Every professional, in any field of work, needs certain tools to do their job efficiently and achieve results that are beyond satisfactory. Starting your own company, with the goal of selling a product or offering a service, is no different. If you’re going to sell in what has become a global economy, you must have the tools you need to communicate clearly and quickly.
The list of tools includes computer capability and reliable software, just to get you started. But, you don’t want to start with the wrong tools, buy a computer that won’t perform as you need it to, or invest in software capable of handling some of your tasks but not all. So, the question is, which tools do you really need to begin marketing your service or product with minimal stress?
To reduce this subject to just the basics can be difficult, because the tools you’ll need depend on the type of business you’re operating – the specific product, the service, and so on. For example, if you’re going to working with a lot of images and videos, your computing equipment and software should be designed to handle those capabilities. If there’s a need for color printing, such as on pillow covers or labels, you should provide for that with the best printer you can afford.
But, there are a handful of communication tools you might want to consider, including:
- Cloud-based software and processes like Office 365 and Google Docs, to name just two;
- Software to track individual projects or product lines;
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – This is about data and information, so think marketing, strategy, customer communication;
- Social media – In the beginning, stick to the basics and expand as necessary.
As you consider these business tools, you might also be thinking about the use of a spreadsheet program to help you stay organized. Before you decide, you should think about how you’ll use such software and, specifically, what it can do for a small business.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer here, because a spreadsheet can be used in a number of ways. The primary task is storage of data, though you should also be able to do some data-management tasks as well. The best spreadsheets will help you with financial and statistical information, with the ultimate goal of organizing data for planning and strategy.
Excel – Does It?
This spreadsheet software is generally used as part of the Office package. It has become an icon in the business world. However, there have been some issues with it in the past, so you might want to educate yourself a bit before pouring your numbers into the columns and rows. Over the past 10 years, a lot has been written about the growing cost of excel errors, both within the program itself and mistakes made by people using it.
When used correctly, a spreadsheet and help you store, organize, and find important data. When you start working with this software, focus on becoming proficient with summaries and reporting. You may not use the presentation features of Excel in the early days of your business life, but this could be an important tool later on. So, focus on the data aspects first, and learn about visual information (charts, graphs) later.
The ability to use templates is one of the great benefits of a well-designed spreadsheet. In addition, you’ll want to use this tool for analysis, even the simplest of these such as counting values, adding, and subtracting. There is also provision for calculating profit and loss, which will be essential for your new, small business. You should also look to your software tools as you plan for the future. Remember, you should spend as much time working on your business as you do in your business.