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Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from Hilary Smith, a freelance journalist. Smith writes about three tools that can help a startup flourish. While the advice can be used by any entrepreneur, Smith's focus on social media and cloud computing can be especially useful to those making use of crowdfunding. As always, guest contributors' opinions are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Crowdsourcing.org.
Crafting a successful startup isn’t easy. It takes brilliant ideas and strong determination to keep fighting for your young company. Without the advantages that bigger businesses have, it can sometimes seem like a daunting challenge to compete in the modern marketplace. However, thanks to new technologies, it is now easier than ever to go toe-to-toe with the big boys. Don’t believe me? Well, here are just three simple tools that will instantly give your startup credibility:
Anyone who uses the internet is more than likely connected to at least one social media outlet. As perhaps the largest market on the web, it will be important to connect with potential clients and customers via social media. In particular, if your startup is relying upon crowdfunding, it will be especially important to keep in touch with those who have placed their faith in your company.
Devoting time, energy, and funding to this form of communication might seem like a bad idea, but the easier it is for this group to connect with you, the more credibility your startup will have as a result. Thankfully, using this simple tool is free, and it can have an incredibly positive effect on your company. That being said, it’s best to put someone in charge of your efforts in this area to ensure that no cries for help are being ignored. It is important to send the right message, and you’ll be doing just that when you keep in touch with your customers.
Believe it or not, voice over technology is one of the most important tools to consider when starting up a business. In addition to offering a low cost solution for communication, VoIP allows you to expand the versatility of your phone systems beyond the office. Many VoIP providers offer free smartphone apps that allow users to connect to their service on their mobile phones at no extra cost. This means that you can easily give every employee in your company the ability to take their business calls on the go, ensuring that no time is wasted and fewer opportunities are missed.
In addition to these services, VoIP providers offer the features that one would expect from a professional business. Some of the more common features include Auto-Attendants, Call Forwarding, and even Call Recording. With a professional phone presence provided via VoIP at a low cost, your startup will gain all the credibility of a much larger company.
As many of you may know, the cloud is a service that allows you to save your files off-site and keep them stored somewhere safe. This not only saves you the costs of server space, but it also gives your employees an incredible amount of freedom. Some cloud based services, such as Google Drive, allow your employees to access files from anywhere and even collaboratively edit or write files as necessary. This means that someone working outside of the office can be just as productive as they would be inside the office by simply accessing files from the cloud and performing tasks as needed. For those who are crowdfunding their startup, Google Drive can be used to manage reward fulfillment or to dole out social media responsibilities.
Google Drive in particular is a free service, meaning you won’t even have to pay a dime to use their cloud based technology. The first 15 GB of storage is free, which is quite a lot of room if we’re just talking about your typical files. However, if you have larger files and need more space, it will probably cost you a bit more. Thankfully, it’s not too difficult to find uses for services such as this and take advantage of free and low cost cloud storage options.
Utilizing the cloud to do your work will save you money and make your startup more credible by supporting a green technology. Cloud computing produces a much smaller carbon footprint than on-site storage solutions, which will look good to any clientele that cares about keeping our earth green.
Let your potential customers and crowdfunding backers know they can trust you by making choices that will instantaneously give your startup credibility. Give them a reason to work with you and they will. With the help of these three simple tools, you’ll be expanding your business in no time.
As an online journalist, Hilary Smith often shares her knowledge about how startups can grow their businesses to reach new markets. As a fellow entrepreneur herself, she understands the importance of not only credibility, but scalability as well. You can find more of her writing here.