I operate three businesses out of my house: this blog, my drama classes, and my Etsy shop. Sometimes, I think I'm brilliant. Most of the time, I think I'm crazy. Small business ownership is challenging, stressful, fun, and maddening all at the same time.
There are a few things that are especially important to me as the proprietor of my varying enterprises. I want to be sure that each of my brands has its own unique style - but where I have some crossover, I also like for them to be unified. Keeping track of business expenses, sales, sponsors, and more is almost a full time job by itself, so it's crucial to stay organized. Thankfully, organization has always been one of my strong suits (if you saw how many different folders I have to store old emails in, you would probably be shocked) - but even I am challenged in this area sometimes.
I like to sort and answer email on my phone in the morning before my kids wake up and climb off of me to start their day. Email is the only project I typically tackle from my mobile - most of my files are either saved on my laptop or my desktop, so I have to wait until I am at a physical computer to deal with other projects. However, I think that may be changing because I just learned about Office 365 from GoDaddy. Why should this software change my productivity strategy, you ask? It is pretty fantastic because it allows a business owner to access Word, Excel or PowerPoint files, email, contacts, and more from any linked device - and it saves all the changes everywhere! It's like having a business headquartered in the Cloud. Amazing.
I don't have any business employees (yet), but if the day comes, the Collaboration and Online Meeting Solutions offered by Office 365 will certainly be useful. It has the capability to allow multiple users to view and edit a document at the same time. It's like a real life brainstorming session! And another great thing about this software is that there is no advanced IT knowledge required. I set up my account quickly on my own, but Office 365 from GoDaddy is designed for small businesses that don't have IT departments and help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Maybe you already have a small business - or maybe you're thinking of starting one. Either way, here are my top three "must-have" items for running a small business!
1. An Idea - A Really Good One. Businesses succeed when they are able to generate something for their consumers that no one else can make. I am proud of the unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind items for sale in my Etsy shop. I'm thrilled when I can create online content that someone else finds inspiring. But of my three businesses, the most successful is my drama program - which has been running for over ten years now. It's never marketed outside word-of-mouth and continues to grow each year. My business model for the classes are unlike anything I've seen elsewhere, and I believe that's the key to its success.
2. A Computer and a Designated Work Time/Place. When you are first starting out, find the time to sit down and make some goals for your business. While this can be done via a device, I find it easier to have some dedicated work time with a real computer to make sure you know where your business is headed before you jump in headlong. Time set aside just to work on your business model may be difficult to come by if you're a stay/work-at-home mom like I am, but it can be done and it's so worth it.
3. Organization. Regardless of what you are doing or writing or selling, at some point you have to make sure all your ducks are in a row - or you'll have a serious nightmare next tax season. Do yourself a favor and keep track of every business expense and every hour that you work. This is where Office 365 from GoDaddy comes in handy. I can add a Hobby Lobby craft supply receipt to my Etsy spreadsheet immediately after I make the purchase via my mobile, and find it there when I go to balance my accounts later. I can tell you from years of experience that this is more convenient than having a huge pile of receipts to sort through when you've forgotten what half of your purchases were. Please make sure you're keeping business receipts for tax purposes - but ease your organization by entering them ASAP!
What features of Office 365 from GoDaddy would help you most in your small business?
One Director Jewels reader will win a 1-year Office 365 GoDaddy Business Essentials plan, and 1-year .COM, .NET or .ORG domain name registration! This giveaway will end on May 12 at 11:59pm CST. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.
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