Startup and small businesses have been the big winners as digital technology has advanced and become more accessible over the past ten to 20 years. The rapid rise of the internet marked the big change in terms of accessibility and communication, but that’s not to say the revolution is over. Technology is still on the move, and today’s startups have advantages that were unknown to their predecessors of even a few years before.
No startup business today is going to forego having an online presence. This is the case no matter what line you’re in, even if your core activity is in bricks-and-mortar retail or real world services such as plumbing or auto repair. At the very least, a website is a way to advertise your existence and for potential customers to track you down. If your budget won’t allow you to invest in a full whistles-and-bells website from day one, then a high-quality blog can serve much the same purpose with no design or hosting costs. Many providers have a variety of paid-for additional services that essentially allow you to upgrade to a proper website when the time is right.
Get on the cloud
Too much tech from the start can be a hindrance and a drain on a business’s resources, but the development of cloud computing has been a massive boon for startups and small businesses. This allows you to access service-based software without the need to invest in hardware and the latest programs, or worry about upgrades and maintenance. In theory, you can be running the same systems as a major multinational from day one. As well as leveling the playing field, the beauty of cloud-based software is that you only pay for the services that you need or that your budget allows. As your business grows, the software and storage space you pay for can expand with it.
The virtual office
For many startups, their office is their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Skype, Dropbox, and integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools all facilitate flexible working, which translates into lower running costs. As your business grows, you may want to invest in an internal telecommunications network such as the hosted PBX phone system offered by Primus. This uses cloud technology and low SIP costs to give you a dedicated private access network for both data and voice traffic, with unlimited channels and no restrictions on distance or number of users.
HR services such as payroll and tax can also be streamlined using a dedicated service or app – something that will be increasingly beneficial as your business grows.
A recent survey suggested that while 80% of customers use their phones to shop, less than 10% of small business websites are mobile compatible. Mobile compatibility also affects your search engine ranking, meaning you’re losing out in every way if you don’t make your website mobile friendly. At the same time, make sure your site is fully protected against cyberattacks as small businesses are often more vulnerable to hackers.
Social media, CRM solutions, cloud computing, and mobile technology are all tools that a startup can use to grow. Not only that but they are also an essential part of staying competitive in the modern world.