A big part of entrepreneurship is learning how to do things that we may have taken for granted when we worked for an employer. For example, daily schedules and working hours are set by employers. However, entrepreneurs need to decide what time, days, and hours work best for them. The same can be true when it comes to the technology we use to run our businesses. When employees start work, their desktops and laptops are already equipped with the software needed to help them do their jobs. As entrepreneurs, we need to be able to find what we need and use those things to the best of our abilities.
This usually starts with turning our primary working device, our computers, into business building machines. While traditional businesses often require brick-and-mortar establishments, numerous modern models thrive online. In fact, there are a lot of businesses you can run from your laptop. This means that for some entrepreneurs, their laptop is their storefront, marketing department, and warehouse. In today’s article, we’ll be looking at ways you can better run your entire business from your laptop.
Choosing the Right Laptop for Your Needs
It may seem like just about any laptop will help you run your business, but the truth is different laptops have different purposes. If you are serious about creating a profitable business, you should have a laptop that can do more than send emails.
Some of the best business laptops around include the Dell XPS line. These are among some of the best Windows laptops on the market. The Macbook Air can be a great choice if you prefer iOS.
If you think a budget business laptop is more what you need, the Microsoft Surface Go and the Acer Aspire are worth looking into. A surprisingly good budget laptop on the higher end of the price spectrum is the Lenovo ThinkBook. While the Surface Go and Aspire are closer to $700, the ThinkBook is around $1,000.
Although it is a good idea to have a separate laptop for business, you may want to get a laptop for business and personal use. In that case, along with some of the previously mentioned devices, the HP Envy or Lenovo Yoga may do.
Choosing the best laptop for your needs really does depend on what you are going to be doing with your workday. Once you find the right one, you can move on to making sure the device is used in the best possible way to help your business grow.
Secure Your Data
When using a laptop to run a business, securing data is extremely important. Data breaches and cyber attacks are becoming more frequent in the digital age, and they can have serious consequences for businesses, including loss of revenue and harm to their reputation. Make sure that all sensitive data is encrypted first. Sensitive information like bank records, client information, and business plans, must be protected. Encryption is the act of transforming data into a code to prevent unwanted access.
Creating strong, one-of-a-kind passwords for each of your accounts and changing them frequently is another essential step. To safely keep track of these passwords, think about utilizing a password manager. Whenever possible, use two-factor authentication (2FA) to increase security. A combination of something you have (like a phone), something you know (like a password), or something you are (like a fingerprint) is usually used in this.
Update your software on a regular basis. This includes the operating system, antivirus software, and other apps. Patches for security flaws found since the software’s most recent release are frequently included in these upgrades. If you don’t upgrade, your laptop could become vulnerable to hackers.
Make frequent data backups. External hard drives or cloud storage services can be used for this. Frequent backups guarantee that your company’s critical data is not lost in the case of a data breach, system failure, or physical damage to your laptop.
Finally, familiarize yourself with prevalent cyber threats including malware, ransomware, and phishing. Being aware of the warning signs is essential to avoid unwanted access to your data. To assess the unique dangers facing your company and provide customized security recommendations, think about speaking with or employing a cybersecurity specialist.
Personalize Your Laptop
When using a laptop for business, personalization is an important piece. Customizing your laptop involves configuring it to meet your business goals and increase productivity, rather than just using your favorite photo as the background. Customize your desktop and user interface to fit your working style first. Arrange the folders and desktop icons such that frequently used apps and documents are readily accessible. Add shortcuts to your frequently used apps to the taskbar or dock.
Adjust the laptop’s settings to best suit your working style. Especially if you’re working long hours, adjust the display’s brightness and color temperature to lessen eye strain. Adjust the scaling settings on your laptop’s high-resolution display for the best possible visibility and comfort.
