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5 First Technology Buys For Your Brand New Business

Budgeting for technology basics is essential when starting a business that can compete in the modern, fast-paced, tech-led business environment.

Tony Koutakis

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Whether you’re still looking for funding or already engaging with your first clients, whether you have employees or not; your new business needs technology.

From communication, to creating professional documents, to managing administration, there are many ways that technology makes it easier for an entrepreneur to start, market, and grow a successful business to rival more established organisations.

However, most start-ups do not have unlimited funds at the beginning. Technology is really important, but it may not be the only start-up cost requiring consideration.

These are the five first technology buys required by every new business.

1Smartphone

Have you considered whether your smartphone or cellular package is suitable for business use? This is an important question – nowadays a new business can operate without fixed phone lines for a time if they are reachable telephonically on a mobile device.

Do your research and select the best device and cellular services package for your budget so you can take proper advantage of features like email, business-relevant apps and back-up internet access so you can work-on-the-go.

Related: Fintech: Fusing Finance And Technology

2Laptop

Tablets may be more portable and sometimes less expensive, but a laptop offers the performance and comfort you’ll need in the beginning when compiling lengthy documents like business plans or proposals or doing financial planning on spreadsheets. It is critical to protect your data from the minute you start using your new laptop so make sure your machine is backed up regularly, either to the cloud or to a fixed-site server.

3Software

Some businesses require specialised software (for example, video and photo editing or project management suites) but most can start with a basic office package and anti-virus software. These are frequently bundled with a laptop but not always, so consider special deals carefully. Don’t gamble on pirated software. It’s a business risk, and illegal.

Related: How the Right Technology Makes DIY Payroll As Easy As 1-2-3

4Internet access

Working on the free, unsecured Wi-Fi network at your nearest coffee shop will only work for so long. Eventually, you’ll need reliable internet access at your business premises – be that your home or office – and on the road. There are affordable options suited to a start-up of any size, from basic 3G and Wi-Fi packages to super-fast ADSL and fibre connections.

5Domain and email

Well before you’re ready for a website or other digital presence, invest in your domain. Yes, Gmail is free but don’t underestimate the impression that a professional email address – like name@yourbusiness.co.za – makes. Properly hosted email offers additional benefits like storage space to archive correspondence, remote access to email and anti-spam protection.

Tony Koutakis is the Executive Head of Ignite – an internet and communication technology services provider specifically focused on South African SMEs. He is convinced that with the correct business and technical support to connect, run and grow their businesses, South African SMEs have the potential to transform the economy. Ignite offers fast, easy, and affordable access to services and digital tools in four areas essential for SME growth - Communication, Connectivity, Cloud and Business Applications.

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Set Up Your SME For Success With Fibre

Boost your business potential when you plug into fibre. It offers unprecedented benefits, taking your business to the next level of connectivity.

Ignite

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More South Africans are turning to fibre for fast Internet access. We’re witnessing a boom in fibre expansion and as a result, it’s becoming a more affordable option for SMEs. Once businesses connect to fibre, they can access a reliable, ultra high-speed connection that unlocks the full advantage of cloud-based processing.

Cater to usage demands

A slow Internet connection can derail your business. It’s imperative for business owners to prepare their networks to handle additional usage requirements. Failing to do this might lead to interruptions, slowdowns and a potential impact on your bottom line. An Internet connection should be a tool that supports innovation and uninterrupted productivity.

Shift to the cloud

More businesses are accessing cloud-hosted information via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools and other platforms. In 2018, nine out of 10 companies in South Africa said they had increased spending on cloud computing, according to a report by World Wide Worx and F5 Networks. Running your day-to-day business on the cloud requires you to have a more powerful Internet connection.

Support video and VoIP

Some businesses make use of video capabilities for training and meetings, and VoIP for sales and marketing. On a fibre line, businesses can ensure they meet these demands without putting a strain on the network. With fibre, business owners can run voice and Internet data on the same line but may look at installing a second data connection for redundancy.

