Episode 9 of the Coder's Block podcast out now

So, this is the year you finally do it? 2018 is the year you start to create your very own business. Good for you! You were wasted in that job anyway. You were underpaid, under stimulated and under appreciated. An inventive, dynamic and resourceful person like you deserves to make their mark on the business world. But there’s no reason to start your business off on the wrong foot by miring it in expensive overhead costs for office space and new equipment. Not when you can cultivate your business from home, substituting a premises and expensive equipment for the digital tools of the 21st century entrepreneur. Moreover, you don’t even need to quit your day job. You can get your business up and running while still drawing a reliable income.

Apps not money traps

Running a successful business from home is far easier when you have the right apps, and most of these are usually available either for free, for a special introductory price or offer a free trial period which savvy entrepreneurs can and should take advantage of to increase their productivity without cutting into the profit margins that are so important to ensure the survival of nascent businesses. Unless you have the knowledge or time to code your own apps, the software choices you make will play a huge part in the productivity and success of your business.

Collaboration

No entrepreneur is an island, and you’ll want to work closely with a trusted team of people who will share your workload and allow you to play to your strengths while bringing their own ideas and skills to the table. Quick and easy collaboration between your team is vital to keep everyone motivated and ensure effective communications. Trying to track an exchange of ideas across emails, texts and WhatsApp messages is rarely conducive to productive collaboration.

Slack is a great tool for communicating within and between teams, while Asana is great project management tool for assigning projects to collaborators and tracking their progress. Paypal is an effective solution for paying your team (although they may take a commission if you have to pay international collaborators in exchanged currencies) and you can even use a paystub generator for your employees’ tax records. That makes collaboration easier and more efficient than ever.

Customer relations

If you have a business, chances are you have customers, and managing their contact details as well as documenting your contact with them is essential in managing your customer relations. The market is awash with Customer Relations Management (CRM) solutions to help facilitate this. While Salesforce is a bona fide market leader, but it comes with a hefty price tag. HubSpot CRM, however, is an easy to use CRM solution that’s well suited to small businesses, not least because it’s completely free.

Payment processing

You’ve got to get paid right? And the importance of making sure that your customers can pay you securely and easily cannot be overstated. While Wave enables you to make professional looking invoices, receipts and estimates in seconds, and HelloSign is a great tool for making contracts, Stripe and Square are both great tools for receiving payments from customers quickly, easy and securely.

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