Adding productivity tools to your laptop can greatly improve its performance. Think about tools for communication, note-taking, project management, and time management. For managing tasks and collecting notes, apps like Evernote and Trello can be quite helpful. Also, investigate automation technologies that can manage monotonous jobs so you may devote more of your time to important business-related activities.
You may also want to think about the tangible components of customization. If you’re not happy with the built-in keyboard and mouse, this also involves selecting an ergonomic and comfy keyboard and mouse. Adding a laptop stand or an extra display to your desk can also significantly improve your everyday comfort and productivity.
Don’t wait until you begin to feel pains in your wrist, neck, and back before you make adjustments that will help you work more comfortably.
Organize Your Digital Workspace
Keeping your digital workspace organized is essential to using your laptop for productive laptop business operations. A digital workspace that is well-organized can result in a more efficient workflow, lower stress levels, and more production. Organize your digital area first. Examine the files and programs on your laptop and remove anything that is unnecessary. This not only frees up space but also facilitates finding files and applications that are necessary.
Create a standardized folder structure and file naming scheme. Although it may seem insignificant, this is crucial for finding files fast when you need them. Make primary folders for each department in your company, such as Finance, Marketing, Administration, and Client Projects. Include subfolders for certain clients, projects, or years within them. To prevent confusion, stick to your naming conventions consistently.
Utilize technology to your advantage to stay organized. Task management tools can help you stay on top of your to-do list and deadlines, while calendar apps can assist you in managing your schedule. Project management software such as Asana and Monday.com can be particularly useful when working with a team on larger projects.
Review and improve your system of organizing regularly. Your organizational demands will evolve along with your business. Every so often, set aside some time to assess your digital workspace and make any necessary corrections. This can involve finding new tools to increase your productivity, organizing your folders more efficiently, or archiving outdated files.
You can work more productively and efficiently by following these steps to set up a well-organized, customized digital workspace on your laptop that meets your unique business requirements.
Utilize Cloud-Based Solutions
Today’s business landscape is increasingly reliant on the cloud, marking a significant evolution from traditional practices. The old approach of binding corporate data and collaborative projects to tangible hardware is becoming obsolete. Even for a single-person small business. Everyone now leverages the cloud to harness the internet’s capabilities to some degree. When you’re running your business from your laptop, so should you.
This transition to cloud-based strategies represents a fundamental change in business operations. It’s not just a technological upgrade. Cloud-based tools like Trello or Asana present a structured view of project tasks and progress. This helps individuals and teams efficiently manage, delegate, and complete tasks. For financial management, platforms like QuickBooks or FreshBooks offer simplified accounting solutions.
Use Distraction-Free Tools
Distractions are the enemies of entrepreneurs. Especially those distractions that come in digital forms. How many times have you needed to get something done, open your laptop, and find yourself 15 minutes later on YouTube watching something completely unrelated? From social media alerts to email notifications, these interruptions can undermine efficiency.
It’s not enough to try to be disciplined. To beat these productivity killers you need the help of technology. Applications like RescueTime analyze daily online activities. They pinpoint areas where time is lost and suggest methods to minimize these distractions. Understanding these time-draining habits allows for the development of more effective work techniques.
For people struggling to resist specific websites or applications, programs like Cold Turkey or Freedom can help. They restrict access to chosen sites during essential working hours, maintaining a distraction-free digital environment.
Also, tools that use the Pomodoro Technique can help. For example, applications like TomatoTimer help you create concentrated work periods intertwined with brief breaks. This cycle of intense focus followed by rest enhances mental sharpness and prolongs attention span. I have used this several times when I’m on a tight schedule.
It’s not just digital interruptions; even background noise can disrupt concentration. Applications like Noisli or Focus@Will provide ambient sounds or music conducive to focus, counteracting distracting noises in various environments, from lively cafes to active home settings.
Entrepreneurship is challenging enough without technological setbacks. With many important changes happening in business and tech daily, your laptop should be your aid in helping you compete. Use these tips to help you use your laptop to run your business so that you can get the most out of it, yourself, and your business.