Small businesses are on the rise, both in and out of the home. These days, it seems like everyone has a great idea for a startup, and with the global economy not just stabilizing but recovering, there’s usually plenty of help out there to make those ideas reality. According to Entrepreneur.com, starting a small or home based business is possible for anyone as long as they’re willing to take some risks and put in some serious work—but while many aspiring sole proprietors know what they want to do and are ready to do the work to get there, finding the tools to get them there is another story entirely.
Small Businesses Start Small
All too often small businesses use their loans and grants to invest in expensive, complex equipment that they believe will make getting it easier to get their business off the ground. The old saying that you get what you pay for may ring true most of the time, but as a small business it’s important to start at scale that isn’t just feasible at the present moment, but sustainable over a long period of time. Choosing the right tools from the outside is the key to ensuring continued sustainability with scalability; the process has much less to do with buying technology featuring all the best and newest features, and far more to do with figuring out exactly what features a business model needs to get started.
Generally, when starting up, you need devices that offer the following features:
• Mobile access to basic online platforms including email, calendar and social media
• The ability to process credit card payments as needed
• Access to instant messaging programs, cloud sharing and file storage (if applicable)
• An inventory tracking and maintenance system (if applicable)
At the beginning, it’s important to make every penny count, so establish what you, as an entrepreneur, require to operate your business smoothly. You may be surprised by the kind of tech and tools that really work best with your business model; a tablet or eReader may be more than sufficient for your business needs as a startup thanks to the number of apps, features and functions these devices offer. These mobile computers are more lightweight than a laptop, offer more functionality than a smartphone according to Business Bee, allow small business owners to be more accessible to their customers, increasing satisfaction and engagement.
Key Features for Busy Startups
While most tablets and eReaders offer the majority of features needed to help a small business succeed from anywhere you can find a Wi-Fi connection, looking into how those features and functions work together is really what makes a difference toward choosing the best device for a particular business model.
A few helpful features to look for in any tablet or eReader meant for business applications:
• Don’t go below 7 inches for screen size; this means avoid “phablets” like the iPhone 6 as your default device for small business management. However, while working too small is difficult, going up to laptop proportions seriously limits your mobility. Business News Daily recommends keeping it in the 7-inch to 8-inch range.
• Get a device that multi-tasks well, with easy switching between apps. The new Samsung NOOK offers a split-screen function to run two apps side by side, making it a great option for the busiest of small business owners.
• Make sure your device allows for easy note-taking—nobody wants to sift through a hundred scratch pads to find the name of that one customer or vendor. This is one place that eReader hybrids tend to work slightly better than a standard tablets, so keep an eye out for helpful apps.
• Inter-device compatibility is extremely important; make sure that your tablet, your computer and your phone can all communicate. Android operating systems offer greater compatibility between economic, small business friendly devices, so keep that in mind when you shop.
Your specific business model may require particular features not listed here, so make sure you do all the research before you buy a new device.
Getting the Right Tools
Once you know what you need out of a device, it’s easy to find one that suits your needs. Tools like Samsung’s new NOOK offer a streamlined and still highly compatible experience, at a price that even the smallest startup can afford; while a full-on tablet will often seem like the better option, the streamlined user interface and minimal stock apps included in eReader tablet hybrids make them a better choice for many small businesses.
Seeing the goal is always the easy part. When it comes to starting a business, finding the right tools to help you reach that goal is the single most important step you can take, so don’t take it lightly. Do the research and get exactly what you need.