If you are starting a business, you may want to conserve your capital and these days there are many great solutions for IT that don’t require an arm and leg or the shirt off your back! The trick is in finding IT solutions that you can grow with as a company and knowing when a cheap outlay can cost more in the long run.
At Netitude we are dealing with hardware, software and all manner of IT solutions on a daily basis so we have some insight into some of the better low-budget solutions for those companies that want to save a bit when starting out. Here are some of our top tips.
1) Xero to hero with accounts
Xero is online cloud accounting and bookkeeping software with pricing plans from £9 a month and a free trial. Whilst accountants can become a cost themselves, this software has many easy to manage features that don’t require a degree in accountancy to operate. This is ideal for busy SMEs which are sensitive to any shift in the balance sheet and need to keep on top of finances. As it is in the cloud, this presents real-time information on cash flow. The interface is very user-friendly – designed for managers, not just accountants. It can be used on mobile devices too.
2) Set up with essentials
Scrimping is not always the best strategy in the set-up phase as you pay dearly at a later stage and you sacrifice productivity. We advise you to use Office 365 for email and SharePoint for business use. These are versatile and commonly used business tools for efficient sharing.
3) No monkey business with Mail Chimp
The staple online software for marketing executives – Mail Chimp can be free for basic services and low-cost for more options and larger scales. It’s very widely used and good for simple mail-shots to customers’ email addresses. It comes complete with the analytical ability so you can see who has opened the mail, how many have unsubscribed and who has taken an interest. Mail Chimp allows you to do a basic design for your mail-shot which is especially good for special offers and discounts to loyal customer communities. You can also split databases to tailor and send offers to different groups of customers.
4) Share and save on broadband
If you get on well with a business neighbour then maybe you can save money by agreeing to access a single superfast broadband connection. This would require care around having a proficient firewall to be safe.
5) Plan for success, with good foundations
Buy business grade machines from the start – for instance, having Windows Professional or Ultimate is a must. By getting your initial IT infrastructure right from the start it will save a lot of time and money later on if and when your business grows. It will mean you won’t need to replace them later on when you might need to move to a server. Also worth considering when investing in computers, is that a three-year warranty might be worth it – on laptops especially. You should buy brands with a good reputation like Dell, HP, Lenovo or Apple.
6) Standardise naming convention
Here’s a tip that will help you save on fuss later on. Use naming conventions from the outset – for example, usernames and email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org. So, when you add names as the company grows – you won’t one day find yourself at a juncture where you need to change all the email addresses to conform to a rule – as well as business cards of course!