Top 5 IT Things Startup Business Owners Should Know
Building a new startup company from the ground up isn’t an easy task. New business owners are constantly on the look out for ways to save both time and money. Keeping track of all the new documentation, contracts, and other business data can be overwhelming, costly, and present several challenges.
Working with several different types of small businesses has given us insight to some common hurdles that can easily be overcome. In response to this, we’ve put together the top 5 things that new business owners should know when developing their business plan that will help them get on the path to success.
✔ Business Email
✔ Dedicated Business Phone Number
✔ Password Manager
✔ Data/File Storage
✔ Business-Built Computer
Too often, we see business email addresses ending in @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, and sometimes, we even still see the occasional @aol.com (yes, we said AOL). Don’t get us wrong, they’ve been in the game for quite a while and provide an exceptional email experience. But not to worry, with your own email domain, you can still utilize your favorite email provider’s platform. We’re not breaking up with them, we’re just not going to take their last name.
There are a few benefits to using your own email domain opposed to the one provided to you for free from your provider. First, it just looks better, and we can prove it:
firstname.lastname@example.org vs email@example.com
Not only does the second example look more professional, but it also serves as free advertisement and helps create brand awareness for your business. Using a professional looking business email also gives your business a little more credibility. From your marketing efforts to your direct outreaches, a business domain address is far more likely to leave a positive impression than the silly email address you think is cool and funny (we think it’s cool, too).
You also receive the benefit of unlimited username availability. This allows you to create a consistent naming convention for your business when you expand and begin to hire more employees. The same should be said for purpose-based inboxes such as info@, purchasing@, help@, etc. -good luck securing one of those from Gmail or Yahoo.
Dedicated Business Phone Number
As with the business email domain, having your own dedicated business phone number creates a sense of legitimacy, making your business appear more credible. Additionally, features such as a call attendant, routing menus, time schedules and more make communication easier for both you and your customers. With the help of VoIP (voice over internet protocol), securing a dedicated phone number for your business is easy, affordable, and flexible.
VoIP phone plans offer a variety of options to get started. With many plans, you’re able to either utilize an existing business phone or simply use your computer or smartphone. With some plans, you can utilize several devices to receive calls simultaneously across your pc, phone, tablet, etc.
✔ Phone with adapter – Pairing an analog phone with a VoIP adapter that connects to the internet
✔ Dedicated VoIP phone – Similar to standard phone, but connects to a computer or internet
✔ Smartphone – Download provider application that enables calls to be made over the internet
✔ Computer or tablet – As with smartphones, applications essentially make devices VoIP phones
Choosing which method to use will depend on your requirements and budget. Most VoIP providers offer plans that are easily expandable and can be upgraded as your staff or business requirements grow.
A good password manager will help you save more time than it will money; although, being locked out of an important account could become costly. Both Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome have password managers built into their web browsers, but there are also lesser-known alternatives that offer a lot of other useful features.
✔ Securely store all your accounts and passwords in one place
✔ Access credentials from unlimited devices
✔ Create lengthy, strong passwords without the need to remember them
✔ Easily and securely share credentials with your team
✔ Approve 2FA/MFA push notifications automatically
With cybercrime on the rise, and attacks becoming more sophisticated, securing your business data and employees is more critical than ever. Many solutions come equipped with user management tools, allowing you to control the level of security that’s best for your organization.
Proper electronic file storage practices help keep your business documents organized and secure. There are essentially two main types of electronic file storage -on premise, and cloud-based. On premise storage utilizes your organization’s local hardware and software, whereas cloud-based utilizes remote servers. For a start up business, we recommend a cloud-based storage solutions for several reasons ranging from cost to user friendliness.
Automatically saving, syncing, and backing up documents, while also granting your team access, are just a couple benefits of services like Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. Combine one of these options with a third-party backup solution for ultimate protection and peace of mind. Both well-known cloud solutions offer similar features, so, how should you decide which one is best for your business?
The easiest way to choose is to match it with whichever business application suite your business is already using or intends to use. If your business likes to use Microsoft Office products, go with Microsoft OneDrive. On the other hand, if your used to using Google Suite, go with Google Drive. If you don’t really use either Office or Suite products, then it may come down to what’s more important to you -free storage, or a more robust feature set for syncing, file sharing, and privacy?
If you’re just after some free or inexpensive cloud storage, Google Drive is the way to go. While Microsoft OneDrive does offer a free plan, it's not quite as large as it’s counterpart. From our experiences, many new businesses will easily surpass the free storage limits either option provides. If your new business is hiring staff, or intends to anytime soon, Microsoft OneDrive’s upper hand with the collaboration features like syncing and filesharing will go a long way.
Both Microsoft and Google make migrating from one to the other a breeze, so just like with our business emails, we’re not getting married to either (although we know which we would tie the knot with...). If you’re still unsure which option is best for your business, give us a call or send us an email -we’re more than happy to help you make the best decision.
So far, we’ve covered email, phones, passwords, and file storage, none of which will matter to you much if your computer is a thing of the past. We don’t mean to be harsh, but your computer shouldn’t be old enough to drive a car (and the same goes for your computer’s operating system). There are options to consider that relate to both hardware and software when building a workhorse computer. For recommending a business-built computer, we assume you’ve not crossed into the dark side and are looking at computers running Windows operating system (don’t worry, Macs can run Windows too).
One of the most important hardware factors to consider is your computer’s hard drive. There are two main types of hard drives that we’re going to focus on: SSD (solid state drive) and HHD (hard disk drive). Without getting too techy, the main differences come down to their performance, and their cost.
HDDs utilize moving parts, making them slower and more likely to lose efficiency overtime as data becomes fragmented. SSDs do not have moving parts, making data access much quicker and in many cases almost simultaneously. As you might have guessed, the SSDs are more expensive than their traditional counterparts; although, price difference has been less substantial over the years. If you’re not totally convinced SSD is the way to go, there are builds that utilize small SSDs for the sole purpose of storing your operating system, allowing your computer to boot and process quickly, while utilizing HDD for additional storage -the best of both.
The other main consideration when purchasing a business-built computer is going to be which Microsoft Windows license to choose. Although Microsoft released Windows 11 in October 2021, we still do not recommend it for business use yet. Instead, Microsoft offers Windows 10 in two versions: Home and Pro.
With the Pro license, you receive all the same features as Home and more. Two big ones are BitLocker device encryption and Windows Information Protection. Fundamentally, both versions offer the usual feature set you’d expect out of any modern operating system; however, the Pro license really sets itself apart with it’s added security and business management features. To learn more about the differences between the two, checkout our article that breaks down the details: Windows Pro vs Home Editions: Why We Encourage Windows Pro for Businesses
With any new startup business, we understand budgets and other resources are limited. With that being said, we feel that these few recommendations are both affordable and offer significant value to you and your team, your customers, and your business altogether. Investing in technology for your business in its’ early stages will not only help you stay organized, productive, and ready to grow, but it will also help your business save money and reduce headaches in the future.
We love working with all types of businesses, new and old, small and large. Our goal is simple. We stride to empower businesses with technology solutions to keep them efficient, secure, and profitable.
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