Starting your own business can be a very daunting prospect and will likely involve a lot of responsibilities that you have no previous experience with. Luckily, there is plenty of helpful and inexpensive software available to help make the launch of your new business as painless as possible.
The Importance of the Right Tools
The right software is imperative. Having the right software will save you time, money, and help relieve stress. When your business is just getting off of the ground, you must focus on the things you do well. This includes serving customers, leading your team, innovating, or sales.
Having powerful software that helps take care of the rest can help your business grow. In the past, entrepreneurs needed to hire a staff to help run and grow their businesses. Today, several tools help automate tasks. And the best part is that many of these tools are affordable and easy to use.
In this post, we will break down the basic types of software your business needs. We will also recommend some of the best options for each type of software.
Finances and accounting
You may have experience managing finances at home but doing the books for a business is a much bigger task. Even if you have some previous experience working in finance, you often work as part of a team and have superiors to answer to – once you run your own business you will be responsible for every penny that goes in and out.
This along with things like taxes, invoicing, saving, reinvesting, and payroll is all issues that startups have to learn to manage themselves. All while having to run an actual business. Because of all of this necessary juggling, it is common for new entrepreneurs to make several accounting and finance mistakes.
Here are some of the common mistakes new entrepreneurs and startups make when it comes to accounting and finance:
Don’t separate personal and business finances
This is one of the more common mistakes for new entrepreneurs. However, it is more common with sole proprietors and those who run a single-person LLC. Not separating personal and business finances creates the possibility for disaster in the future. Especially if your business gets audited or if you seek funding in the future from investors or any financial institution.
Lack of adequate budgeting for projects
Startups of all sizes often make this mistake. It is also still common with established businesses. If you are not properly budgeting for your marketing, sales, and product development projects, you will most likely go over budget. Doing this may eat into your profits and make a successful project bitter-sweet.
Not setting money aside for taxes
This is one of the biggest (and also the most easily avoidable) mistakes made by new entrepreneurs. When the revenue begins to come in, it is tempting to use all of that money to pay yourself or reinvest. But doing so without setting aside money from profits for taxes will create a nightmare come tax time.
Focusing on revenue while ignoring profitability
One of the key things that need to be monitored closely is your business’s revenue vs profits. Many startups get excited when they look at their revenue numbers. When you’re first starting, it is important to get the money coming in. But once it does, one of the next steps is to increase profits. Profitability is a great measure of your business’s health.
Don’t use the correct accounting software
Using your bank’s online tools, a spreadsheet, or notebook for accounting is a huge mistake. However, many new entrepreneurs still make mistakes. Depending on your type of business, you may just need simple accounting. However, it is best to find software that also helps with invoicing, profit and loss, as well as tax accounting.
There are several options for accounting software. Quickbooks is one of the most widely used. There are budget-friendly options such as the Waveapp. However, we think that the overall best option is Freshbooks. This is probably the best software platform available for businesses of various sizes. You get the most bang for your buck and they also offer a lite option that is affordable for new startups.
Every business needs to have effective communication both between the client and organization, as well as amongst employees. You have likely used a company email address before and when you start your own business you should look into setting up your domain name. Not only will this benefit you in terms of web development and marketing but it will look far more professional than having a generic Gmail or Outlook email address.
You can set up a domain name quickly and cheaply through Google Mail – give this a lot of thought, as you don’t want an email address that’s too long or too obscure. You should also register for a video conferencing service like Zoom to enable you to meet with clients or suppliers from anywhere, at any time.
Good marketing is essential for a new business to get your name out there and build a reputation amongst your potential customer base. You can easily and cheaply outsource website development to create a solid foundation for your marketing efforts, but it is not enough to just have an online presence, you need to be more active with your engagement.
You can do this through the use of social media and email marketing – software like MailChimp or Hootsuite can help you manage this. Both of these providers have a free option, which can be plenty for a new business, with the opportunity to upgrade your membership as your company grows.
Some common marketing tools and platforms to use:
- Social Pilot-This is our pick for the best alternative to Hootsuite. This does just about everything that many of the other platforms do but is much more cost-effective.
- Coschedule-This is another option that can help manage marketing projects.
- Planoly-Great scheduling option for Instagram marketing.
- MailerLite-A super underrated platform. MailerLite has all of the essentials you need for your email marketing. Very user-friendly but has a wealth of features. Also, the cost is much less than many of its competitors.
- Constant Contact-Probably the best overall email platform for startups and small businesses. Basic and advanced features are available at a lower cost than MailChimp.
It’s important to have virus protection on any device you use to protect personal details and files. In business, it is essential as you will likely be storing client details, financial information as well as the very work you are getting paid to do. If your device or server falls victim to a cyber-attack or malware you could end up losing your livelihood, something you may not be able to recover from.
On a smaller scale, a breach in your internet security can significantly halt operations and put you massively behind schedule. So, if you cannot yet afford to outsource your IT services you should invest in antivirus software like McAfee or Norton Security.