starting a business checklist genxtra communications

Our starting a business checklist should really be in the plural form. We assume that you are ready to start making your business happen and have already seen the lengthy starting a business checklist posts and just want to know what the real next crucial steps are, especially the tools and technology part.

As a reminder, here is our initial Starting a Business Checklist. This list is not legal advice, nor is it a complete checklist. Think of it as a compressed guidance checklist.

Initial Starting a Business Checklist

  1. You have focused on your big idea and narrowed down exactly what product or service you are offering.
  2. You have researched your product or service in terms of the marketplace and competition, as well as your intended demographics.
  3. You have calculated your startup costs and written a business plan.
  4. You have sourced your products, raw materials, resources needed, determined product or service pricing and understand your profit margins and more.
  5. You have developed the concept of your Brand, your Brand strategy, and your Brand identity.
  6. You have registered your business, confirmed that there are no infringement issues, and are ready to proceed “legally”.
  7. You understand how to manage your money or you have someone that does.
  8. You understand marketing or have someone who does.
  9. You have ideas on how to grow your business, or have someone who does.
  10. You understand the critical value of customer service and the customer experience.

Congratulations! You’ve completed the initial starting a business checklist and you’re ready to get started! Now let’s look at the tools and technology needed to start your business!

GenXtra Communications, we’re here to help.

Starting a Business Checklist: Basic Communications Technology

Business Voice System

A Business Voice System typically enables voice communication within a business or organization. Modern business voice systems are designed to enhance communication, collaboration, and productivity. This is one of the most important items in a starting a business checklist.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS): UCaaS is a cloud based business voice system that often integrates with other communication channels (hence the name “unified”) such as video conferencing, instant messaging, SMS/MMS, website chat and more. UCaaS can streamline communication and collaboration.

UCaas Systems have all the features needed such as Auto-Attendant, Voicemail, Call Routing and Forwarding, mobile applications and so much more.

When implementing a Business Voice System, businesses need to consider their specific communication requirements beyond just the basics. They need to consider the size of their workforce and the nature of their business operations. Many businesses choose cloud-based solutions for their flexibility and ease of management.

If companies are expecting larger volumes of calls and need the ability to engage with customers on multiple platforms (“channels”), then Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is the desired method.

Business Internet Access

“Business internet” means internet services specifically designed for the needs of businesses. Business internet services are distinct from residential internet services in terms of speed, reliability, features, and very importantly, support.

Many people work from home these days, and for most, residential internet can be sufficient. With a reliable internet connection at home, you can also connect to UCaaS and CCaas systems. With residential class internet access, there are some limitations in terms of reliability, security, scalability and symmetrical upload and download speeds. These items are addressed with business class internet access.

Business class fiber internet access is a great option and is becoming more and more available. Fiber optic internet connections can provide extremely fast and reliable internet service. Business fiber is a must at the office due to internal servers, systems and more.

It’s important for a company to assess its specific internet access needs and choose a plan that includes speed, reliability, security, and support. Additionally, there are network redundancy options available that keep things running in the event of an outage. Consider all possibilities, as well as future scalability, critical business needs and growth. This is another critical item in a starting a business checklist.

All of the features above and below are included with our base plans. For a smaller office, see our UCaaS solutions. For larger companies, see our CCaaS solutions.

Whole office UCaaS plans start a $99 per month. Full Contact Center CCaaS starts as low as $599 per month.

GenXtra Communications, we’re here to help.

Business SMS/MMS

Business SMS/MMS, or business text messaging, refers to the use of short message service (SMS), and/or Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) for communications and interactions with customers, clients, or employees.

Today, Business SMS/MMS is one of the most critical “channels” of communication with your business preferred by customers. Actually, it’s not just a preference, it’s expected and therefore a requirement.

Business SMS/MMS offers a direct and quick way to convey information between your business and your customers.

Today, 10DLC Registration is required and was started by mobile carriers to fight spam. Hence, we are not referring to spamming prospects, we are talking about communicating with actual customers who have given you consent to message them.

Here are some key features to give you the idea of the power of business SMS/MMS. There are many more use cases, but these are the most common ways businesses deploy SMS/MMS:

  1. Customer Communication:
    • Promotions and Offers: Businesses SMS/MMS allows businesses and organizations the ability to send promotional messages, discounts, and special offers to their customers.
    • Appointment Reminders: For Businesses that are service-oriented you can use SMS to send appointment messages and reminders to customers. This can also help reducing no-shows and improving scheduling efficiency.
  2. Transactional Messages:
    • Order Confirmations/Shipping Updates: E-commerce businesses can add additional touch points in regards to customer experience by sending SMS notifications to confirm orders, and provide order status, shipping and tracking updates.
    • Service Alerts: Businesses can inform customers about the status of their technicians that are en route, including location tracking information and more.
  3. Internal Communication:
    • Employee Notifications: Businesses use SMS for internal communication, such as notifying employees about meetings, events, or urgent updates.
    • Alerts and Reminders: SMS is employed for sending alerts and reminders to employees for various purposes.
  4. Customer Support:
    • Two-Way Communication: SMS enables two-way communication between businesses and customers, allowing for inquiries, support, and issue resolution.
    • Automated Responses: Businesses can set up automated SMS responses for common customer queries.
  5. Marketing Campaigns:
    • Surveys and Feedback: Businesses conduct surveys and collect feedback through SMS to gauge customer satisfaction.
    • Event Invitations: SMS is used to send invitations and reminders for events, webinars, or conferences.

