Aug 19, 2016
Original Article: http://smallbiztrends.com/2016/08/small-business-infrastructure.html
When you first start a business, you have your work cut out for you. Not only do you have to figure out if you have a viable product that people will actually pay you for, but you have to also find your customers, manage administrative tasks and deal with your staff, if you have one. Get started by building your infrastructure with this important checklist.
Checklist for Building Your Business Infrastructure
1. A Blogging Platform
One of the first marketing tasks you should put on your list is to create a business blog. WordPress makes it easy (and it’s free. Bonus!). This content management system doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to use, and will make creating consistent content for your audience a breeze.
Bonus Tip: Not only is WordPress great for your blog, but it also can be the platform for your website. More and more people are using it to create easily-manageable websites with professional templates rather than shelling out a ton of money to a web designer.
2. Accounting Software
It is imperative that you have a system to manage your finances in place from the start. Accounting software like FreshBooks or QuickBooks simplifies keeping up with your expenses, and you can do other cool things like invoice clients, pay vendors and track your time spent on client projects.
Bonus Tip: Open a bank account for your business so you separate your company’s finances from your personal accounts. This will make tax time a lot easier too.
3. Customer Relationship Management Software
Every small business needs CRM. Being able to track emails and conversations with potential customers and monitor their activity on social media can help you make more sales. You might only have a few customers early on, but as your business grows, those numbers will increase, and it will become harder to manage them all without a great CRM system in place.
Bonus Tip: Some CRMs on the market double as a project management tool, so use it to assign yourself and your team tasks related to marketing and sales.
4. Social Media Profiles
Before you say that you don’t need social media accounts so early in the game, consider that 65 percent of adults have social profiles. If you’re trying to reach your audience, chances are they’re spending significant time on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Keep your profile updated with relevant content, special offers and interaction with other users, and you’ll likely see a bump in traffic to your website.
Bonus Tip: Only set up accounts on two to three social channels where you know your audience spends time. Any more than that, and you’ll have trouble keeping up with all your accounts (which won’t do you any good if your customers aren’t there).
5. Cloud Storage
Storing documents on your computer is so 2010. Now there are cloud-based platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive and Box that allow you to create and/or store documents, photos, videos and more in the cloud. This frees up your computer, helping it run faster. You can also access these documents from anywhere and on any device, as well as share them with others for collaboration purposes.
Bonus Tip: Get into the habit of saving your documents directly to your cloud storage rather than locally and then making a backup copy of them. You’ll free up even more space on your computer. Most come with a downloadable version of the software that will place a folder shortcut in your navigation, which makes storing your documents online a breeze.
These are just a few of the tools that can help you start off on the right foot with your new business. Over time, find other apps and software that can make your work easier, and you’ll have more time to focus on strategizing how to grow your new endeavor!
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB’s grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.