4.3 Systems & Technology
And I would come to America on business trips, I made the, the Mac shop, my office, and I would just go into the, the Apple store. So take advantage of what's out there that's free, as long as it's not going to pose a problem for you in the future, when it comes time to change over. So make sure that you pay attention to both the, the physical side of your business and the digital, mobile, the social, the online aspect of, of your new venture.
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Now a lot of what I wanna say about systems and technology, I have actually integrated in the steps bringing us to where we are right now. Your accounting systems, the technology that you use to run your business. Basically my, my, the advice that I wanna give you here and what I want you to keep in your mind as you as you, start putting together your business deciding the software, the hardware you’re gonna use. You wanna look at a couple different things. One, you wanna look at compatibility. How compatibility, how compatible are your systems with each other. If you have a POS system, right, if you’re taking sales somewhere, does that speak to your accounting system? How does your accounting system speak to your, your credit card processing? How easy is it to credit, to, to process credit cards? Do you have terminals that you can swipe or do you have to have the customer sitting there while you punch in numbers? Right. What systems are you using? How compatible are they with each other? And, how far can they go? How far can you grow with that system? There’s also the tradeoff a lot of times between looks and functionality. There’s a lot of flashy looking systems out there that don’t work so well. There’s there’s systems that work very well. But, you know, maybe they’re not the most eth, esthetically pleasing. What’s important where that system is going to be employed. There’s also these days a huge trend towards cloud based systems. Running software from the cloud. So rather than install it to my computer, we’re gonna run it in the cloud. Pros and cons to this, and the company that, that I run today, I founded it in the cloud, I’ve always run it in the cloud, it’s always been cloud based. That has helped me tremendously because of the nature of my company. I travel a lot and I can walk in, into any place on earth that’s got a computer and I can instantly, as long as its got internet connection, I can bring up all of my programs and I can operate to my computer by my company that way. In fact, in the early days of my business I I was living overseas when I incorporated it. And I would come to America on business trips, I made the, the Mac shop, my office, and I would just go into the, the Apple store. Right. And I’d sit down at the computers and work all day. And I would do that for a couple days in a row. And after the second or third day when they were going for coffee, they’d say David do you want one? Right? Cause I was just kinda like part of the staff, they knew I was there doing my business. Okay. Cause I had all my accounts in the cloud. Having said that, I have suffered in some functionality by having some of my accounts in the cloud. Cloud based software sometimes is not as advanced as the desktop version, all right, or the server-based version, and I have suffered where that’s concerned as well. I’ve had to make the tradeoff, and I’ve chosen the one that allows me to do business anywhere, from any computer. Also, I’m a Mac guy. I use a, I use Apple computers and things like that. Well, what if I’m stuck somewhere without my Apple computer, where there isn’t an Apple computer? Because I use cloud based software, I can pull it up on, on any computer system. Okay. So, you gotta again, context strategy structure. Look at what you’re doing. And choose a strategic appoint approach to your software and then choose the software that fulfills the strategy that you’ve decided on, the software and the hardware. And, my last little note, my little free bonus is, take advantage of the free software out there as much as you can. Credit card readers like Square that technically operate for free. And, you get the merchant processors coming in and saying, oh, but you’re paying 2.75%. Yeah, you are but you’re actually saving a lot too by not having other monthly fixed costs or not having those contracts or things like that. Take advantage of free software. Software that maybe has a slightly higher variable cost. Right? As opposed to higher fixed costs. Because, in the beginning of your business, particularly, business is uncertain. If you can keep costs to only accruing when you’re doing business, a variable cost, then you can really, alleviate some headache and stress from yourself. So take advantage of what’s out there that’s free, as long as it’s not going to pose a problem for you in the future, when it comes time to change over. This brings us to the final thing that we wanna talk about in this module, module. And the conclusion of module four and of this course. We’re gonna talk about the bricks and clicks. Right. The bricks being where you operate and the clicks how you set up your online, your mobile, your digital presence. First of all, your office, your storefront, your place of business. Make sure that you consider what is really required from, from this location. I’m a big fan of virtual offices, especially in the beginning. There’s lots of companies out there that offer virtual offices. You can work out of your home because it’s cost effective. And yet, for the image, and credibility, and accessibility of your business, you’ve actually got an office building that you can use when you need to. Also just the difference in having a physical address, as opposed to a P.O. box, which, with a, with a with a virtual office, you’ll have a physical address. This goes a long way, with creditors, with with suppliers, with customers, because they view you as having a solid, physical location. The loo, the, the location of your physical location, the location of your office. Are customers gonna have to visit you? Do they need to visit you? If you’re in retail like I am, the location is