A start-up is an entrepreneurial company with a new concept that starts out small but has the potential to become big. A typical start-up would be one of the companies founded in the dot-com bubble – Hotmail was a start-up until it grew and was acquired by Microsoft in 1997; so were PayPal and MySpace.
Start-ups are about new ideas and new products to fill growing niches. Cafés and car yards aren’t start-ups because there is no innovation involved. But a company creating mobile apps can be a start-up, or one that hooks you up with the best surfing locations around the world. But because start-ups start small, they don’t have multiple staff or the space and budget for office equipment. Offices tend to be wherever the owner is – whether at home or out on the road.
Because there is so much to organise, start-ups need to be constantly in touch with advertising companies, customers, contractors and suppliers. The smartphone allows a modern entrepreneur to take calls, email and even fax to email without being tied to an office or fixed phone and fax lines.
Here are four clever ways for start-ups to stay in touch while taking care of business.
1. These days, it’s possible to use the scope of digital technology to answer and redirect phone calls from customers. It’s not necessary for small businesses to be on call 24/7 to answer phones. Toll free numbers now come with a variety of functions attached to them and can operate via smartphone. These include personalised greetings, call forwarding and routing calls to other locations depending on the time of day or the day of the week. Customers like to feel that their call is being answered in a professional manner and using a toll free number gives you this advantage.
2. There’s an app for everything, from telling you where the nearest pharmacy is to finding out the name of a song playing in the background. Probably some of the most useful ones for businesses are scheduling apps. The calendar app that came with your smartphone isn’t up to the rigours of a busy business week. Apps like Cal can present your day in a visually enhanced way so that at a glance you can see where your busiest times will be, and you can keep track of who you need to email or call and when.
3. Cloud-based project management software that you can access via smartphone ties together the people involved in completing a task.
Each individual’s targets are shown in relation to others, while the timeline for completion is also shared between all those signed in to the project.
Individuals can communicate through the program, sending emails and files, while being sent reminders of when tasks are due.
Project management software saves time, because everyone knows where they are in the timeline and the tasks they need to complete.
4. Communicating internally through project management software is one thing, but what happens when you want to fax a large multi-page document out to a client or a contractor and you don’t have an office fax machine?
A virtual fax service works from any laptop, desktop computer or smartphone, and offers greater flexibility, mobility and lower costs. It works by setting up fax to email capability on your existing email service. You simply attach the document you want to send to the email and put in the recipient’s fax number. The document is sent just like a regular fax.
Mobile faxing is just one of the clever communication solutions available to contemporary start-ups.