Technology can help today’s startups do so many things, from communicating with team members around the world to delivering quality services to customers. But with more tech tools and platforms available today than ever before, making those decisions for a new startup can seem a bit overwhelming.
If you’re working on outfitting your startup with technology, here are some of the most important things to consider.
Essential Startup Tech
Choosing the right tech for your business starts with knowing what’s available. The list is long, and growing longer every day. But familiarizing yourself with the main startup tech categories can help you sort out the options.
When it comes to outfitting your startup with technology, you need to consider both your hardware and software purchases. For hardware, you may need desktops or laptops, mobile devices, printers, servers, wireless routers and external hard drives.
For software, cybersecurity is one of the most important areas for all startups to focus on. You’ll probably also need programs for team collaboration, document creation and sharing, bookkeeping and finance, data storage and marketing. Then, of course, all businesses need a website, which includes a mobile friendly or responsive design. You’ll need to invest in a domain, hosting service and a template or custom design. And most companies could also benefit from social media platforms or other similar sites that can help you build a cohesive online presence.
From there, certain types of businesses may also need to consider hardware and software that are more specific to their niche. For example, a retail business will likely need a POS system and tablets or similar devices to facilitate those purchases. An online software company may need a live chat software and demo hosting program to walk customers and potential customers through various processes.
How to Choose Small Business Technology
Having the right tech is more important to the success of your business than simply loading up on every new gadget or software program. Within the current popular tech categories are so many different choices. So how do you choose which ones are the best fit for your startup?
There’s a lot that goes into sorting through your startup tech options. But it all starts with evaluating your company’s specific needs. Look at where your pain points are. Do you need to cut back on repetitive tasks? Look for automation tools. Do you need to improve collaboration between members of a remote team? Find an intuitive project management solution. Want to make your business resources more accessible from anywhere? Opt for a cloud storage solution.
When you’ve determined what type of tech you need, it’s time to compare options. Look at demos, read reviews from other users and compare prices and features to find the specific option that works best for your company. There may be some trial and error involved in this process. And you’ll no doubt need to change up your tech throughout the years. But some due diligence can help you improve efficiency and effectiveness with your startup tech, and help you avoid unnecessary or irrelevant investments.
Keep Up With Tech Trends
Of course, technology is constantly evolving. So the essential startup tech of today won’t necessarily be relevant a few years from now. You might also simply outgrow certain types of tech, though you should usually try to choose tech that is able to scale with your business through your growth plan. And there are sure to be new advances that can also help your business, even if you continue using the hardware and software products you invested in initially.
That’s why it’s essential to keep up with startup tech trends. You don’t need to constantly purchase every new thing that comes along. But you should at least monitor the market fairly regularly. Read about new products and platforms, watch videos and keep an eye on reviews so you can determine which offerings are most relevant for your business.
Since technology can have a major impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of your business, it’s worthwhile to at least understand the major advances of the day. For example, you might not be ready to invest in a major AI program. But you should at least understand the capabilities of this type of tech and consider how it could benefit your business now or in the future. Perhaps you could even find features that integrate this type of tech in the programs you already use.
One of the toughest points in these discussions is when to upgrade. Often you can get by with that older computer or the free version of a software, but it’s costing you time/productivity. Knowing when to pull the trigger on an upgrade is important (the answer is usually “I wish I’d done this sooner” after it happens).
If you are intent on starting a service, you need to quickly build your MVP and get user feedback before you invest more time/energy/resources into the effort. The search for a technical co-founder might take some time and you need to be very careful before you decide to partner with someone. A CTO will need to have the skills to lead the evolution of your company’s technology stack if the business becomes successful.