Which technology is right for your start-up?
While your start-up can benefit immensely from technology, you need to ensure you use only the right technology to ensure positive growth, else it's just the opposite that you might end up dealing with.
A start-up is all about starting a business from scratch. And it is only natural you turn to technology to ride over many of the obstacles that you face when starting a business. However, while technology comes across almost as an inalienable part of your start-up, it also isn't the magic wand that can solve all of your problems at one go.
Rather, improper use of technology can end up creating more problems than it is intended to solve. You got to have a clear idea of the plethora of technological tools and solutions you have at your disposal and use only those that you are sure can be the fix to the challenges your start-up is facing.
Picking the right solution however isn't the easiest of tasks. That said, the following discourse can help you get started right away.
It is technology for your business, not the other way round:
It might be easy to get carried away with all that technology has to offer these days. However, that is not how you get started. Rather, you need to have your focus trained on your business at all times. Determine and isolate each of the challenges your business is facing. Thereafter, determine how technology can come to your rescue, and not how you can fit in technology to help ease your business issues.
The approach shouldn’t be like adopting technology to your business. Rather, the approach should be to introduce only those technological tools that should help you do with better efficiency what your business requires you to do. That way, your business is going to be much better off than the manual way of doing it. With the right tool on your side, you should be doing things faster and better, which again is the right recipe for business growth.
For instance, if your business requires you to sort piles of mailing addresses, a simple software that does that might be all that you need. There might be other more extravagant tools on offer though stick to only those that fit your need. This will also save you a lot, something that can be crucial for a start-up to survive and thrive.
A start-up is all about giving shape to an idea. That also means you start very small and have limited operations initially. However, depending on how you fare and what potential your start-up has, a business can grow exponentially when you do the right things at the right time.
Even if it is growing at a more modest rate, you need to be prepared to reap the benefits. That requires careful planning and introspection. For instance, when you are introducing a tech tool to help ease bottlenecks in the business, it would be prudent to invest in such solutions that you can scale according to the manner your business is growing. Else, you risk spending too much if you have to go for a new solution during each stage as your business grows.
Also, keep your business organised at all times so that you have at your fingertips how each section is performing. This way, you will have a clear idea of the right tool to opt for at the right stage for maximum optimization. However, you will need to plan well to ensure the technology that you go for will still be relevant as your business grows. This will minimise the otherwise more elaborate and likely costly solutions to adopt if you need a thorough revamp of your technological setup every time your business crosses a major milestone.
Understand if your employees are familiar with the technology:
Sometimes, the technology you need to implement in your start-up isn't familiar to the employees you have. If that be the case, there is some hard thinking for you to do. Like, you will have to decide whether it will be more time and cost effective to train your existing workforce to deal with the new technology or to hire new staff. The latter might save you time but is likely to add significantly to your long-term costs.
Yet another option would be to hire the services of those who are experts with the particular technology. For instance, you might go for Managed Service Providers or MSPs who will be taking care of your daily IT needs without you having to worry about its daily operations. Or you might go for Internet Service Providers who also provide managed services. You have to weigh in your options and decide which provides for the maximum benefit.
The size of your company could also be an important pointer of the sort of options you might consider. For instance, if your company has just about ten heads, hiring someone knowledgeable with the particular technology might be all that you need. In that case, the person will be there on hand till the time your employees pick the requisite skills with the technology.
However, if your venture is larger than that, with say, 50 or more employees on your rolls, maybe you should have a full-time technical person available to help your staff at all times. A third-party solution as elaborated above may also make sense.
The technology should be financially viable:
A certain technology might have a huge positive impact on your business, but it also risks leaving you drained of your financial resources. Decide if you can afford such a solution, else you will have to go for something less spectacular and more reasonable. With the latter scenario, you may get to see the positive impact a bit late or over a longer period of time, but you will also have more time to absorb the financial impact of the same.
The bottom-line here is to act according to your business model. Whether it is about delivering volumes where you will need a huge customer base to keep going. Then there are those that serve a niche segment and aren't concerned with the volume they have pushed through. Both the businesses have vastly different financial models they run on and it is extremely important any technology adopted is after careful deliberation of the likely impact it will have on the finances. After all, you are here to make profits, either over a long-term period or in the short term.
The technology should be secure too:
Data security is something that you can be the least complacent about. Whether it is your customer records or your own proprietary stuff, there is always someone online who will be after those; more so if such data has huge financial implications.
Also, chances are that you already have adequate safeguards in place to ensure complete and all-round protection of data. Any new technology that you decide to imbibe in your business should thoroughly comply with the security requirements that apply to your business. So, before you get ahead with the technology, access the impact it will have and whether it compromises the security requirements of your start-up. This is one area where there are almost zero margins for error.
In the end, what can be said is that incorporating new technology in your start-up should only be attempted after a thorough analysis of all the pros and cons it might come with. There are quite a few parameters that you need to be wary of, which includes the financial impact any new technology will have on your business, how that alter the long-term or short-term goals of your company, whether your employees are receptive to any new technology and so on.
While it's true technology can do wonders for your start-up, it is important you opt for the right technology, implement it at the right time and by the right people. Else, it could end up being a disaster as well.