Business Video Conferencing

Business video conferencing is a must in terms of communication today. It allows individuals or groups in different locations to conduct face-to-face meetings without being in the same place physically.

This technology has become increasingly popular due to its ability to support remote working environments, convenience, cost-effectiveness, and the growing trend of working from home or on the road.

Here are some key aspects of business video conferencing:

  1. Scheduling Meetings and Events
  2. Customer/Staff Training and Support
  3. Conference Recording and Archiving
  4. Company Etiquette Training and Communication
  5. Integration with Other Tools
  6. Collaborative and Sharing Features

Business Mobile Solutions

Everyone has a mobile phone now, so why not use your mobile phone as a powerful extension of your phone system? As a business, mobile phones and devices should be a part of the “Unified Communications” plan. Use your cell phone, have separate personal and business numbers on a single device.

A Unified Communications plan involves integrating various communication tools and channels into a unified platform accessible via mobile devices.

  1. Mobile Accessibility of Cloud PBX
  2. Integration of Communication Channels
  3. Presence Management
  4. Collaboration Tools
  5. Video Conferencing
  6. Instant Messaging
  7. Unified Messaging

Implementing a unified communications strategy that includes mobile devices can enhance communication and collaboration within a business, especially in today’s dynamic and mobile work environments.

It allows a business and its employees to stay connected and productive regardless of their location.

Basic Communications Technology: Summary

If you are a new business, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Seriously think about that. What is going to set you apart quicker from your competition once you get a customer? Everyone is already assuming that you product or service is great. Do not overlook any of these items in you starting a business checklist.

Plan ahead now to blow away your customers and deliver a stellar “Customer Experience (CX)” which allows your customers to refer you to their friends and family with pride. This also allows your customers to become loyal customers and is one the most cost effective ways to make your business grow.

Starting a Business Checklist: Basic Business Presence Technology

These items are not included in our base plans, but we can assist you. Take a break, and come back to this section with a fresh perspective! The following items are equally as important as everything above.

Website

Your business website is often the first interaction potentially interested customers have with your business. Think about yourself as a consumer. You saw an advertisement or a friend referred you to a business – what is often one of your first steps? Checking out the business website right?

Investing time and effort into creating a professional and user-friendly site is essential and should not be considered lightly. Your website should be an important item in your starting a business checklist.

We hear all too often that “a website can be built in 2 hours”, “just build the website yourself”. Websites can in fact be built in 2 hours, and today, most can figure out how to do it themselves.

It is our opinion that these suggestions could not be farther from one of the “best practices” that we recommend. Similarly, we also do not recommend you do your own taxes…

A business website should be thought of as a powerful “business brand hub” and not just the end result of a 2 hour project whose functions are as limited by the time and manner it was put together.

Assume success now. Plan ahead to save money and time. Shield yourself from having to rebuild and re-brand later. Factor for about $1000 on the low end to do this correctly. Keep in mind that very successful brands start with websites that exceeded $20K to design and develop.

Social Media

It’s no question that social media has become a powerful and integral part of modern business communications, and business marketing strategies. This is one way to actively engage with your customers and future customers. We recommend social media presence, planning posts, and having a dedicated team.

A business should also be able respond to comments, messages, and mentions as well as encourage discussions, ask questions, and more.

Remember, a business has to allow its customers to communicate with them in ways that the customer wants to. Customers today use the phone, SMS/MMS, video conferencing, website chat, social media and more.

This is on our starting a business checklist due to its importance.

SEO

Implement basic SEO practices to improve your website’s visibility on search engines. At first, SEO is a full time job. Once your business is up and running, it’s at least a part time job.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes using relevant keywords, creating descriptive meta tags, and optimizing images and so much more.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is basically a set of practices aimed at improving a business’s website visibility on search engines like Google and Bing.

A well-optimized website is more likely to rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), leading to increased organic traffic.

You did it!

While there are still a few steps left to get your business fully up and running, completing this starting a business checklist puts you at a place where you can soft launch your business to the world.

This is a critical phase in your journey where you can stress test your website, your voice system, mobile integration and more. Use this time to gather customer feedback, and modify things before your big grand opening. Contact us for help.

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