Get what you pay for

There’s no denying it, fibre provides exceptional speeds and offers a brilliant price-to-performance ratio. You won’t receive the same contention ratio as other connection mediums – you will get what you pay for. Bandwidth caps are less of an issue with fibre because there’s a choice of affordable uncapped deals on offer.

Make the right choice

  • Before you decide on your fibre deal, ask the right questions, understand exactly what you’re paying for and match your business requirements with the right amount of bandwidth.
  • Choose a provider that allows you to manage growth for the long term – one that allows you to choose your deal, scale when necessary and not throttle your fibre line.
  • You’ll also want an ISP to have your back further down the line. Insist on obtaining a comprehensive list of services along with the monthly fee. Ensure you are provided with a full service including all necessary support and equipment to deliver optimal fibre performance.

Ignite’s drive and purpose is to be the spark that inspires SMEs, which is why the Ignite Fibre service is structured to put you in control. Ignite offers you tailored packages that take into account your daily Internet and business startup needs.

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Designing Her Destiny

Oh Yay! owner, Emmerentia van den Hoven does business her way.

QuickBooks SA

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In 2011, Emmerentia van den Hoven took a leap of faith when she decided to leave her graphic design job at an agency and pursue her real passion – and it has paid off tenfold. Here’s her story.

“When I started planning my own wedding eight years ago, I fell in love with wedding design and wanted to do that for the rest of my life. Designing for brands had become a set of rules rather than being creative, and I’d always wanted to work for myself. So, in September 2011, I turned my seven-month-old side gig into a fully-fledged business and launched Oh Yay!

I have to hustle every month to get new clients because every client will use my services maximum twice – first for the wedding invitations and then for the stationery on the day – so I don’t normally have returning clients.

Because my main business is seasonal and usually once-off per customer, I have branched out into branding for small businesses in the beauty and lifestyle industry. I also earn a passive income through the Oh Yay! online shop where I sell wedding décor items.  Oh Yay Kids – my other online store – is my passion project. I launched it just before my second child was born, adding items to the store that I made for my two boys when I saw a need for it. I then expanded into prints for nurseries and kids’ party stationery.

I work for myself and have no employees, so the fact that QuickBooks lets me load all my services, products and prices in one place makes running my business so much easier. Being an entrepreneur is difficult because you don’t know if you’ll be successful or not. But if you believe in and love what you’re doing, it reflects in your work and the service you give.”

Less admin, more of what you love

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When Oh Yay! was launched, along with her dream of being an entrepreneur, came the nightmare of other administrative tasks. But that changed in 2018 when Emmerentia started using QuickBooks.

“When I was using spreadsheets to balance my books, I was spending 80% of my time on admin, which left very little time to tend to customers’ orders. I now spend no more than 25% of my time on admin, which is important, especially when it comes to the speed at which I send quotes. You don’t get any work if you don’t send out quotes and it’s tough to juggle the admin with your actual job of running the business.

Numbers were never really my strong point, so having a professional quote done in record time not only projects professionalism, but the format also changes the way new clients see me. In my industry, the quicker you can send a quote out, the likelier you’ll get the clients’ business. It gives legitimacy to my business. The QuickBooks system operates so seamlessly that clients communicate with me differently, like I have my own accounting department, when in fact, I’m a one-woman-show.

I used to dread doing admin, but now it’s so easy and quick. I’m not just saying this – QuickBooks changed my life.”

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The Future Of Fleet Management Is Now

TomTom Telematics

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Power up your fleet management and make even smarter business decisions with the new WEBFLEET. WEBFLEET is the award-winning Software-as-a-Service fleet management solution from TomTom Telematics, designed to provide you with the data needed to help your field operations become more efficient, more productive, safer and more profitable.

An improved interface and enhanced features mean WEBFLEET is now more powerful than ever before, and can be accessed anytime, anywhere on any screen. Find everything you need to help save on fuel, maintenance and administration costs, while delivering the quality service your customers demand.

It has already delivered proven results for customers across the globe and is powered by continuous innovation, meaning it is ready to grow with you and your organisation as goals and challenges change. Discover the future of fleet management now and help give your business an edge on the competition. Request a demo and find out more at telematics.tomtom.com/webfleet/landingpages/launching-the-new-webfleet.

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