The COVID pandemic caused all kinds of problems, but it also drove a surge in entrepreneurship. It gave people who had considered opening a home-based business a lot of time on their hands to really dig into the possibilities. Add a lot of inexpensive or free tools for getting a home-based business up and running and it makes sense. Of course, once you have your home business moving, there is always room for improvement. Tech is one of the easiest places to start. If you’re ready to up your home business game, keep reading for five tech updates that will help you do that.
When you first launch your home business, there’s a good chance you built your site using templates from a free website builder. Most hosting services offer one. You may have taken it up a step with a content management system like WordPress and ramped it up with plugins.
While these solutions work to get you online, they’re no substitute for a website that is custom-built to meet your needs. A custom website lets you integrate all the functions you need and want, such as eCommerce, real-time inventory updates, or appointment scheduling. More importantly, the website will routinely perform better because all of these functions are built into the site from the ground up.
Most homeowners run their networks using wireless routers. After all, your laptop, tablet, phone, and probably some gaming systems all make it easy to connect wirelessly. While convenient, relying on a wireless connection for your business can also create problems with signal strength or electromagnetic interference (EMI).
One of the easiest ways to avoid that problem is by connecting your essential hardware, such as a desktop or even a server, directly to your router with CAT5e STP. You’ll get a faster internet connection. Plus, the STP cables are shielded against EMI which provides you with a more reliable connection.
When your business first launches, you must focus a lot of energy on bringing in new customers and generating leads. It’s the only way you can survive. Yet, it’s easy to focus so much on snagging new customers that you neglect your existing customers.
Customer relationship management software helps you avoid that problem. You can typically use it to automate messages to customers who haven’t bought anything for a while. Depending on the feature set, it may even help you customize offers to entice customers back. As a rule, it’s way cheaper and more profitable to keep a customer than acquire one.
Leverage Free Software
A lot of really useful business software, such as Slack, Trello, and Google One, operates on a freemium model. While you’re still a small business with only a handful of users, you can often get free versions of that software. You may sacrifice some bells and whistles, initially, but odds are good you won’t need those features at first anyway.
Later, when you’re seeing more predictable profit from your business or hit a growth phase, you can upgrade to paid versions. Plus, doing it that way means you avoid the agony of trying to move from one application or platform to another application or platform.
Social Media Automation
Social media ends being your best friend as a small business owner. You can set up business profiles, target relevant groups, and build legitimate relationships with your customers. Unfortunately, social media can also become a huge drain on your time.
There are a lot of tools out there that will help you automate social media posts. That means you can block out a couple of hours in your week to set up most of your posts in advance. While you still need to go online and respond to customers, it helps you manage your social media time more effectively.
Upgrading Your Home Business
You don’t need to upgrade everything in your business all at once. In fact, that approach is more likely to cause problems than solve them. Instead, take the things on the list above and order them by priority for your business. Then, you can move through the list and upgrade your business over time. You end up with a better, more efficient business machine and still get to hang on to your sanity. It’s a win-win!