The Technology You Need to Start a Business

Congratulations, you’ve opened your new business!

As your hands run over the new furniture and you wrap up a few things with your lawyer and accountant, you’re probably starting to wonder what kind of computing infrastructure you should consider for your business.
Many businesses have very similar needs. Depending on the specific needs of your business, there will be some particular technologies you’ll need that other businesses have no need for.
It can be easy to think of technology as a blanket solution to many of challenges facing your business. The thing about technology, however, is that it comprises a wide variety of options and solutions and
the key is finding the “right” solution for your needs. In the last few years, there have been rapid advances in cloud services, artificial intelligence, data management, IT services, and more that can make
an impact on your business.

But while some of the solutions may appear to be a great fit, ultimately, they may not be the best option, depending on your specific needs.
It’s important to separate which tech will help in the growth of your business from those that will ultimately wind up being just another toy in the toolbox. You want to make choices that let you focus on your core business, not on the technology that helps operate it.

“Small-business owners need to make sure they have the tech infrastructure that allows them to flex and adapt”

Essential Hardware Products and services for Starting Your Business:
Desktop Computer or Workstation Whether you’re using custom desktop computers to multi-user workstations, make sure you’re working
with a reputable company for your computing needs. You’ll need products that will last for several years and hardware that will require minimal upkeep or maintenance. Work with a company that can design a
custom computer system specifically for your business needs.

External Hard Drive
Some computers in your network may need an external hard drive to store certain types of information and help you stay organized. An external hard drive can be a wise investment for startup businesses that don’t want to store information in the Cloud or on their computers’ hard drives.
External hard drives can protect valuable and sensitive business data in the event of an accident, such as a fire. You can use these as back-up devices for certain types of data and even invest in a system with built-in locks and extra layers of security to prevent theft.

Network Server Solution
If your business will need any type of network to support your database, email applications, and other files, you’ll need to set up a network server. You can choose from several server solutions based on the amount of storage you need, security requirements, and backup options. Work with a specialist to ensure you are buying the right package based on current and future needs.

Wireless Router
Keep your office or workspace connected to the Internet wirelessly with a wireless router. A strong wireless connection can ensure high-speed connectivity to all linked computers and mobile devices. If you have a small space, keep in mind that working wirelessly will reduce the need for extra cables running in and around your office.

Laser-Jet Printer
Whether you plan to print out all of your marketing materials or just need to handle basic jobs, invest in a high-quality laser-jet printer for fast printing times and energy savings. Minimize printing costs by
encouraging your employees to work as a paperless office whenever possible. You will still need a good printer for contracts, legal documents, and other materials. Some printers have multiple functions including scanning, photocopying, and faxing.

Investing in the right hardware products for your startup business will help you stay organized, boost productivity, and minimize extra costs associated with completing basic tasks. Because every business has unique needs, consider talking to a computer specialist and data security professionals for
recommendations on the types of equipment that will be a good match for your business.

Digital Presence
Websites should be one of the first things a business creates. Many businesses are creating website with regular blog posts and bring in new customers by leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
Businesses should also consider maintaining their profiles on third-party services, such as Yelp, Google Places and Facebook Places. Social media is also crucial to building strong brand loyalty and reaching new customers.

Most Web hosts provide email services that are associated with the domain. Businesses can also
subscribe to premium email and communication services, such as Google Apps for Business, Yahoo!Small Business and Microsoft Exchange

Data Security
According to Forbes Magazine, data security is one of the biggest concerns for 2018, emphasizing that
“businesses need to know where their business critical information is at all times” (source: Forbes).
Retail data breaches have been a hot topic in recent years and it shows that companies need to stay up- to-date with data security software and hardware to protect sensitive information. Businesses should proactively add layers of security walls to protect their data.

Technology Consultant
A technology consultant is “one of the most important investments you can make [and] to ensure you have one or two local technology consultants who you trust. A knowledgeable technology consultant can help an organization identify their technological needs and configure their systems. Many IT
contractors provide 24-hour support services to keep businesses operating efficiently.

Go with e-FAX
One of favorite cloud apps and resources in small business tech. This service makes it super easy for you to send and receive faxes from anywhere in the using a device with internet access.   
You will have the ability to access your fax messages from anywhere in the world via your email with a device that has an internet connection  – such as your desktop pc, tablet, and smartphone, You will not have to purchase expensive hardware to use this service, All of your fax communications are paperless – which is great for the environment.

Cloud Based Phone Service with special hunt number
To help your clients communicate more effectively, you could start a phone service that’s based on cloud technology.

Mobile Apps
In Small Business Trends article “Mobile App Strategies Boost Revenues for Small Business Owners,”
Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University, wrote, “In an increasingly mobile world, having a well-developed and well-tested mobile app turns out to be a highly effective marketing strategy that gets results.”
In the past, mobile app development required someone with specialized skills. Nowadays, platforms allow non-technical users to create apps easily, so there is no excuse to do without this important technology.

Payment Methods
The use of mobile payments is on the rise, thanks to apps such as Microsoft Wallet, so it makes sense to incorporate their use as an option. Also, companies like Microsoft partner Merchant Account Solutions have made mobile credit card readers readily available to small business user.

By: Eng. Shereen Sultan
Master degree in Telecommunication engineering

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