Company Data For Small Businesses

strong password

Leveraging the power of information technology (IT) is a must if you want to run a successful business. It enables you to simplify business processes to enhance efficiency. As a result, you’ll likely reduce costs, improve productivity and save time in your business. 

While that’s true, IT can also expose your business to risks. For instance, it increases the chances of your data getting accessed by unauthorized people and online attackers. And when that happens, you can lose vital information and money for your small business. Therefore, it’s necessary to protect your company data. 

There are various ways to protect data for small businesses. These include: 

    1. Working With Online Security Professionals

Cybersecurity is one of the most sensitive functions of any business. Therefore, it should be handled with much due care and diligence. 

You can develop and manage your business cybersecurity strategy if you’ve got the knowledge and believe that you can. However, sometimes you may lack adequate time to monitor business networks continuously. This exposes your company’s data to cybersecurity threats.  For that, you can consider hiring online security professionals to resolve IT issues like online attacks in your firm.  

The security company hired will take care of your business systems 24/7. And because they’re professionals in cybersecurity, they can help implement the most suitable strategies to secure your data. Ensure you hire one of the best partners in the market.  

     2. Developing Strong Passwords

Passwords are essential in running a successful business. They ensure only the right people can access specific business systems and data. This is true since no one should access your company’s networks without passwords. Therefore, you’re exposing your business data if you haven’t developed passwords to gain access to systems. 

Shaving passwords is the most basic step to protecting business data. However, these passwords must be solid. This ensures no unauthorized person can correctly guess them, thus securing your business data.  

You might think that developing strong passwords is an overwhelming task. But that isn’t true. You only need to build passwords of a reasonable length. The most recommended being between 8 and 12 characters.  

Besides the length, you must include alphabets and numeral digits in your passwords. And to make them even more robust, include a few non-standard characters such as #? ! @ % &, among others. As a result, no one will likely correctly guess your passwords to access business information.

After building strong passwords, it’d be a good idea to change them regularly. 

In addition to that, you can consider purchasing specific software to help manage your passwords. This enables you to know who is using them and for what purpose.  

Also, such software can consistently remind you about the right time to change passwords. All these helps enhance your business’s cybersecurity strategy.

    3. Adapting A Two-Factor Authentication Strategy

Today, technology is moving at a higher speed than in the past. Some cybersecurity strategies and tactics that may have worked in the past might not be good enough to protect your data.  

For instance, you can build very strong passwords. However, more often than not, still, such passwords can be compromised by online attackers. That’s to say, passwords alone aren’t effective enough to secure your business data. For that reason, it’s advisable to take advantage of two-factor authentication.  

Also known as two-step verification, two-factor authentication is a practice where system users provide two different authentication factors to prove or verify themselves. In simple terms, it involves adding an extra layer of security to online accounts. Therefore, no user will access your business data with passwords only. They must take the extra step of verifying themselves through two-factor authentication.  

You can consider adopting various ways to help create an effective two-factor authentication strategy. These include adding security questions and biometric login details like using face or fingerprints to unlock systems. This helps protect your data from unauthorized access. 

    4. Encrypting Files

Running an online business involves sharing documents or files with workers, customers, and other stakeholders. However, in some cases, unintended people may receive these files. And it becomes worse if they fall into the hands of individuals with bad intentions. That’s why you need to encrypt files before sending them to users.  

The encryption strategy enables you to encode data. As a result, no one will get their true meaning. Therefore, even if hackers or other unauthorized people receive your documents by mistake, they can’t use them to their advantage. This also boosts your business’s cybersecurity to protect your data. 

But, how will the intended users read and understand your files? They can achieve that by using binary digits provided to decode the data. As a result, they’ll read them in their original language. Make sure you select encryption software from a reputable vendor.  

protect data

    5. Setting Up Automatic Software Updates

Various types of software are essential in your business. They enable you to streamline specific operations. As a result, you’ll likely grow your firm faster.  

Despite the crucial role software plays, sometimes it can expose your business to online attacks. This is true, especially if you are using outdated systems.  

