Small business owners face a unique set of challenges in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. To stay competitive and ensure longevity, entrepreneurs must prioritize specific tools and strategies to optimize their operations and achieve their goals.
Working with a wide range of small businesses over the last 25 years, we’ve learned a thing or two about what goes into operating a business in today’s fast-paced world.
- Password App
Passwords are the first defence against cyber attacks, yet many small business owners still use efficiently guessable or recycled passwords. A password app can generate and store complex passwords for multiple accounts, reducing the risk of security breaches.
- Google My Business Profile
A Google My Business profile is a free and powerful tool that helps small businesses increase their online presence and visibility. By optimizing your profile, you can enhance your search engine rankings, attract new customers, and showcase your products or services, all with just 20-30 minutes of setup.
- Proper Email Service
Email is the number one tool for small businesses, period. And it’s essential that you have a professional email service in place. Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 are two leading providers that do email properly. Ensure your email service is tied to your business’ domain name and not to an internet services provider like Bellnet, Cogeco or Rogers.
Data loss can cripple a small business, so it’s crucial to have a stable backup system in place. Can you imagine if you lost access to all your emails or sales records? Cloud-based backup solutions are affordable and convenient, allowing you to automate backups and store your data securely off-site. Any decent IT professional can help narrow the options and recommend the best solution for you and your business.
- IT Support
The business world is tech-based, and there is no getting around it. Regardless of your type of business, you will need proper tech at some point or another. And having the right advice is essential to spending on the right technology for your business. And having a go-to source for troubleshooting or advice is the best way to keep your business operating and moving forward. Also, don’t rely on your cousin’s nephew’s friend for your IT support. Take your business seriously and hire professionals.
- Security Software
Small businesses are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats, so it’s vital to have security software installed on all devices. Antivirus, anti-malware, and firewalls can protect your business from cyber-attacks and data breaches. See item number 5 above for help in this domain.
- A Defined Target Customer(s)
Identifying and understanding your target customers is an overlooked essential for small businesses. Most of your activities are customer-facing, and you should take action and make decisions that lead your business toward dealing with the right customers and not just “any” customers.
Accurate and up-to-date bookkeeping is essential for managing your small business finances effectively. And since most of us would prefer to avoid the mounting stack of paperwork that needs attention, you’re better off investing in a bookkeeping service to keep you up-to-date.
Running a small business can be challenging and stressful, so it’s vital to find sources of inspiration and motivation. This might include attending networking events, joining a mastermind group, or seeking mentorship from successful entrepreneurs. And inspiration doesn’t always have to be work-related. You might find inspiration from personal activities like watching movies or reading fiction.
Small business owners work long hours and sacrifice personal time, often away from family and friends, to grow their businesses. However, taking time off to rest and recharge is essential for preventing burnout and maintaining work-life balance. More importantly, time off gives your brain time to incubate ideas and sort through your thoughts, making you more efficient and productive during work hours.
Of course, this isn’t the exhaustive list of essentials a small business needs, but it’s a round-up of the most prominent things that a small business is usually missing.