The IT industry has become the driving force of all sectors today. This is because now we have all kinds of technologies to help us learn new skills, develop healthier lifestyles, travel faster and safer, and more.
However, it goes without saying that the startup industry is benefiting the most from the marvels of modern technologies and advanced software programs that were once within the reach of only large enterprises.
If you are a small business owner yourself and want to take it to the next level, the following are some of the ways you can use online services today:
1. Cloud-Based Collaboration
You don’t need to be hard-pressed to list the benefits of cloud technology or how “the cloud” can empower business. The value in the technology is apparent and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that most organizations, both big and small, will be using a variety of cloud services in the near future even though in-house services aren’t going anywhere anytime soon either.
An affordable and reliable cloud-based collaboration system such as Google’s G Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365 can make working with your team easier, simpler and safer. You don’t have to worry about upscaling as you can increase storage and number of users on the go. If you are working with remote workers, then collaboration can be streamlined. Also, you use the cloud storage to store the backups of your important files too.
2. Branding and Graphic Designing
The majority of entrepreneurs understand the importance of branding today. However, they don’t want to use their capital when there are other important areas such as product development and sales. Fortunately, now you can use different kinds of online services to do all the design work yourself for a modest fee, or even free!
For starters, if you want to create a unique and attractive logo for your company, then you can use the tailor brand logo generator which is an advanced logo designer that uses artificial intelligence technology to understand your requirements. You don’t even have to do much in the entire process other than making a few choices to help the program create the design for you. It’s really simple and costs no more than what you spend on a decent meal.
There are many other graphic design and image editing programs that you can use to design social media banners (Adobe Spark, Ripl), infographics (Easel.ly, Canva, Dipity), websites (GIMP, Adobe Dreamweaver), etc.
3. Data Security and Privacy
As a business owner, you collect and share tons of data on an ongoing basis. It includes the communication and financial records of your customers, vendors, business partners, and other entities. However, with data thefts and malware attacks becoming more and more prevalent, and considering the fact that the most popular CMS i.e. WordPress itself has become a prime target for attackers, you absolutely need a robust security system.
The first thing that you can do is invest in a decent VPN service that can protect all your office devices and smartphones that your team may use when visiting a site or when traveling. This is because you just can’t trust the public Wi-Fi hotspots. However, a VPN can ensure that the data you send or receive from your smartphones or laptops is encrypted and protected.
You should also make your website more secure by installing an SSL certificate on it. Most web hosting service providers offer easy one-click installation.
4. Digital Marketing
There are still some old-school companies that don’t believe in the new ways of marketing. However, the fact is that digital marketing isn’t overrated; far from it, it’s actually opened new avenues for better customer service, high conversion rates, and access to larger markets with little to no investment.
Digital marketing is incredibly powerful, but it can be quite overwhelming too as it’s comprised of several elements including social media, email, blogs, websites, etc. However, you can manage all of these by using the right tools. For instance, you can use social media management tools like Hootsuite to create and monitor your social media campaigns on all the major platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Similarly, you can use a marketing automation program like MailChimp to make email marketing easier.
5. Accounting and Expense Management
It’s hard to deny that bookkeeping, tax management, invoice and expense tracking can be quite a pain in the neck. However, there are specialized tools for all of these tasks as well.
Programs like QuickBooks can simplify otherwise complicated tasks like cash flow management, accounting, invoicing, etc. You don’t even need to hire a full-time accountant once you get the hang of it. In the same way, if taxes make you want to pull your hair out, then you can just use a software like Intuit’s TurboTax Business that customizes your tax documents by asking you a few basic questions. You can also export your profit and loss data directly to the program for convenience if you use a program like QuickBooks. Otherwise, it can guide you through the entire process step-by-step.
6. Customer Service
The key to a successful business is unparalleled customer service. However, what can you do if your budget doesn’t allow you to hire a customer support executive? Well, how about an automation service that can mimic a person and even work for 24 hours a day every day for you? That’s exactly what the advanced chatbots are all about.
Clare.AI, ChatBot, and Botsify are some of the most popular chatbots that are used by startups across the globe to improve their customer service. These programs are designed to answer your customers’ queries almost instantly and in real-time. They are available to help your customers even when your office is closed, and allow you to add your own scripts if you want to offer a more personalized service to your customers.
Gone are the days when only the big players controlled the markets. Thanks to new affordable technologies and online services, today even small startups in different corners of the world are spearheading new innovations and bringing a positive change in the world. The tools discussed above shed light on the same idea, and hopefully, you will benefit from them as well. Good luck!