Hackers like to scan older versions of software to determine their vulnerability. Therefore, outdated tools increase the chances of your business getting accessed by online attackers. That’s why you need to set up automatic software updates.  

You can decide to update your business software manually. But sometimes, you might be too busy or forget to update them. This exposes your business to online threats. 

On the other hand, installing automatic software updates helps simplify the process. It ensures your systems always remain updated to the latest version.  

    6. Educating Employees On Cybersecurity Best Practices 

Lastly, consider educating your workers on cybersecurity best practices to help protect your business data. This is important since some online business attacks occur due to workers’ negligence or ignorance.   

For instance, some workers might not know the danger of sharing the company’s information with third parties. Besides, others may not know that sharing passwords at the workplace is a crime. Therefore, educating employees on such matters helps protect or secure your data from unauthorized people.  

Takeaway

Protecting business data isn’t always easy as you think. This is true, especially for new business owners. But with the tips in this article, you can be guaranteed to enhance your business cybersecurity strategy to protect your data from unauthorized access.

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4 Things to Know When Starting a Small Business

Starting your own business can feel daunting, especially if it’s the first time you’ve done it. When you start talking about it and planning it, your to-do list can begin to feel endless. In addition to all the things you have to complete, there are many things to learn too. Here are some of the things you should know when starting a small business.

1. Your Business Plan is Important  

Even if you have an entire business plan in your mind, you should aim to get it down on paper as soon as possible. Setting out your plan for the business will be critical in order to ensure that you and the other people involved have a common understanding of the objectives, the strategy, and the processes. A business plan is one of the first things you should develop when starting a company.  

2. There are Various Finance Options Available 

When starting a business, and throughout the years the company is operating, there are likely to be various finance options available to you. It can be very helpful to know what these options are before you start your business. This enables you to consider the full range of options available in terms of funding, and it may offer you opportunities to be more flexible with your finances in the earlier stages when it can be more difficult to get your company off the ground. You can consider personal financing options if you want to get payday loans in Canada, for example, or look into other options offered specifically for small businesses.

3. Complete Any Admin 

small-business

If you want to get stuck into the details of running the company, you might be inclined to overlook certain administration parts of starting a small business. These are essential things to include on your list and complete within the relevant deadlines and with enough time to be able to carry out the plans for your business. For example, you will need to register your business with the relevant authorities before you can start trading and ensure you have all the relevant paperwork available. This can take time and failing to allocate enough time for this part of the planning can leave you with large gaps and a lot of stress further down the line 

4. Take Time Choosing Your Team 

The people involved in running a company can make or break the company. As a result, it is critically important to take time choosing your team. Rushing into recruitment can end with decisions that aren’t always in the best interests of the company. For roles that are very niche or senior, consider enlisting the help of a recruitment agency to help find the best quality of candidates for your business.  

Getting ready to launch your own business can be an exciting yet worrying time. When you take the time to find out as much information as possible and prepare yourself for a successful business launch, you can significantly limit any concerns and give your new company the best chance of success.

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11 Ways Instagram Can Boost the Growth of Small Businesses

In this digital age, businesses must have an online presence to stay relevant and competitive. With over a billion active users, Instagram is a powerful platform that small businesses can leverage to reach new customers, drive sales, and grow their business.

Here are 11 ways Instagram can help boost the growth of small businesses:

  • Connect With the Target Audience

Small businesses have a significant advantage when it comes to marketing on Instagram. Unlike large corporations with glossy professional photos, small companies can make their products and services more relatable using images based on real-life scenarios. This helps customers feel like they know the business and can connect with them more deeply. To leverage this opportunity, businesses should focus on telling their story through their Instagram posts. What’s the history of the company? What are the company values? Why did you start this business? Customers love stories. So, by sharing your story, you’ll be able to connect with them on a more personal level.

In addition to sharing your story, scheduling your posts for optimal results is also essential. The best time to post on Instagram is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you follow these steps, you’ll be in a better chance to reach more of your target audience and connect with them deeply. 

