Cool Tools for SA Startups
We constantly hear and read about the successes of startups such as Apple, Facebook and Google. The truth is that we all (or at least most of us) have thought about starting our own business and some of us have actually done so. Only to find out that starting a business is easy but running a startup business is not that easy.
The South African legislative environment contributes to the challenges of running a business and forces businesses to invest in their administrative capabilities to ensure compliance and to avoid hefty penalties and interest that might put cash flow under more pressure than needed. For start-ups there is no difference, especially when it comes to income and other taxes. Most start-ups do not have the funds to employ or contract someone to do these administrative and compliance tasks. This usually leads to the entrepreneur attempting it on his own. The result is normally hours and hours behind the PC, after hours and/or over weekends to try and catch-up with the admin backlog.
Then there is all the other stuff that requires your attention such as marketing and IT. Yes, IT! Startups are just as dependent on IT these days as the established businesses, in fact I think they are actually more dependent on IT due to the fact that the entrepreneur needs to be mobile, doing business as effective as possible and from anywhere at any time. There is no time to be wasted and every hour, every minute needs to be focused on the business and needs to be spent in a manner which contributes to profit.
The good news is that software companies recognise the small and medium size businesses (SMEs) as a huge growth area and have developed tools to assist with challenges such as accounting, payroll, marketing, IT, etc. The even better news is that most of these tools are cloud based which allows you to use them anywhere and anytime at a very affordable monthly subscription fee which does not break the bank.
Below are a few COOL TOOLS that I would like to share with you.
Accounting and Payroll in the Cloud
I’ve always been someone who looks for the opportunity to do things differently and more effectively. SAGE ONE from Sage Pastel is one of these cool tools that allows an entrepreneur to run their business by managing your customers, suppliers, inventory and cash and at the same time keep the accounting and payroll records up to date.
It saves you time through clever automations such as Automatic Bank Feeds, Payroll Calculations, Customisable Dashboards, etc. It complies with SARS requirements and generates tax certificates. UIF, SDL, PAYE and IRP5’s are also taken care of.
In my view any start-up should consider using this tool to reduce their time spent on administrative compliance tasks even if you have your own accountant. Tools like these will enable you to make business decisions based on financial and cash flow information which will definitely contribute to the success of your business.
For more information visit: www.sageone.co.za..
Email and Office in the Cloud
I don’t know about you, but as long as my email works and I have Office on my PC, I can run my business.
Microsoft has introduced an online version of Office called Office 365. What really impressed me about O365 is the fact that you get access to real business productivity tools such as Exchange for your emails, SharePoint for document management and OneDrive for backing up your stuff and of course the full Office stack, Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook (Dependent on the package you choose). One of the biggest benefits for me is the fact that everything is in the cloud and gets backed up regularly. You can also download and install the Office stack on your PC which enables you to work even when you are not connected.
For more information and South African Rand based pricing visit: http://office.microsoft.com/en-za/
Build your own website in 10 minutes
Vigo allows anyone to build a website. You don’t need to understand technology or have the skill to programme websites to use Vigo. You don’t even need to be a graphic designer. You simply upload your logo and select your preferred theme from the Vigo templates and voila!. The good news is that you never again have to wait for costly consultants (or your cousin) to update your website; with Vigo you can do it yourself.
What I really like about Vigo is that it is a true South African product, developed by South Africans and it is also available on a monthly subscription fee basis.
Try it out, visit: www.myvigo.co.za