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Essential Technology for Starting Your Business

shutterstock_161758688Sixty-six percent of millennials want to start their own business, according to Bentley University’s Millennials at Work survey. Despite these aspirations, entrepreneurship among Americans under 30 had reached a 24-year low by 2015, down to 3.6 percent of households compared to 10.6 percent in 1989 and 6.1 percent in 2010, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports. One reason for this decline is the rise of the Internet, which has simultaneously increased the technology skills needed to start a business and multiplied the number of competitors. To start your business off on the right foot, consider these solutions.

Cloud-Based Accounting Software

Sound financial management is crucial for small business success. Many experts believe that lack of startup capital in the post-recession economy is one of the biggest contributors to declining entrepreneurship, the WSJ says. Even if you have enough capital, poor cash-flow management can cripple your business. To help you get your business finances under control, it’s essential to have a good accounting solution. Today’s best bookkeeping solution is to use a cloud-based accounting service, such as Sage One. It provides maximum efficiency by letting you manage your finances from anywhere, and enabling you to integrate your online accounting system with other key financial components of your business, such as payment processing, invoice management, payroll and tax preparation.

Cloud Backup

To protect your cloud-based accounting data and other vital information you have stored online, it’s wise to adopt a cloud backup solution. Today’s cloud backup solutions not only provide data storage space for vital information such as transaction records, customer contact information and website data, but they also sync with your mobile devices and desktop to keep your data updated consistently.

Website

Having a website is becoming increasingly crucial to compete in today’s economy. In 2015, global e-commerce sales grew 25 percent to account for 7.3 percent of all retail sales, a number eMarketer projects will grow to 12.4 percent by 2019. Your web presence also forms the foundation of your marketing efforts. One option for building a website is hiring a web developer to create a custom website or WordPress blog. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can also use a do-it-yourself website building tool.

Business Email Account and Phone Number

Both for branding and for tax purposes, it’s desirable to set up a business email account and phone number separate from your personal ones. You may be tempted to use a free email service such as a Gmail or Yahoo, but a Visible Logic study found that 70 percent of customers will regard your business as less professional if you use a free service in your email’s domain name. A professional email address should have your website as your domain name. Most website services provide the capability to set up email accounts hosted on your domain. If you don’t want to rely on your domain’s server for email delivery, one option is using Google Apps to connect your domain’s email to Gmail so that your website appears as your Gmail account’s domain name.

You should also have a business phone number. Many web-hosting services provide phone numbers with your hosting package.

Digital Payment Processing Services

If your business has a physical presence, you will also need a digital payment processing service. With the growth of mobile wallet options, eMarketer projects that the number of people using their smartphones to pay for goods and services will triple this year.

Savvy technology solutions can be instrumental in the success of your enterprise. Consider implementing these ideas into your new business to stay competitive in today’s business environment.

About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.



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