Nevertheless, every business is different, so experimenting is necessary to see what works best for you. You can also use famous hashtags to reach a wider audience and connect with potential customers who might have an eye for your products or services.

  • Win Customers’ Trust

Instagram is a robust and reliable platform that can be used by small businesses to win customer trust and build brand awareness. And by sharing high-quality images and videos, companies can show potential customers they’re dedicated to providing quality products and services.

In addition, using relevant hashtags and interacting with other users can help businesses reach a broader market base. By taking advantage of all that Instagram offers, small businesses can build trust with potential customers and ultimately win their trust.

  • Drive Sales Using Instagram

instagram

Instagram is one of the most effective marketing tools for small businesses. And because it has more than a billion active users, it gives small businesses access to a large audience. And since posts are typically visual, it’s an excellent platform for promoting products and services.

On the other hand, there are a few keyways small businesses can use Instagram to boost sales. Nevertheless, it’s essential to post high-quality images that showcase your products or services in the best light. This will help attract users to your page and encourage them to learn more about what you have to offer.

In addition, it’s essential to use relevant hashtags and include calls to action in your posts. This will help increase the visibility of your content and encourage users to take action. Moreover, relevant hashtags also help your potential customers find you. 

For example, you could use hashtags like ‘shoplocal’ or ‘supportsmallbusiness’ to reach users interested in supporting businesses like yours. And including a call to action like ‘Click the link in our bio to shop now!’ can help prompt users to make a purchase.

  • Keep Track of Competitors

As a small business owner, staying ahead of the competition is crucial. One way to accomplish this is to track what they’re doing on social media. Instagram is an excellent platform for this strategy because it’s visual and easy to use. Plus, there are plenty of features, and businesses of all sizes use them.

To start, you’ll want to create a list of your competitors. Next, you can start following them and looking at their posts. See what kind of content they share, what resonates with their audience, and what gets the most engagement. You can also look at their Instagram Stories to see what they’re up to daily.

Instagram has some great insights that can help you understand your competitors. For example, you can see how many followers they have, their engagement rate, and what time of day they’re most active. This information can be essential in tweaking your strategies.

  • Gain Access to a New Customer Base

In today’s digital age, a solid online presence is vital for any business that wants to succeed. And when building an online presence, only a few platforms are more effective than Instagram. That’s because Instagram provides businesses with a massive potential customer base. 

However, simply being on the platform isn’t enough businesses should know how to market effectively on Instagram. One way to achieve this is by sharing high-quality images and videos that showcase your products or services. 

Your content should be visually appealing and relevant to your target audience. In addition, make sure to use hashtags and location tags to make your content easy to find. And don’t forget to interact with other users—commenting on and liking their posts can help attract new followers. With a little effort, any business can use Instagram to reach a wide range of new customers.

  • Generate Traffic for Your Business Website

Small businesses can use Instagram to drive customers to their website in several ways. First, they can post engaging and visually appealing content highlighting their products or services. They can also include links to their website in their bio and in the captions of their posts.

Additionally, they can use relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience and run ads targeting potential clientele based on their interests and location. By utilizing these strategies, small businesses can effectively reach out to potential customers in their niche and encourage them to visit their website.

  • Track Business Performance and Success

Small businesses can use Instagram analytics to track their performance and measure the success of their business over time. To accomplish this, they need to understand the available data and how to interpret it.

For example, businesses can track the number of followers they have, their engagement rate for each post, and the reach of their posts. By keeping tabs on these metrics over time, businesses can gauge whether their Instagram marketing efforts are successful and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Furthermore, businesses can use Instagram analytics to examine the demographics of their followers and learn more about their target audience. This information can be used to create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. Overall, the use of Instagram analytics can help small businesses track their progress and assess their long-term success.

  • Creating Relationship with Other Businesses with Instagram

Small businesses can use Instagram to create relationships with other businesses in several ways. They can establish themselves as experts in their field by posting industry-related content so they can build trust with potential customers.

