Archive for February, 2008

*Originally published in Sorority Factor Magazine September/October 2007*

Tech Must-Haves for Small Business Owners

Computer. Desktop or laptop, having access to a computer of your own any time you need it is essential for a small business owner. In today’s fast paced, high-tech world, making sure you have a functional computer (and know how to use it!). Stick with the basics (a word processor, a program for spreadsheets, et cetera) for what your purposes are, unless you like all the extras. While a photographer or graphic designer might need various editing programs, this might not be necessary for someone offering accounting services.

Internet access.
Similar to having a computer, internet access is extremely important for a small business owner. The internet is great for looking up information, contacting clients and vendors, marketing your business and developing your own online presence (more on that in #5). There are many low cost internet providers out there, but make sure you shop around for the best deal, and choose high-speed internet if you can. “Dial up” internet can be more trouble than it’s worth.
High quality color printer. These days a high quality color printer does not have to cost an arm and a leg. For around $100 (sometimes less with sales and rebates), you can get a high quality printer with quick printing speeds. Not only useful for printing everyday documents for your own use, a good printer can be used for business cards, fliers, and brochures. As a business owner, you want to put your best foot forward – make sure you print great looking materials by having a great printer (and make sure you always have plenty of ink!).
Email account. If you do not have an email account for your business– get one! There are many options for free email accounts, including GMail and Yahoo. If you have your own website (see #5), consider getting a domain name that you can use with your email account. And keep your business email account name professional. HotStud834894@freeemailforall.com seems much less professional than Sam@productxyz.com or info@productxyz.com .
Website. As mentioned above, having a web presence is a great way to market your business. With millions of people around the world using the internet, you never know what kinds of amazing clients will pass your way. People search for all kinds of products and services online and you don’t want to miss out on potential clients by not having a website. Some people do all of their advertising online and have very successful businesses. Try to get your own domain name. It will help people remember you and will come across as more professional (again – freewebsite.com/user/crazygirl76 is less professional than PerfectPartyPlanners.com).
Smartphone. Smartphones are combination cell phone and personal digital assistant (PDA). PDAs are great because you have access to handy features like a calendar, address book, and to-do lists. You can also create and edit documents, play games, and listen to music on most PDAs. Most new PDAs can also access the internet and allow you to check your email. Having a smartphone saves you from keeping track of two devices, and keeps your contacts and appointments in one place instead of having to enter them on both a phone and a PDA.
Initiative to ask for help. Yes, a little cheating has been done with this one, but with so many tech savvy people walking the earth, most people know someone they can go to for help with their technical questions. There is no need to live in Techno Hell. If you want to know what products you need, or how to use them, ask a friend or family member for help! Or you can always seek out a professional at a store like Best Buy or get help from companies that offer assistance to people who need help setting up their small businesses.
For more information on Sorority Factor Magazine you can visit www.SororityFactorMagazine.com

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