Is Your Small Business Technology In Place?

Do you have the right technology in place to take your business to the next level?

Whether you sell beauty supplies or manufacture widgets, a carefully executed technology plan can help you build and grow your online presence and ensure that your brand is easily recognized. Social media marketing can help local and global customers find you.

Today’s technology solutions are more affordable than ever so leveraging them to your best advantage can help your profits soar.

Where to start?

The first step is to ensure that your technology plan is consistent with your overall business strategy. Have you defined your current objectives? Do you want to increase visibility? Do you have a website? How to people find you? Are you depending too heavily on very expensive Yellow Page advertising and ignoring the Internet?Perhaps it is time to streamline your accounting processes and reduce administrative costs with the right software. Whatever your overall objectives are, investments in technology should ultimately make it easier for customers to find you and do business with you. Do you have an online store, for instance? Is it easy for a customer to order online, pay for their product and be assured that their order will be delivered promptly?

A common checklist of technology-related needs for small businesses might include:

  • Financial and bookkeeping software such as Quicken.
  • Website. If your desire is to let people know how to locate you, a simple brochure website will work well. If you are selling products or services online, you will need an e-commerce or WordPress website, depending on your needs.
    • Domain Name. I use and recommend GoDaddy or DomainsPricedRight for domain name purchases, but NOT for hosting. Be sure to purchase most extensions of your domain name such as dot com, dot net, dot biz, etc., to ensure that your name and brand is protected. Each domain name will cost about $11 annually.
    • Hosting for your website. I use and recommend HostGator for hosting. Depending on the plan you need, your cost range from $4.95 to $12.95 per month.
  • Shopping Cart. 1ShoppingCart incorporates all of the tools your business needs to market and sell online in a single, easy-to-use web-based solution. If you need an affiliate program, you can build that in your shopping cart. The basic plan (I don’t recommend anything below this plan) will cost $59 per month and the professional plan, which includes affiliate marketing, is $99.00 per month. You can also make application here for a payment gateway through Authorize.net or PowerPay so that you can accept credit card payments on your website.
  • PayPal account for accepting payments if you don’t currently have a payment gateway. This is free and you will only pay a fee when a payment is made. You will be able to use your PayPal account in place of a payment gateway if you prefer.
  • Newsletter or email marketing software. Two excellent tools for this are Aweber and Constant Contact.
  • Social Media Profiles. KnowEm Username Check allows you to check for the use of your brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 400 popular and emerging social media websites. Grab your name and secure your brand before someone else does. They offer free and premium plans.
    • LinkedIn Profile
    • Facebook Fan page for your business
    • Twitter Account

Today’s technology can give your and your small business a decisive competitive edge. By leveraging the Internet, your small business can get more done and complete effectively in a global marketplace.
Quote of the Day from The Wisdom Compass
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. ~Victor Hugo

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