Moreover, small businesses can engage with industry leaders by commenting and liking their posts on social media. This has the potential to improve their visibility while also establishing trust in their business. 

Finally, using Instagram’s direct messaging feature, small businesses can reach out to other businesses directly and start building relationships. By using Instagram strategically, small businesses can create relationships that’ll help them succeed in the long run.

  • Access To Influencers

instagram

Social media influencers are essential in today’s marketing landscape. And Instagram is no exception. Influencers can help small businesses spread the word about their products or services and raise brand awareness. 

For example, businesses can collaborate with influencers on sponsored posts. This means that the chosen influencer promotes your product or service in exchange for a fee. Also, businesses can give influencers free products or services to try and then post about their experience. Alternatively, businesses can ask influencers to mention their business in a post or story. 

By working with social media influencers, small businesses can reach a wider audience and promote their products or services more effectively.

  • Customer Follow-Up

As a business owner, constantly thinking about ways to improve the customer experience is essential. Significantly, following up with clients after they purchase is the most effective strategy for accomplishing this. 

Meanwhile, Instagram provides businesses with an excellent platform for doing this. After a customer makes a purchase, companies can send them a direct message on Instagram and thank them for their business. They can also ask the customer how they’re enjoying the product or service and if there’s anything they need help with.

By following up with customers, businesses can show that they care about their experience and build loyalty over time.

  • Use Instagram for Major Business Announcements

Now and then, businesses need to make significant announcements. And what better way to do it than through Instagram?

Instagram is an excellent platform for making announcements because it allows businesses to reach a large audience quickly and easily. Plus, with features like Instagram Stories, small companies can add a personal touch to their announcements and make them more engaging.

So, whether you’re announcing a new product line or sharing news about a company expansion, Instagram is a great platform.

The Bottom Line of Utilizing Instagram

Instagram is known to be a powerful tool for small businesses. By utilizing the platform strategically, businesses can boost their growth in several ways. Instagram can help small businesses succeed by generating traffic to their website and tracking their business performance.

Additionally, by creating relationships with other businesses and working with social media influencers, small businesses can further increase their reach and boost their bottom line.

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5 Types of Services Every Small Business Needs

small-business

As a small business owner, you have many roles to fulfill. You are responsible for the management and growth of your company, which can be a full-time job in and of itself. On top of that, you also have to keep tabs on your finances, marketing efforts, employee morale, and so on.

It can be difficult to find the time and resources to do everything by yourself, which is why it’s important to delegate some tasks to other people or businesses. This is where outsourcing comes in.

There are a variety of services that every small business needs to function properly. While you may not be able to outsource all of them, delegating some of these tasks will free up your time so that you can focus on more important matters.

Bookkeeping services

Bookkeeping services are vital for any business, large or small. Keeping accurate records of income and expenditures is essential for financial planning and control. An experienced bookkeeper can save you time and money by maintaining your accounts efficiently and effectively.

Since you’re a small business, you can benefit greatly from online bookkeeping companies, such as Source Online Bookkeeping. Online bookkeepers are productive, they safely store all of your sensitive information, and they are generally more flexible than their in-office peers. There are many bookkeeping services available, so make sure you choose one that best suits your needs. 

Web design services for your small business

small-business

Your website is important for building your online presence. It is the first thing that people online will see about you, so you need a company that will offer you great web design services. There are plenty of affordable options available, so you don’t need to break the bank to get a great website. However, if you have specific requirements or want a more customized website, you may need to pay a bit more.

Once you’ve found a few potential web design services, it’s time to start getting quotes. Be sure to ask about their process, what kind of support they offer, and how much they charge. Getting all of this information upfront will help you make the best decision for your business. If you’re willing to risk a bit, platforms such as LinkedIn have tons of freelancers that will do the job almost as well as any big company out there.

Marketing and advertising services

Marketing services are professional services that help businesses promote and sell their products or services. They’ll help you reach your target audience faster and gain new, loyal customers in a short amount of time. There are many different types of marketing services available, and the right mix of services will vary depending on the business and its goals.

