selection of some indispensable and useful tools to start a business of your own
To start your business as a ME-commercer, our suggestion is to buy a laptop or, alternatively, a PC interconnected with a tablet.
Working on a PC will allow you to work more easily than when using just the tablet, but the tablet in the absence of a laptop will allow you to view the site and social media together with the client, for whom you will manage these. You should have one user-friendly tool.
Obviously you cannot do less than a smartphone, a tool that will allow you to be always connected to the world and to work on the move. Through the many available apps you can post photos and videos, comment on a forum, update social media, check emails and much more. An advice we give you is to buy a smartphone with a good built-in camera because the quality of the published images always makes the difference.
A printer is not essential for the management of an e-commerce site or a marketing campaign, but it can be very useful for printing, re-reading and archiving the most important documents, even if all of them always have to be backed up. Either on an external hard drive or online through the storage systems available. If you plan to buy a printer, choose one that also works as a scanner, the tool that allows you to take digital pictures of documents and import them into your computer. A storage system that we recommend is Google Drive.
The camera is not an indispensable tool: current smartphones allow you to take high quality photographs and post them in real time on social media. But if you are passionately interested in a good camera, you can use higher quality images that you can use in more complex graphics projects. Alternatively you can use images from sites like pixabay, Flickr. Always pay attention to the rules of use.
Find out more about these links:
High-speed Internet connection will allow you to work in the best conditions, so it will be important for you to check the offers on the market.
Our advice is to first check the coverage and the speed that the telecommunication companies offer, but also the assistance service that can sometimes make a difference. A tip: in an emergency you can use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
To plan, implement, manage and control a project there are many tools at your disposal today. In fact, from Trello to Slack, via Facebook Workplace and Microsoft Teams, there is an increasing number of online tools for managing workflows, with specific features, paid or open source. For more information go to the Competencies page of this Module.
To use free tools that do not require installation, we suggest you start using the simple tools provided by Google, as a google drive for sharing resources with your customers, google calendar for sharing appointments, keep to add notes, write down lists and voice reminders …
Learn more with the help of Google.
To optimize contact with companies and reduce physical travel, the technology now offers VoIP programs: Voice over Internet Protocol. The acronym explains exactly the essence of communication in VoIP: the ability to make a telephone conversation using an Internet connection.
Skype and Google Hangout use this technology allowing you to make video calls and video-conferences, even multiple.
Spreadsheets simplify life. Knowing how to use Excel or an equivalent program like Google Sheets or Numbers in their basic form will help you on many occasions. In our opinion, the functions that will be useful in your business as ME-traders are basically the following: enter numbers automatically, sort the cells according to a pre-established criterion and perform calculations with functions and formulas. Here we provide the official links to take the first steps and to understand which functions you cannot give up.
“Cloud Computing” is a business model in which the user does not buy a product or a service, but the possibility of using that product or service remotely, without having to physically dispose with it. Some of the activities you can do with the cloud:
In a nutshell, it is a form of an advanced technological service economy.
You will not have to monitor, maintain or update your applications and tools: cloud computing will take care of you, paying a fee, the amount of which is defined on a periodic basis or based on consumption. To understand more and for a free trial you can go to Google Cloud
To submit a survey, collect email addresses for a newsletter, process a quiz, you can use Google Forms. With this easy tool you can create and analyse surveys directly in the web browser, without using a special software. In addition, more people can work at the same time and each change is automatically saved.
This is the guide, step by step.
An alternative to Google Forms is SurveyMonkey: find out how it works https://www.surveymonkey.com/
To manage e-mail marketing campaigns, the network offers various tools. One of the most widespread and efficient is MailChimp: a web platform dedicated to sending newsletters that supports those who use e-mail marketing to optimise the whole process.
There are many graphic programs you can use. As for the images, for example, today the photographs are taken mainly with smartphones and tablets for which there are many applications, retouching and editing photos, managed directly by these tools: among the most popular belong Instagram and Snapseed. However, in your business of ME-commercer you may not to be able to manage and modify the images with the aforesaid tools, but you will need ad hoc programs. Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign are Adobe programs – the most used for graphics and photo editing: useful and effective but paid. Then there are GIMP, first free alternative to Photoshop and Inkscape, an alternative also free to an illustrator.
There are many other graphic and image editing programs and you can find more searching the Internet.
Our advice is to find some and test them, navigating through the different functions and trying to make a first graphic project: your logo or, using, for example, a program like PICKTOCHART (we talked about in the introductory page of the course), an infographic to tell your skills. In section 4 of this module – Tools to promote yourself – we present an example.
For an overview of the terms and words most used in the web marketing sector, please refer to the SEMPO website *
* SEMPO is a non-profit organization specialized in the digital marketing sector and professionals working in this sector.