Let’s start with the blatantly obvious: whether your business offers iPad repair services, consulting advice, the best all-natural herbal tea in the country (make that the world), or any other solution, you know that technology is going to play a central role in your success story.
However, choosing the right business technology can be difficult—and frustrating. With so much to choose from and price tags starting in the hundreds and rising well into the thousands, making the wrong choices can set your business back; and in extreme cases, put you on-track towards an unwanted sell-off or a catastrophic shut-down.
The good news is that you don’t have to undergo a risky “trial and error” process to get the fundamental business technologies you need. Instead, you can use this list to guide your shopping efforts:
Arguably the most important business technology on your roster is a website/CMS platform. You want to find the right blend of: performance, features, flexibility, customization, ease-of-use, and scalability. Also keep in mind that even if you outsource your web development (and many small businesses take that route), you want to ensure that you—and not a third party—has full ownership of your platform, and if need be, you can re-take control.
Network and endpoint security software
In the early days of the internet, most businesses could install a copy signature-based anti-virus software, and be reasonably assured that they wouldn’t be the victim of a cyber attack. Well, those days are long, long over. In fact, today’s hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, because they’re easier to breach vs. large enterprises (house burglars call this “going after low-hanging fruit”). Ensure that you evaluate and choose robust, enterprise-grade network and endpoint security software to keep your data and your reputation safe from the bad guys.
Project management software
It doesn’t matter what your business does or provides—you could be a wedding planner, dog walker or architect—you work on projects, and probably more than you may realize. Indeed, everything is a project, which means that you need excellent project management software to get various initiatives to the finish line on time, in budget, and in scope. Look for a solution that is powerful, secure, intuitive, scalable, flexible, and cloud-based so that you can access it from anywhere vs. select licensed machines and devices.
Brand presence management software
You may not yet be familiar with this technology, but it’s going to be a staple of the business technology vocabulary for decades to come. Essentially, brand presence management software helps you inventory, track, monitor, and secure your brand across social media and the web—including on accounts and platforms that you don’t own and operate (e.g. customers may reference your brand on their personal Facebook page, etc.). Also keep in mind that if you operate in fields such as financial services or the mortgage industry, keeping a close on your brand and ensuring that the right messages are being sent in the right ways isn’t just a best practice: it’s an obligation.
Whether your business is poised for launch or has been in the game for a few months or years, you know that choosing the right technology can be the difference between on-boarding new customers and generating ample profit—or lying awake in bed at night worrying about what the future has in store. While none of the above business technologies are magic wands or silver bullets, they can certainly help you enjoy many profitable days and sleep-filled nights!