Tech Essentials for Female Founders
So you’ve decided to strike out on your own, or set up a small business. Good for you! Welcome to the Female Founders club. Let’s talk tech essentials.
The thing is, you’ve got a great idea and you’re probably running before you can walk out of necessity. More often than not you’re in the position you’re in because life has forced your hand and you’ve had to make a change.
Unless you’re already working with technology (and even if you are), the last thing on your mind is “what are the essential bits of kit I should have to get me going”.
I’ve got you covered.
In the first in a series of content, I’m going to cover the tech essentials you should get for your new business.
Chicken or Egg, which comes first?
The egg apparently, but that’s not the point.
No, what I mean is, should you start with your business name or should you start by getting the kit you need?
In theory, you can go with either way around.
However, if you want to get a website built quickly or have an email address with your business name on it, then you’re probably going to want to have your business name sorted out.
I would actually recommend you get thinking about your name. It’s much easier to start having conversations about what it is your doing if you’ve got a name for your business.
“But wait! What if I haven’t got that?”
I’ve got you covered. I’m launching a FREE course (who doesn’t love the sound of that word when you’re starting out??) this week, called Business Naming Basics. Be the first to get access and sign-up here.
Full Steam Ahead
You’ve already got a name? That’s fantastic! What is it? I’d love to know, why not share it in the comments below.
Now you’re probably looking for a list of the things you absolutely can’t do without.
How about I share with you the top 5 things you realistically need to run a business for the first 6 months at least.
I’ve even put together a comparison cheat sheet to help you out. Click on the button below to grab your copy (and an exclusive 20% discount on one of the products).
Tech Essentials & Budget Sheet
Seems obvious doesn’t it? But what if you’re using a computer that’s probably seen better days?
If your computer is older than 3 years, and you can afford it, I would invest in getting yourself a newer model.
Mac or PC?
Do you know what? it doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re picking something that you’re comfortable using and is in your budget.
I would avoid anything second hand unless it’s no more than 3 years old, and has been looked after.
If you’re looking for new, and affordable, I would pick a PC or a Chromebook.
If you can afford it and it’s to your taste, pick a Mac.
I’m in the Apple camp – but it doesn’t bother me if someone is or isn’t.
Again, it seems stupid doesn’t it? But most business is done via email these days and it’s become a necessity.
I could tell you that the first job I had in tech support no less, we didn’t have external email. To connect your corporate email up to an outside server was REALLY expensive. And most companies, wouldn’t justify the minions having external email accounts.
But in this day and age, email is pretty much free.
I wouldn’t advise using a free account for long though. If you’re building a reputation for yourself, there’s only so long you can use your nickname @gmail.com for.
You might be daunted at the prospect of how on earth you set-up an email with your business name on it. It’s actually pretty easy.
Reliable and secure options
I use Google for my email and document management. I do pay, it’s about £7 per month. Plus the cost of renewing the domain registration each year (which is around £10). The advantage is that I get the google drive suite of products included in the price.
If you don’t fancy Google, Microsoft also offer the same kind of thing (i.e. email and Microsoft Office 365). They’re a bit more expensive but still a reliable choice.
They’re my top two choices. When you get around to sorting out your website, if you host your website with a web host then they’ll often throw in an email server with the package. This option does save you tangible money, but they don’t all offer the same kind of protection or support that you would get from Google or Microsoft for example.
Whether you choose Google or Microsoft, you’re looking at no more than £15 per person / per month. As each platform comes with cloud storage that you can set-up as if it’s a network drive on your chosen operating system. It’s a REALLY cheap form of insurance.
I’ll cover why considering these items as insurance in another post.
Office Software & Cloud Storage
This is a twofer, you know, two fer one. Simply because if you buy Microsoft or Google email then you’ll get their respective office suites and cloud storage in one go.
Now, what if I said you could pretty much run your entire business with nothing more than email and office software?
You’d think I’d lost the plot, would you?
Well, you can! (and don’t worry, I tend to lose the plot at least once a week, that’s the menopause for you!)
