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IT Systems for Sole Traders or Small Business

The business landscape has changed over the last decade and more and more customers today are referring to online sources as the first preference to either make decisions on purchases or do the purchase itself.

IT can be a complex and expensive world to navigate for someone starting a small business and in many cases, it is an afterthought and not taken into account during initial planning.

Here are a few steps that will help you to think about IT and how you can start simple but still plan ahead when considering to open a new business.

Selecting a business name

Once you have shortlisted names that you like, to avoid a name that is already taken or closely resembles a brand or name that you do not want association with, you can check these four sources

Business registry
Most countries keep a registry of business names where people can look up information about an existing business. 
In Australia, you can check this on the ASIC website

Verify that there are no trademarks already issued in your selected business name.

Domain name availability

Use a provider like NameCheap to check for domain names availability
This is quite important as this is your presence on the web and the way that your customers find you.

Social media accounts
Check facebook, twitter, Instagram, and any other social media that you are keen to utilize now or later on. You do not want to leave it until later on even if you do not plan to engage users via social media right away.

Now, register domain and social media accounts. 
Register your business name. 
Ideally, you should do this in a single sitting so that you do not leave things to chance.

Next Steps:

Choose an email and office suite provider
Google and Microsoft are popular providers and they are quite cheap for the features provided.

Create a google account for webmaster
This is to later track your website usage and also to associate your business on google maps to this account.

Create a simple website
You can use an easy platform like blogger for static content.

Create simple ads on FB and Google to promote your business
It is surprisingly easy and cheap to create targetted ads for your business on Facebook and Google. Try experimenting with different images and text to maximize your traffic to your campaigns.

Work environment setup

Select your IT hardware including laptop etc.
Desk, chair, footrest, keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer/scanner, filing cabinet. Good ergonomics can help a lot.

Don't forget to insure your office, contents, and business.

This is certainly no comprehensive list, there is more you can do to have a successful online presence. Let me know what you think in comments.


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