Start Your Business Off Right … In The Cloud
I don’t have to tell you that there’s a lot that goes into starting your own business. You’ll spend countless hours figuring out how you’re going to sell your product or service. You’ll have to work out how many employees you’ll need to hire, and what kind of vetting they’ll need.
So, let’s make sure you’re getting off to a good start right at the get-go.
pick the right name
You’ve thought long and hard about what to call your business. What you’ve come up with is a name that reflects the product or service you sell and the ideals that you ascribe to. Great. Now, figure out how to shorten it. Most businesses shorten their names for social media. Given the fact that typing out words on a mobile device isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, and some social networks limit the number of characters allowed in a post, figuring out how to shorten your name is key.
A short url makes sharing easier. The New York Times has shortened its name to nyti.ms. Simple, right? It remains recognizable despite missing a whole lot of letters.
choose a registrar
Now you’ve got your official company name and its shortened (url-friendly) counterpart. You’ll need to register your business name as a domain. You want to have a website, right? A registrar is a company that manages website domain names. There are a lot of them out there and not all have your best interest in mind. The most popular (and best according to many businesses) are: Hover, Namecheap, or Gandi. Each one of these registrars offers a long list of added services. Not all will fit your business needs. Ask questions to figure out which one aligns best with your current situation. Then set up your email account and your website.
social media 101
Sign up for a lot of social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, etc) even if you can’t imagine yourself using them all. In fact, you don’t have to engage with your customers on every single platform. You should actually figure out which platform your customers use most. Do they hang out on Facebook and Pinterest? That’s where you should spend time engaging with them and posting content. The reason behind opening an account for your business on other social media platforms is so that you retain complete control and ownership over your business name. If you don’t have an account already, someone can launch a page using your business name and post whatever they want on it.
go to the cloud
Even if you spend a lot of time handling paper files, you will still find yourself needing to organize electronic files. As time moves on, your customers may even come to expect that you’ll work entirely electronically. That’s better for them because they’ll be able to access their data anytime and from anywhere. You might even find that to be true for you and your employees, too. Look for a cloud service provider that offers you a range of business solutions. Make sure the provider encrypts all data stored in the cloud, too. Stored data should ideally be backed up in several different locations.
Need to communicate privately with staff? Consider setting up a private instant messaging network, like Lync Online. Rather than pulling out pen and paper at meetings, use a note-taking service, like Evernote. Fax much? No problem. There are web-based fax services out there, too. You can even track how much time your employees spend online. Hosting online meetings are easy, too, via services like Skype or GoToMeeting. Does the thought of remembering the passwords for all of these services leave you feeling a little dizzy? No problem. There are password storage services, like Last Pass, that make the whole process painless.
There are a multitude of ways for new businesses to cut the costs of start up and operation. Reducing the amount of physical hardware you have to buy, install, and maintain is key. Move to the cloud instead. Yes, there are security risks. But these are very manageable. In the end, always look for cloud service providers who are there to answer your questions and help you resolve any issues.
Your business is unique. Your cloud providers should help you customize your cloud experience!