The most common services that small businesses need is market research, advertising, public relations, events planning, and increasing online and social media presence. For this purpose, you can hire a marketing agency that will promote your business, or you can do it yourself by exploring different strategies and trying them out. 

Small business consulting 

In essence, a consulting firm is an organization that helps businesses improve their performance by analyzing current problems and developing solutions. Consulting can also involve acting as an organization’s advocate in the public arena and providing support during periods of transition.

There are many reasons why businesses may seek out consultants. Sometimes, an outside perspective is necessary to help identify problems that have become entrenched within an organization. Other times, organizations may lack the internal resources or expertise needed to tackle a particular issue. Consulting can also be useful during periods of change, such as when a business is undergoing expansion or restructuring.

Human resources services

There are many reasons why human resources are important for businesses. Perhaps the most important reason is that the HR department is responsible for hiring and onboarding the people who make up the workforce. Without a strong and effective workforce, businesses would not be able to function properly or achieve their goals.

In addition to providing the workforce, human resources also play a vital role in ensuring that businesses are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. This includes keeping up with changing employment laws and ensuring that employees are treated fairly and equitably. They play a key role in employee retention, as they work to create a positive work environment and develop policies and procedures that encourage employees to stay with the company.

Bottom Line on Owning a Small Business

Small businesses have tons of positive sides to them, compared to any big player in the same industry. They are more flexible, implement changes successfully, and they shouldn’t be underestimated because of their size.

But small businesses also need the help of other companies that provide services that are necessary to actually succeed. By implementing the ones mentioned above, you will be setting your small business for success.

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How CNC Technology is Used in Manufacturing

CNC

CNC, short for computer numerical control, is a technology that’s been around a lot longer than you’d think. Indeed, it’s so well established that it has permeated almost every aspect of manufacturing over the decades.

If you’re thinking of entering this industry yourself, or you are just curious about the role that CNC tech plays in modern production processes, read on to learn about the different uses it has today.

CNC milling machines

While milling was traditionally done manually from the 18th century onwards, in the modern era the implementation of CNC solutions means that it can be handled with far more accuracy, repeatability and speed than ever before.

Milling is a subtractive form of manufacturing and involves rotating a cutting tool and removing material from a chosen workpiece with whatever degree of precision is required.

CNC mills come in all shapes and sizes, from small-scale machines suited to workshop use, to industrial-grade units. And because they are so in-demand, there’s a large market for secondhand examples. Revelation Machinery, a site for used mills for sale, is a great example of this, with an extensive range of units available.

CNC lathes

While mills may have a turning tool to do the cutting, in the case of a lathe it’s the workpiece that moves instead, while the tool stays stationary instead.

Lathes were originally conceived for woodturning, although metalworking eventually became an important aspect of what they did for manufacturers. In the 21st century, they can be deployed in combination with all sorts of materials and offer the same reliability and precise operation as mills thanks to CNC systems and digital workflows being integrated alongside them.

3D printing

CNC

As an additive form of manufacturing, 3D printing is a more recent arrival on the mainstream scene than mills and lathes. Even so, it still relies on CNC code to determine the movement of the extrusion heads that place the material on the work beds and build up the desired output object layer by layer.

3D printers are particularly good for mocking up prototypes, because they can do so quickly and easily without creating as much waste or costing as much in terms of the materials involved. They can also be used in lots of other areas, from repair and maintenance to product packaging and beyond, so they really are incredibly flexible.

CNC laser machines

Like 3D printing, the use of lasers in manufacturing is a relatively modern development, although the technology itself has been around for over half a century.

There are lots of advantages to choosing laser-based CNC equipment over more traditional equivalents, chief among which is the fact that no tooling comes in direct contact with the material. This means that there’s less damage done to the surrounding material when cutting, etching or engraving takes place, and thus lower levels of waste.

Another upshot of how lasers function is that the accuracy is greater than you’ll find from superficially similar equipment, such as plasma cutters. So, for uses which require tight tolerances, CNC-operated laser machinery takes the lead.

