Once upon a time, running a business from home had something of a cap – a limit to the revenue it was possible to create or the kind of infrastructure you could home to base from your humble place of work.
Now though, all that’s changed. Need a commercial-level internet connection? Need the kind hardware that was previously only available for established businesses? No problem.
What’s more, the kind of IT you need to run your business to a million-dollar-plus level no longer costs the Earth.
So, if you’re hoping to aggressively expand your home business, what kind of infrastructure will you need? And what’s possible when your office is also your home?
A 4G/5G router
Home internet connections are improving all the time. In some major cities, high-speed fiber is available for domestic use, and it’s not unusual for a busy home to be using a huge amount of data each month.
The trouble is, these connections aren’t made for business use. They might offer decent speeds, but there’s generally no way of prioritizing your most important data. Great for streaming box-sets – but less helpful when it comes to making sure client video calls stay up and your cloud-based systems are always accessible.
This is why many home-based businesses are turning to 4G and 5G routers. Selecting the right device for your needs and budget is important though, as not all mobile routers are designed to support a business.
Don’t panic if you’re thinking that there’s no hope of running a business with a cellular internet connection akin to that on your phone – there’s much more to 4G routers. Rather than relying on one connection to keep you online, commercial-grade devices take a number of SIMs and create one, high-speed connection by combining the data they offer. The result? A blisteringly fast connection that goes virtually anywhere with you. What’s more, some devices even offer a class of service settings too – so if you’ve got mission-critical apps that you just cannot live without, you know you can keep them up.
A high-quality CRM
When people imagine running a business from home, it’s not uncommon to think of a busy dining table, an open laptop, papers scattered around, and a hot cup of coffee providing the energy.
While this is sometimes going to be the case, there’s no reason to believe a home business can’t be a neat and organized company – just like any counterpart with an office and a workforce.
Part of the challenge of making sure this is the case is organizing your clients. Whether or not you’re working from home, the people you’re interacting with expect the same exceptional level of service – and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is a sure-fire way of making sure you can give it to them.
A good CRM system is going to be customizable, so you can tailor it to fit your company’s process and workflows perfectly. When setting up, you’ll be able to track the status of every prospect you have as a business, whether that’s a potential client or repeat business from existing customers.
This information is absolutely invaluable if you want to make sure you’re maximizing your efforts. What if following up with every client at the right time leads to more orders? What if you could automate some of your prospecting services? A CRM removes the doubt that comes when managing your clients and workflows is done with a spreadsheet – and puts it in the hands of a sophisticated piece of software that doesn’t forget.
A cloud-based project management tool
If you’re working with freelancers, contractors, or other work-from-home professionals, it can be difficult to get everyone together in one place to discuss where you’d like your project to go.
In fact, in many cases, this is downright impossible.
In the absence of a physical space where you can do this, having a digital space makes a lot of sense – but it needs to be one that can be easily used. After all, no one wants to spend a huge amount of time trying to tackle your project management tool just so they can work for you.
This is where tools like Monday, Basecamp, and Trello are invaluable.
Generally, a project will play out over a range of different systems. Email, phone calls, notes, letters, attachments – and so on. While this is fine, having one place to store and search through all of these things is vital.
A good project management tool will give you the option to create specific tasks too – with each of those accessible to just the people who need to work on the project.
If you’d like to step away from messy, color-coded spreadsheets and into something that feels like a tidy, well-organized office, then finding a good project management tool is the way forward.
Until recently, having servers and dedicated development platforms was something reserved for businesses that had the kind of premises and support that would allow them to pay the substantial running costs and keep up with the maintenance involved.
Now though, that’s changed.
Today, the tech giants that have previously supplied this kind of high-end infrastructure for businesses recognize that organizations are changing. It’s not uncommon for software, e-commerce, or marketing company to start in someone’s home – and grow by recruiting remote workers from around the world – rather than moving into fancy Silicone Valley offices.
For this reason, you can now access a huge range of services that can help you accelerate your growth. Need dedicated mail servers? Storage servers that put your business infrastructure online so you can employ professionals around the globe? Or maybe you need your own development platform so you can create your own systems to drive your business forward?
Now, it’s possible – thanks to Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Rather than relying on costly dedicated development platforms or hardware, you can now buy into these services remotely – accessing virtual services that are part of much larger systems set up by cloud-based providers. If you want to drive your home business forward with the kind of systems that were only available to huge businesses recently, the PaaS and IaaS are worth exploring.
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