I mean I wouldn’t advise doing it for a long time, but you can write letters in Word or Google Docs, you can create brochures in PowerPoint or Slides and you can manage projects & do your accounting in a spreadsheet.
In fact, the first draft of this article was written in Google Docs, on my laptop whilst sitting in my garden.
I actually use both Microsoft Office and Google. Google tends to take most of the hard work day-to-day. I use Office for PowerPoint (as I can’t use my brand fonts in Google), and Excel, as I work on spreadsheets for a client that has coding in them.
Both platforms come with cloud storage (of varying size) and little apps that allow you to save files directly to the cloud from your PC or Mac.
I use the Google drive app. You can see the drive and folders that I’ve added shortcuts to. This means I don’t have any excuse not to save to the cloud.
You do have the option of making your content available off line if you do a lot of working away from wifi.
The cloud drive also allows me to share files with people outside of Angels Playing Skittles. It saves me additional money on 3rd party cloud storage services.
As both Google Drive and Microsoft 365 include cloud storage with their subscriptions, it’s a bit of a no brainer.
If you’d like to get 20% off your first year with Google GSuite (if you pick that one) grab a copy of my Tech Essentials & Budget Planner Cheat Sheet below.
This one is a little left field, I know…. BUT! There’s a good reason for including it. Let me give you two scenarios.
Scenario 1 – you get an email from a business “we’ve been hacked” panic sets in and dread floods you. Will they access your data? What do you do?
Scenario 2 – it’s 11pm, you need to get into a service you don’t use very often and need it to do something for a client. You can’t remember what the password is, and when you go to reset the password, you can’t remember which email address you’ve used.
Both of these can cost you money, tangibly and intangibly.
If you use a password manager to store all your login information, you’ve got a few really hand benefits from it
There are a few different ones out there, and I’m going to write a separate article on how to pick the right one for you, how much they cost and how to use them.
You will need to buy a good one. But I’m going to ask you, how much will it cost you if someone gets your username and password? How much might you stand to lose financially if someone got into your bank account or accountancy software?? How much time would you lose trying to sort it out?
I can guarantee the answer is going to be more than £30 which is what 1Password costs per year. That’s LESS than I pay in business insurance PER MONTH.
I use 1Password, which is compatible with Mac OSX, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux & Chrome OS.
I used to be known for being the virus brain surgeon in one tech support job I had. Why? Because I had the patience and skill to strip virus’ from the registry of Windows PCs. The only reason why I did was because it was, at the time, cheaper to strip the virus than it was to rebuild them.
However, virus’ have moved on since then. Now the bigger threat is malware taking control of your computer and holding it to ransom. If you haven’t stored all your data in the cloud and you don’t have a password manager, being held to ransom is stressful and expensive.
Whilst having antivirus doesn’t always protect you from getting a virus or malware attack, it dramatically reduces the risk you will.
If you happen to end up on any slightly dodgy websites they’ll often stop crap from being downloaded to your computer. Handy, eh?
There are a number of different anti-virus on the market you could pick from. I’ve listed three that I’ve used and found good at the time of using them.
I used to swear by Sophos because it’s bloody brilliant on PCs. If you’re running a Mac I would avoid it though – it made mine slow and unresponsive.
I use Malwarebytes on all my Mac’s. You can get it for Windows and Mac.
Another one you could use is Avast, which is also available for Windows and Mac.
I will do a longer article on Antivirus software as there are a lot of myths and misconceptions around what they do and don’t do.
The only one I’ll cover here is “I’ve got a Mac, they don’t get virus”. It’s a big fat myth, they can get them and you do need protection. They are less frequent than Windows ones, but that doesn’t mean you should be complacent.
Tech Essentials & budget Cheat sheet
Life’s too short to have to keep reading this blog post.
So I’ve created a comparison table for Email & Office Platforms; Antivirus & Password Managers.
I’ve even thrown in a budget planner.
Download today and get an exclusive 20% off your first year with Google GSuite.