So you have a business idea and you’re ready to set up shop. Whether it’s a service or a product you’re planning to offer the marketplace, the first few months and even years of running your own company will be an exciting time for you. It may be a hard and tiring time, but it may also be extremely rewarding when you manage to make it a success story.
Part of having your own brand will be making sure you are running your business as efficiently as possible, and using technology to do that is essential these days. So how do you know what technology is the correct choice for you and your company? Here are some tips on how you can select the best options for your business, whether you’re just starting out or you’re already up and running.
Look at your business needs
Conduct an inventory of the technology your business uses as it stands. What are you already using, and how well is it serving your business? When doing your inventory, you’ll need to assess where there are holes within your technology infrastructure, so put your current technology into one of three categories: good, bad, or needs improvement.
You may be used to using outdated or difficult methods of working, so it could be tricky to see ways to improve it. Think about how your business processes could be made easier by improving the technology that’s available to you and any staff you may have.
Some common areas for technology improvements may include:
- Accounting and finance
- Ordering and tracking
- HR management
- Database management
Pick technology that will grow with you
You will need to seriously consider what technology you are going to buy because it’s likely to be expensive for you to purchase. One way you could assess your purchase could be to have a look at what other similar businesses are using by looking at industry-specific forums. You can then see if they’ve experienced any difficulties or had a particular software package or device that quickly became outdated.
There could be software solutions specific to your area of work. If you have an inspection business, for instance, you could create an inspection report for a client within this application. This could also offer you the option to streamline your marketing processes, develop customer relationships, and automate particular tasks that will save you time and money, such as scheduling, billing, and follow-up emails. Once you have more employees in your brand, you can then share this information with them as well.
Understand what skills you need and have
When you’re deciding on which technology you want to go with, you will need to have a good understanding of the effect it will have on your team once you adopt it. You will have to make sure that you know what skills you already have within your staff and what skills and support you need to find when putting a solution in place. It might be that you find the perfect item for your business, but it would require a significant investment for adoption and training that you might not be willing to make.
Another option is to partner with or hire people with the skills you need for a particular solution. If you’re considering this one, then you’ll need to decide if it’s more cost-effective to add employees or go for a third-party solution.
See what you can do now
There is a pressure for a start-up or small business to be at the forefront of new technology. While this can solve many problems, you will also need to realize that these are tools to help you get your work done more efficiently.
You should understand what your core objectives are, what points are getting in your way, and what the future will look like for your brand so you can choose the correct tools. So talk to your employees about what tasks take the most time to complete in your organization, and invite constructive criticism, being clear about how you’ll use the feedback.
Think about security
Make sure you invest in proper security software to protect your information from competitors and hackers. More data is being stored in the cloud, so check that the software applications you’re investing in have reputations for security.
Ask the correct questions when determining security options for your software. For example, see if it can encrypt stored data so it’s more difficult for hackers to access it, and find out what encryption is included in security software options. Asking such questions could save your company’s reputation for customer information security and increase long-term profits.