CNC electrical discharge machine

Following on from CNC laser machines, the interaction with materials in electrical discharge machines is achieved via a powerful current, or spark.

Materials are positioned between a pair of electrodes, and the proportion of the discharge is carefully managed by software and hardware alike to achieve the desired results.

Electrical discharge machining is used to do everything from rapid prototyping to the drilling of small holes.

Pick and place equipment

Elsewhere in the production process, CNC solutions can be put to work to reduce the amount of manual labor needed when making more complex products, such as smartphones and other electrical goods.

So-called pick and place machines are used to maneuver circuitry into the exact location it needs to be on the line, often pulling it from a nearby stack or bin, and allowing this to be done far faster than any flesh and blood worker could achieve.

Final thoughts

There is a CNC machine for almost every part of manufacturing, and this technology is used throughout the development of almost every modern product. Even with the emergence of other techniques and tools, CNC looks set to stick around indefinitely.

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10 Useful Tips for Making Excel Checklists

excel

Checklists are a great way to stay organized and ensure that all of your tasks are completed. But if you’re not using the right software, they can be a pain to create and manage. Excel is one of the best programs you can use.

Excel is a powerful tool that can help you create beautiful and functional checklists. With a little bit of know-how, you can use Excel to streamline your checklist-making process. Here are 10 tips to get you started:

  1. Use conditional formatting to highlight overdue items. 
  2. Create drop-down lists for easy data entry. 
  3. Use icons or color coding to visually organize your Excel checklist. 
  4. Take advantage of Excel’s filtering features to quickly find what you’re looking for. 
  5. Use data validation to prevent errors. 
  6. Protect your checklist with a password to prevent accidental deletion or modification. 
  7. Save time by creating a template. 
  8. Use keyboard shortcuts to quickly insert or delete rows. 
  9. Use formulas to automate your checklist. 
  10. Track progress with charts and graphs.

1. Use Conditional Formatting to Highlight Overdue Items

excel

If you’re using your checklist to track deadlines, then it’s important to be able to quickly see which items are overdue. You can do this by using Excel’s conditional formatting feature.

To use conditional formatting, select the cells that you want to format and then click on the “Conditional Formatting” button in the “Styles” group on the “Home” tab.

In the “Conditional Formatting Rules” dialog box, select “Format only cells that contain” from the first drop-down list and then choose “Cell Value” from the second drop-down list.

Next, enter the criteria that you want to use for highlighting overdue items. For example, you could use a formula like =TODAY()>A2 to format all cells in column A that contain a date that is greater than today’s date.

Click on the “Format” button to choose how you want the overdue items to be highlighted. For example, you could use a red font color or a cell fill color.

Click on the “OK” button to apply the conditional formatting rule.

2. Create Drop-Down Lists for Easy Data Entry

If your checklist contains items that fall into predefined categories, then you can make data entry easier by creating drop-down lists. This way, you can simply select an item from the list instead of having to type it out each time.

To create a drop-down list, select the cells that you want to contain the list and then click on the “Data Validation” button in the “Data Tools” group on the “Data” tab.

In the “Data Validation” dialog box, select “List” from the “Allow” drop-down list.

Next, enter the values that you want to be included in the list, separated by commas. For example, if you’re creating a list of tasks, you could enter something like: Call John, Send Email, Follow up with Jane.

If you want to allow multiple selections from the list, then select the “multi-select” option. Otherwise, leave it unselected.

Click on the “OK” button to apply the data validation rule.

3. Use Icons or Color Coding to Visually Organize Your Checklist

Excel’s built-in conditional formatting features can be used for more than just highlighting cells. You can also use them to visually organize your checklist by adding icons or color coding to items that meet certain criteria.

For example, you could use a green fill color for items that are completed and a red fill color for items that are overdue. Or you could use icons to indicate the urgency of an item or the level of importance.

To add icons, select the cells that you want to format and then click on the “Conditional Formatting” button in the “Styles” group on the “Home” tab.

