SUCCESSFULLY STARTING AND MANAGING AN ONLINE BUSINESS

SUCCESSFULLY STARTING AND MANAGING AN ONLINE BUSINESS

You don’t need an IT qualification to successfully start and manage an online business. When I started my online business a year ago – www.synergisesmartly.co.za – I made a conscious decision that my entire business would be managed virtually. My aim was to ensure that I could manage my business without being limited to one location. Common technical aggravations for internet-based businesses are losing internet connectivity and hardware crashes – two misfortunes I was adamant would not interrupt my operation obligations. 

So what are the essential tech tools you need to start up a business? Here’s what I use: 

Laptop: This is essential; it’s practical, saves desk space and allows me to manage my business remotely. 

3G Card: I have an ADSL connection in my office and at home, but my 3G card is my back up should the internet go down. The card ensures business continuity and allows me to connect to the internet when meeting with clients, which instantly allows me to look more professional and organised. 

Smartphone: My smartphone is another essential tool. I am able to speak to my team via Whatsapp for free, so I’m always in the loop even when out meeting new clients. I also have access to three email boxes and the internet on my phone, which doesn’t cost me a cent above my basic monthly fee. 

VOIP: Skype is probably one of the best known and commonly used forms of VOIP technology. Users can speak from Skype to Skype for free or buy credits to call mobiles or landlines at a cheaper rate. In my business I chose to get my phone through a VOIP service provider. I have a SIP (VOIP) compliant phone, which I connect to my router and manage large volumes of calls on an exceptionally clear line. Even though I have a Telkom line to connect my ADSL, making outbound calls using VOIP is significantly cheaper. With VOIP my business can become mobile within minutes: 

  • I’m able to plug my SIP phone into any router and make and receive calls without being limited to a specific geographical location.
  • My VOIP phone can be diverted to my smartphone.
  • After hours the voice messages received on my VOIP phone appear in my Inbox (on my smartphone) as a WAV file, so I’m always in touch, even when out of the office. 

Dropbox: With Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) – the web-based file hosting service – sharing files with colleagues has never been easier, you can also view your documents by logging onto the Dropbox site from any location. And it’s free. 

Google Apps: Google’s offering lets you manage your email, instant messaging and calendar accounts on your own domain. You can create up to 10 user accounts for free. This means that I manage my mailbox for my business domain i.e. info@mybusinessdomain.com via a Google account for free. Yet again this ensures that I can respond to my emails using my smartphone or any laptop from any location, and I always appear professional using my business domain. 

Fax-to-email: This is another easy cost saver. I have an allocated 086 fax number which was very simple to set up. All faxed received come directly to my inbox as PDF attachments, allowing me to access my faxes wherever I am. 

Using technology as the foundation of a new small business has never been easier and more affordable. 

Reference: 

Ma’ayan Jowell – Founder of Synergise Smartly – Your Business