Nifty Apps & Software
The biggest issue with most established businesses is migrating from legacy systems to digital operations, essentially getting rid of your paper documents to cloud storage. The best advantage as a digital start up is you don’t have these issues but with so many options out there the trick is choosing the correct software for your business at the correct price and with software for start ups, free is always better (in my opinion).
Some key indicators for me are (a) what is the cost of usage and what is the benefit (b) if something goes wrong who do I need to call and where are they based (c) do I need any specific skills to operate the software. Here are some of my crucial systems that I recommend for any small business.
- Dropbox – is a fantastic cloud storage system that allows you and your to team to store data such as documents, images etc while working offsite, therefore you can have a photo shoot, upload the raw images, so that graphics may design, once completed marketing can access to distribute. This app is usable on both pc and mobile, free to use, but with limited storage and you will need to pay to gain more storage once you fill your initial usage. Wifi is a critical component for maximum effect plus I would suggest paying the cost of upgrade upfront for the 12 months as monthly debit orders can be a nuisance for cash flow, but video uploads are not advised.
- Afrihost – a South African web hosting company, is an excellent option for companies looking to buy a domain (www.example.co.za) for as little as R99 p/m you will receive a web address plus a few simple benefits such as free fax to email and cost saving. The best benefit is when you need to report any systems issue you will be directed to an operator in South Africa who will respond sooner than using international companies. I would suggest buying one domain as it is highly unlikely someone will steal or piggyback off a similar name while you are still growing your business and secure your website by purchasing a HTTPS certificate via the company as any website with only http is more likely for data theft.
- WordPress – allows you to build your online store, website or blog for free! This a crucial benefit for any start up as the already made templates are usually easy to figure out. I would suggest that you don’t spend too much time focusing on building the website as developers usually cost between R20 000 to R25 000 and in my opinion, the South African market does not care about a digital appearance plus the cost can be used to purchase stock or keep as operating capital.
- Facebook (FB) – is a self explanatory benefit for a digital business, by creating a business page and downloading the page manager, you will be able to schedule and pay for sponsored ads to run through FB and Instagram while receiving data on who is attracted to your business, but remember social media is real and unreal so don’t get lost in the likes and if you are spending more than R50 to R70 rand you’re spending too much.
- Xero – a serious game changer for accounting software, xero will provide you with a free to use option or paid, then it will link with your business account and digitally record all transactions within a 48 hour window. This is crucial for making sure you can track and report a monthly profit and loss, learn how to journal transactions and basically be your own bookkeeper. Key benefits will be a professional invoice and learning how to track your monthly expenses. The app also allows you to give access to an accountant of your choice so they may do your financial statements but I would highly recommend not getting an accountant as they are an unnecessary expense in the early days of your business.
These are some of the software and apps we are using and I hope that you will use at least one to build your business.
This blog is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily share the views of the host provider.
Founder & CEO