5 I.T Services A New Business May RequireIT infrastructure is key for new businesses
There are many challenges in starting a new business. The huge responsibility of being a boss, giving up the comfort of your regular salary, the pressure of making big decisions on a daily basis and just leaping into the unknown can be tough.
There will also be many things you need to think of when planning for a business such as where to trade, whether you’ll need to hire staff and if you’ll need a bank loan.
As we are well and truly in the digital age, you’ll also need to consider what IT services your business will need to attract customers and market your services. Below are a list of services you should consider:
1. Company Website
We are well and truly in the internet age. You will rarely find a business these days which doesn’t have an online presence. Nowadays, if somebody is looking for a product or service, the first thing they will do is type their query into Google. If your company does not have a website, it is isolating itself from a lot of potential customers.
Before you can have a website, you should register a company domain name. A domain will also allow you to have a much more professional email address. Far too often we see email addresses such as [email protected] which can appear unprofessional to some.
Your website should be responsive to ensure that it works on all devices such as mobiles, tablets, laptops and computers. Not only does this improve the user experience of the website, search engines are placing mobile-friendly sites higher in the rankings.
Of course, there are ‘website builders’ on the market which are designed to be used by people without web-design experience. They will let you ‘drag and drop’ content onto a page, but they can often end up looking a bit odd and do not have the finesse or polish of a specially designed, bespoke website.
Often using a website builder can appear easy at first but can be a frustrating and time-consuming process once you delve into the intricacies such as custom pages, links and forms. We at Webisoft specialise in bespoke web design. We can build you a professional looking website which shows off your business at competitive prices.
2. Social Media
With Facebook having 2.3 Billion active users worldwide (almost 30% of the global population!) and about 45 million people in the UK using social media, your business has access to a huge demographic by embracing social media. Not only can you advertise promotions to your customers, you can also support them with rapid responses to their queries, questions and complaints.
Managing your social media accounts probably isn’t on top of your agenda. Perhaps you think your business won’t use social media. We recommend that you create an account for the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), to reserve the username of your company, just in case you will use social media in the future. This will prevent others from registering the names when your business grows and has more exposure. It can be difficult to recover these accounts if they are already taken by others later down the line.
3. Office Software
Your business is likely to need an ‘office suite’ of some sort. Most popular is Microsoft Office including popular applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. This is available through the Office 365 platform which comes in many different subscription plans which cater for different business needs. This subscription model charges a monthly fee compared to the one-off payment of old.
Alternatively, Google’s G-Suite is a viable alternative, at a similar price point (around £9.50 per month). The benefit of these platforms is you also will get a business mail solution with your domain, and a large amount of file storage to save all of your documents in the cloud so they can be accessed anywhere at any time
Of course as you are just starting out, you are looking to save money where possible. The subscription fee will soon add up if you have multiple users. There is a free Office alternative – LibreOffice is free and ‘open source’ and used by a large community. This comes with its own word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation program and others which relate closely to the Microsoft Office Suite. It’s worth noting that business mail is not included with LibreOffice.
4. Bespoke Software
Depending on the nature of your business, you may require a custom system to undertake your business’s activities. Examples can include case management software to log, track and view all of your company’s jobs, an ordering/stock management system which allows you to manage your inventory, allows customers to place orders and then order new stock when levels are low.
There are often ‘off the shelf’ solutions which you can buy to assist you with these activities, but often they are expensive and contain far too many features for what you require. This can make them difficult to use. They can also be too general to try and cater for as many industries as possible.
An alternative to these ‘off the shelf’ systems is to build your own system. We at Webisoft specialise in building bespoke software, systems and databases. The benefit of having a bespoke system is limitless. It can do exactly what you require and can function exactly the way you want. It can be enhanced later when your business grows to add new features and functionality. Another benefit is that no other company will have the same system which can often give you the edge over competitors as your processes can be streamlined and efficient.
5. Hardware and Security
If you only have one or two staff, you may be fine with just a couple of devices. The more staff you employ, the more devices you will likely have. This can include workstations, servers, printers, switches and Wi-Fi access points. This can be a challenging task if you are inexperienced as the technical jargon can be confusing. For somebody in-experienced, it can be difficult to find the product which is suitable for your needs at a competitive price.
There is also the need to ensure your network is secure from hackers who are constantly looking for a way to break into vulnerable systems and steal data. Of course you will have compliance obligations such as GDPR to ensure you are processing information securely.
All these factors can be particularly daunting and time-consuming, especially when you probably want to get on with the exciting parts of running of your business. If you would like to take the stress away, we at Webisoft can help. Please contact us and we can provide you with a free, no-obligation quote.