By Gloria Martinez
Whether you’re a part-time freelancer or a full-time entrepreneur, there are two keys to long-lasting success. First, you should list your short- and long-term goals. Next, you should create a plan for how you’ll achieve them. As you plan how you’ll reach your goals, it’s crucial to consider which technologies you’ll use to get there. Although you may worry about how you’ll afford the latest technologies, they may be less expensive than you’d think. Besides, many apps and software packages will save your business money in the long run.
Here are some small business technologies that bring a solid return on investment.
Engaging, Mobile-Friendly Website If your business doesn’t have a website, it’s time to get one. Whether your customers live down the street or across the globe, the right website will help you reach them. An engaging website is worth the investment. Your site should be straightforward, easy to use, and visually appealing. Because many people visit websites from their smartphones and tablets, you’ll also need your site to be mobile-friendly. In other words, your website should look and work as expected, regardless of whether someone is viewing it from a computer, an iPad, or an Android phone. Although tools exist to help you DIY a website, building a fully-customized, professional website takes skill and an eye for design. It can pay to leave your web design to the professionals so you can spend your valuable time on other necessary tasks. Even if you build the majority of your site yourself, you may want to hire a freelance web designer to fine-tune it. Look to a job board like Upwork to recruit freelancers for your website and any other projects you may need help with. These job boards specialize in connecting freelancers to remote work, whether you need to outsource administrative tasks or graphic design projects.
Website Security If you’re selling products and services over the internet, you need more than just a good-looking site. You’ll also need a secure website. HTTPS, Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and similar technologies help prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information. By ensuring privacy and security from the server to your customers’ web browser, you’ll stop middlemen (like hackers) from being able to see credit card numbers and other sensitive data. In most cases, protecting your visitors' data and privacy is more than an ethical decision. In fact, it’s a legal obligation in most countries, including the United States and many European nations. According to Google, HTTPS is "also a requirement for many cutting-edge features and an enabling technology for app-like capabilities." To stay safe and legal, hire a professional web developer to review your website’s code for potential vulnerabilities that might allow hackers to access credit card numbers, personal information, or other sensitive data. A knowledgeable web developer can also help you add HTTPS, SSL, and additional security to protect your site and your customers.
Business Apps BuildFire reports that there are millions of apps these days, and most small businesses could benefit from a few of them. To help you get started, NerdWallet created a tool to filter small business apps by categories like Finance and Accounting, Communication, and Payment. An email has the highest online marketing ROI, Inc.com explains. To succeed at email marketing without watching your inbox all day, utilize an email autoresponder. Autoresponder apps send pre-written messages to your subscribers at timed intervals, freeing you up to focus on other tasks. Best of all, autoresponder software is often free or low-cost.
Technology makes it easier to reach a broad range of customers. Regardless of company size or location, the right tech can help you achieve your goals. Business apps and software help you stay efficient and productive while simultaneously improving your bottom line. You might pay some extra money upfront to make your initial investment. However, the money you’ll save in the long run will ultimately be worth it.
Gloria is contributing writer to SignalHarmony and runs her own successful company at