absolutely everything. If you’re, if you’re a, a professional who’s, who pip, who’s customers are gonna come and see them. Is your location accessible and is it near your target market? Does it have proper parking? You know, don’t just look for the cheapest office out there or reasonable rent. You really, your customers don’t know what you’re paying. Your, your suppliers don’t know what you’re paying. Okay? The rent involved is not something that’s a factor to them, but where your office is, if it’s a shop, if it’s a store, where your store is. The accessibility of it can, is night and day difference can mean night and day difference between success and failure. In my business, in retail, one side of the street gets all the traffic, one side of the street gets none. The street up to here is where everybody goes, five feet more, right, one meter more, one and a half meters more. That’s it. Shoppers don’t go up there, okay? So you see all of these shops doing business, so you see a one vacant right here, well you go I’ll take it. Well the reason it was vacant is cause this last shop is where the shoppers stop, they don’t go to that one right there. It makes all the difference in the world. I could go on forever about this in terms of different businesses and of course we don’t have time for that. That, that, here. So you need to use common sense. And you need to do your own research. And you need to know what do I need out of a location. And is this location gonna give that to me. The website. Okay so now let’s move on to the clicks. Your business, in this day and age, really should have a website. Okay. You, you need a website. You need a web presence. Now, does it need to be a commerce based website? You know, where people can do transactions with a shopping cart and, and all that. Or is it more of a, an informational website? Right? In some cases, with B to B, maybe your website page is even locked. People go to your website and they have to put in a code to get in. Okay? Depending on the nature of your business, your website will serve different purposes but you really do need to get one and you should get one as early on as possible. There’s lots of great tools these days. I love Shopify for a commerce based website. If you don’t need it be a, a commerce based, you can simply go with Wicks. Although, with Wicks, you can also pay and get a shopping cart added onto it. So, your, remember, your website is gonna change. It’s gonna grow. Your website is clearly not set in stone. In talking about the website, one thing that I always like to say is, what you get out of your first website, is your first website tells you what you want in a website. Okay? So don’t spend too much money on it. Don’t spend too much money on it. Before it’s done, you’re gonna be saying, actually, what I really need is this. What I really need is that. And that’s why I like working with these companies that allow you to really kinda build your own websites within the parameters that they offer because that allows your website to be much more dynamic. What’s important is that you have a website. If it’s gonna be a functional, commercial that’s gonna do things, you might need to have it designed, okay? If it’s informational, it’s easy to put one up there these days and have it up and running. One of the most important things about a website is that, even if you think that there’s not a lot of need for it now, you really don’t know how vital to your business your website might be three, five, ten years down the road. And the thing about it is, is once you purchase your domain name, you register that domain name, the longer that domain name has been registered, the better it does in search engine, in, in, in, in searches, right? In browser searches. So you’re searching for something, the longer you’ve been there, the higher rating you get. So you really wanna get into the website A-S-A-P. Don’t leave that for down the road. Get, purchase your domain name, register your domain name, and put something up there, even if it’s just a coming soon. Put something up there right away. So, whether you’re, you’re launching an e-business, and you know that the website is gonna be intrical. Or you’re launching a business where you’re not quite sure how digital media digital mobile and social media is going to play into it. It’s good to understand that, that in the world that we currently operate, you’re going to operate in both. It might be, you know, 99% here, 1% here. It might be 99% here, 1% here. But you’re going to be operating in both. You need to have both up and running, active. You need to concern yourself with both. So make sure that you pay attention to both the, the physical side of your business and the digital, mobile, the social, the online aspect of, of your new venture. Well thank you for attending this course on the essentials of entrepreneurship. It’s been a pleasure to, to guide you through it, to take you through what I see as just the macro overview of the, the entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial process. I hope that through this, you’ve been able to identify some strengths that you have and you can see where you’ve already done some things right and you’ve properly set off on the road. But, at the same time, I hope that you’ve also been made aware of some issues that maybe you hadn’t considered or you realize you really need to tighten up or improve or get some more information on before you invest much more time, effort or money into a particular project or venture. Entrepreneurship is an incredible world. It is not for the faint of heart. It’s but it is a, it’s a, it’s a labor of passion, it’s a labor of love and for those of us who find ourselves entrepreneurs I don’t think there’s anything else we’d rather do. I recently heard of entrepreneurs defined as those crazy people who’d rather work 80 hours a week for themselves so they don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else. And if you think that sounds like you, then I look forward to seeing your company on the market and seeing you as a prosperous and successful entrepreneur.
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