Every job well done is only as good as the tools you use. From a quiet place to work to online tool support, choose the one that is most appropriate and easy to use for your business. If you object to any additional expenses, you may need to reconsider your commitment to your new company. Start slow and build up your office arsenal if funds are not available. You are in business and the tools will help you increase your bottom line and your sanity.
Make a good connection
Having your own computer is a must. Sharing a computer and sharing files can really be a source of friction when your business kicks in and you find that you need open access at any time. I lost 2 documents because a family member came and went online deleting 2 articles that had taken me 2 hours to write. Yesterday I was asked if it would be okay to share a computer with a wife who was starting 4 online college courses. Yes, if you don’t mind marriage counseling. If you are serious about your new business, you need your own computer. Your productivity also depends on your computer being as up-to-date as possible with word processing and database programs. To make any slideshow or video, you will need a program like Microsoft Movie Maker. You will need to have virus protection to safeguard your work. Having high speed access is critical, as time is of the essence when running an online business. If you are doing any video training, high-speed internet is essential for watching videos and downloading files and programs quickly. Most home-based businesses operate on the Internet most of the time. For maximum speed and reliability, you need a high-speed connection, also known as broadband Internet access. High-speed connections, including DSL, cable, or satellite, will allow large amounts of data to be uploaded and downloaded quickly. This will save you time, money, and frustration.
Although desktop computers have dominated the market forever, laptops or notebooks are emerging as the best sellers due to their portability and size options. A true entrepreneur needs to access his business while traveling or working in different places around the house. You can take advantage of the increasing availability of high-speed wireless access at airports, hotels, and coffee shops.
Your phone system
Call me before you go, go
Even with an online business, your phone will be one of your most valuable tools. Anyone who believes that they can create hard working partners and long lasting clients just using email communication knows nothing about humanity. People join people, not systems. Email will never replace the importance and personal nature of the human voice as a business tool. I believe that having a cell phone is essential to always be aware of your business. Like the idea of portability with a laptop, having a cell phone allows you flexibility and mobility and not miss calls. Think of all the time wasted in following up on voicemail messages. With a cell phone, he can reach you when people need him. Due to the possible reception, you will also need a landline where you will do much of your business. Your phone should have speakerphone capability if possible and one service your system should have is the ability to make a 3-way call. When connecting with more than one person, for training or presentations, the 3-way call is my best friend. When buying a phone, a separate cordless headset is good too. I walk when I talk and if you have kids around it is nice to be able to walk and see what they are doing or move to a quieter place if they are watching Veggie Tales too loud. A PDA, a smartphone, a personal digital assistant offer almost all the tools that your laptop has, but with the small profile of a cell phone.
Hey, I know you!
Another tool that you will need for an online business is a good email autoresponder. I would pay a lot more than for this tool. They are relatively cheap (I pay less than 28.00 a month). This is the most valuable tool in my arsenal. I prefer Aweber for all the comforts and ease of use for newbies. An auto responder not only captures your lead for you when you opt for your capture page, but it will also follow up with prewritten emails that you have written once. This will give your potential customer many times to view your business or your product while they decide whether or not to join you or buy. An autoresponder captures whatever information your subscription form asks you to fill out, name, email, or phone number. Now they can be followed up immediately with a thank you message for their interest and a phone call. While they make a decision, your autoresponder sends them an email every 2-3 days to remind them about you. Surveys show that most people don’t buy the first time they see your information, but a substantial number of people will buy if they see your offer more than once. Without an autoresponder, you have the ability to heat up a lead just so a competitor can easily pick it up. This way, you can continue a relationship with this potential customer, getting updated on new products, conference calls, special offers, and more information about your business. Some people don’t buy right away because the time is wrong, they need more information, or they aren’t sure they can trust you. Having a long-term way of building a relationship will secure your sales and new business partners in the future.
Starting a new business, especially with an online business, is an exciting time, but it can be frustrating if you don’t have the right support, be it a good mentor or good tools. Automation will save you time and create a person online who is very professional. Make sure you align yourself with someone who can guide you towards the right tools and strategies and you will have a successful business.