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Useful advice for entrepreneurs who consider starting a microbusiness

Right now, with inflation and interest rates rising, many aspiring entrepreneurs are reconsidering plans to launch new businesses. It is, they believe, the wrong time to go all-in on a new venture. And for those with grand plans and ambitions, that may be true. But that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs have no choice but to sit on the sidelines until economic conditions improve.

Instead of trying to start a resource-intensive new startup, they can instead work toward founding a microbusiness. Microbusinesses are, after all, the most common type of business in the US, accounting for 74.8% of all private-sector employment. And they’re quite easy to start. Here are four technology tips for entrepreneurs wishing to try their hands at starting a microbusiness.

Embrace Automation Early On

One of the biggest keys to running a successful microbusiness is to always look for ways to do more with less. And there’s no better way to accomplish that than by turning to automation. That’s why entrepreneurs should embrace automation early on in their business journey and look for ways to utilize it in every aspect of their operation. After all, time is money, and in a microbusiness – every dollar saved goes straight into the entrepreneur’s pocket.

Some of the most effective types of automation for microbusinesses include:

  • Social media and marketing automation
  • Accounting automation
  • Scheduling automation
  • Form automation

The idea is to put as many of the day-to-day tasks involved with running the microbusiness on autopilot – freeing up the entrepreneur to handle work that leads directly to revenue.

Leverage Virtual Office Technology

For most businesses, the two biggest cost drivers are labor and real estate. Microbusinesses don’t have high labor costs, and they can all but eliminate real estate costs by virtualizing their offices. In most cases, there’s no business justification for maintaining a physical office space. Instead, an entrepreneur behind a microbusiness can go fully remote and connect with other employees or freelancers via video, voice, or text chat when necessary.

But to make a virtual office setup work, it’s important to come up with ways to maintain customer relationships without the physical component they often have in a traditional office environment. In other words, it’s necessary to replace face-to-face meetings with other, all-digital customer outreach efforts. Some of the best ways to do so include:

  • Holding invite-only live customer video events
  • Providing live online training and knowledge-sharing sessions
  • Organizing virtual networking events

Be a Cloud-native Business

Flexibility is one of the key assets of a microbusiness that allows them to compete in today’s economy. It means they can often be nimbler and customer-responsive than bigger competitors. That makes it easy for microbusinesses to innovate and bring new products and services to market as fast as possible. But flexibility doesn’t equal capability.

To make the most of their flexibility, microbusinesses have to be able to develop new capabilities at a moment’s notice and discard parts of their operations that are no longer viable. But that gets increasingly harder to do if there are significant technology investments involved. The solution, though, is simple: don’t own your technology stack.

Instead, microbusinesses should aim to be cloud-native. A cloud-native business eschews costly on-premises hardware and software solutions. In their place, they rely on contracted access to cloud-based solutions that they can add to or subtract from at a moment’s notice. For example, instead of maintaining a costly mail server to support communications, they’d perhaps start with a free business email address and then turn to a cloud email provider like Outlook.com or Gmail to scale up when the need arose.

The reason this is so important is that it can help a microbusiness keep their costs and capabilities closely aligned with the work they’re doing at a given moment. It’s a way of eliminating unnecessary spending during lean times while preserving the ability to pivot when clients come calling with new requests.

Consider Hardware as a Service

Last but not least, any microbusiness would do well to try and contain its IT hardware costs by exploring hardware as a service (HaaS) options. They’re typically made available by managed service providers (MSPs) as an option for their customers. By leasing IT equipment rather than buying it, microbusinesses can cut major capital costs that they’d ordinarily face to get up and running.

Instead, they pay predictable monthly fees to cover their technology needs and don’t have to worry about complex depreciation formulas and the like. Plus, the costs of most HaaS offerings are cheaper than the cost of purchases when you consider the short replacement cycle of business technologies these days. Plus, payments for leased hardware are almost always 100% tax-deductible, making them the perfect option for a lean-running microbusiness.

The Right Business at the Right Moment

Right now, as economic uncertainty mounts, microbusinesses are the perfect entrepreneurial option to meet the moment. And the technology tips detailed above should help any entrepreneur to launch a lean, nimble, and profitable microbusiness no matter how strong the economic headwinds become. By putting them to work early on, they’ll help to contain costs and improve capabilities at every turn – leading to a successful launch and a sustainable future.

Author: Philip Piletic

Source: Datafloq