When you’re starting your own business, there are a whole host of tools to help you on your way to entrepreneurial success. Whether it’s cloud-based finance apps to help manage your cashflow, or scheduling apps to manage your time, you won’t be short of options when you finally take the leap into self-employment. However when it comes down to the absolute essentials, there are five key products that will enable you to start working smarter, ensuring you’re up and running in no time at all.1. Business Cards
For a small sum, business cards can potentially give you a huge return on investment, whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced business. Having one of your own cards to hand at an opportune moment could make the difference when it comes to landling that big client. Get some printed with your web address, contact number and email address to make sure you’re always prepared for whoever you meet.
Cost: £**2. Website
Getting yourself a website set up should be one of the first tasks you undertake, regardless of your industry or profession. It’s often the first place that potential customers or suppliers will go to for research, even before they pick up the phone to call you. Not only does it give them information about where you are based, but also things like how long you have been in business and whether you have any reviews that they can read. Often if you don’t have a website that is easily accessible, they will click on to one of your competitors.
Cost: £***3. Virtual Landline Number
Setting yourself up with a virtual landline number from a service provider such as Flower Telecom is one of the smartest moves you can make when you’re starting out your business. It’s a local or national telephone number that diverts all of your calls through to any other UK landline or mobile. Not only are you able to choose your own telephone number and the area code, but you are future-proofing your business by guaranteeing you will have the same number for as long as you have the business. This means that you will never have to reprint business cards, redo stationary or change your advertisements. If you ever move offices, you can simply change where your virtual number diverts to within 20 seconds.
4. Answering Service
If your job means that you can’t always get to the phone – perhaps you’re a plumber or hairdresser – then an answering service could mean the difference between missing out on opportunities and booking more clients! When potential clients call your number, if you don’t answer within a set period of time then the call will get diverted to a real person who will answer the call in your business name. They can then either book your appointments for you, or let the caller know that you will return their call when you are next available.
Cost: £***5. To-do Lists
With a wealth of options available, we recommend Wunderlist for organising all of your tasks up into easily-accessible lists. You can create multiple lists and share tasks with other members of the business. You can even separate personal and business items to make sure you’re on top of all of the things you need to do! Make your life easier with a to-do list.
Competition for business in 2017 is as high now as it has ever been, which means that it’s becoming more difficult to make yourself stand out from your competitors. Getting your business in front of as many customers as possible is key, so creating an online present will certainly open up your services to a wider customer base. A great website can create the impression of a company that can provide services nationwide, and choosing a virtual phone number outside of your local area can also make it look like you operate across multiple regions. This can be useful when you’re trying to expand into one of the top 10 cities to do business in the UK and can make all the difference between a local launch and a national campaign.
Best of luck with your new business venture and I hope that this tips will help as you get up your office and launch your website. If you’ve already set up a company please do get in touch with any other ideas or suggestions in the comments below – I’d love to hear what business tools you’re using to make your work run as smoothly as possible.