4. Take Advantage of Excel’s Filtering Features to Quickly Find What You’re Looking For

If your checklist contains a lot of data, then you can use Excel’s filtering features to quickly find the information that you’re looking for.

To filter a list, select any cell in the list and then click on the “Filter” button in the “Sort & Filter” group on the “Data” tab.

This will insert drop-down arrows next to each column header. You can use these drop-down menus to filter the list by criteria that you specify. For example, you could use them to only view items that are overdue or items that are assigned to a specific person.

5. Use Data Validation to Prevent Errors

If your checklist is used for data entry, then it’s important to make sure that the data is entered correctly. One way to do this is to use Excel’s data validation feature.

Data validation allows you to specify the type of data that can be entered into a cell and also provides you with the option to create drop-down lists. This way, you can control the format of the data and also make sure that only valid entries are made.

To use data validation, select the cells that you want to validate and then click on the “Data Validation” button in the “Data Tools” group on the “Data” tab.

In the “Data Validation” dialog box, select the “Settings” tab and then choose the type of validation that you want to use from the “Validation criteria” drop-down list.

You can also specify a custom error message that will be displayed if an invalid entry is made.

Click on the “OK” button to apply the data validation rule.

6. Use Formulas to Automate Your Checklist

If your checklist contains items that need to be completed on a regular basis, then you can use Excel’s formulas to automate the process. For example, you could use a formula to calculate the due date for each item based on the frequency with which it needs to be done.

To do this, select the cell in which you want the formula to be entered and then type =TODAY()+7 (or whatever interval is appropriate). This formula will calculate the due date as seven days from the current date.

You can also use formulas to automatically flag items that are overdue. To do this, select the cell in which you want the formula to be entered and then type =IF(TODAY()>A2, “Overdue”, “”). This formula will check the date in column A and will return the word “Overdue” if the date is in the past. Otherwise, it will return an empty string.

7. Use Pivot Tables to Analyze Your Checklist Data

If your checklist contains a lot of data, then you can use Excel’s pivot table feature to summarize and analyze that data. Pivot tables allow you to quickly see how your data is distributed and also to identify any trends.

To create a pivot table, select any cell in your data and then click on the “PivotTable” button in the “Tables” group on the “Insert” tab.

In the “Create PivotTable” dialog box, make sure that the correct data range is selected and then choose where you want the pivot table to be placed.

Click on the “OK” button to insert the pivot table.

8. Use Conditional Formatting to Highlight Important Items

excel

Excel’s conditional formatting feature allows you to quickly identify items that meet certain criteria. For example, you could use it to highlight items that are overdue or items that have been completed.

To use conditional formatting, select the cells that you want to format and then click on the “Conditional Formatting” button in the “Styles” group on the “Home” tab.

In the “Conditional Formatting Rules” dialog box, click on the “New Rule” button.

In the “Select a Rule Type” dialog box, select the type of rule that you want to create and then click on the “OK” button.

9. Use Macros to Automate Repetitive Tasks

If you find yourself performing the same task over and over again, then you can use Excel’s macro recording feature to automate that task. Macro recording allows you to record your actions and then play them back later.

To record a macro, click on the “Developer” tab and then click on the “Record Macro” button in the “Code” group.

In the “Record Macro” dialog box, enter a name for your macro and then choose where you want to store it. 

Click on the “OK” button to start recording.

 Perform the actions that you want to automate. When you’re finished, click on the “Stop Recording” button.

Your macro will now be saved and can be run by clicking on the “Run Macro” button.

10. Use Templates to Save Time

Excel comes with a wide variety of built-in templates that you can use to save time and effort. Templates are pre-designed spreadsheet files that you can use for various purposes such as invoicing, tracking inventory, and managing projects.

To access the templates, click on the “File” tab and then click on the “New” button.

In the “Available Templates” section, select the template that you want to use and then click on the “Create” button.

Excel will now create a new workbook based on the template that you selected. You can then modify it to suit your needs.

Checklists are a great way to organize and track information in Excel. By following the tips above, you can make sure that your Excel checklists are efficient and effective. Stay safe!

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