Starting a business is often both exciting and stressful. Few new business owners know what to expect on their startup journey, which means they are often overwhelmed with all the aspects of running a successful operation. From accounting to marketing, from customer service to human resources – constant decisions need to be made. And in almost every area of the business, technology is a major consideration. In this blog post we take a look at some of the most common startup technology challenges.

Setting yourself up for success

For a startup, technology can be the one hurdle that stops you in your tracks even when you’re doing everything else well. You could have the best product on the internet, but if you’re not making it easy for people to buy it you could fail. You could have great staff, but without the right internal process systems they can become inefficient and frustrated. Let’s zoom in on some of the typical tech challenges for a new business, and how to address them.

  • Choosing the right operational tools
    The best way to prepare a startup for growth is to treat a small business like a large one. This starts with establishing and documenting the processes required to perform a service – from start to finish. Once you have this overview, you will be able to map out the technology functionality needed to perform all the tasks efficiently. This would typically entail project management, stock management and logistics, CRM systems and order processing tools, systems for approvals and authorisations, and more.
    While many businesses automatically turn to off-the-shelf solutions, it can often be much more cost-effective in the long run to develop a bespoke system that can be tailored to your unique needs and preferences.
  • Providing e-commerce
    Across the UK, many high street outlets are failing. Often this is blamed on the growth of online shopping and the convenience for the customer to order online, compare prices instantly and have their goods delivered. And while it can be challenging for a brick-and-mortar to compete with the online retail giants, the most successful retailers offer the option to buy their goods online as well as in store.
    However, e-commerce is not just for retail. For many organisations, online payment systems can simplify the customer experience and speed up the journey from order to delivery. Many services can be ‘productised’ and packaged into bundles for the user to select, order, and pay for in just a few clicks.
  • Building a digital offering
    Many startups provide a core offering that is all about technology; like software subscriptions, online services, mobile apps or virtual products. But whatever the digital offering is, there are a number of factors to consider. It’s crucial to build the solution in a way that is financially sustainable for the business. For instance, a new innovation may take shape over the course of several software versions, which could become very expensive as you re-invent your product. By instead choosing to work with an agile partner who can develop the solution over a course of a number of iterations, you get the chance to road test and approve features before committing to them.
  • Choosing hardware
    One major technology decision for startups is about the actual equipment to use in the organisation. What should you choose when it comes to laptops, desktop computers, phones, printers, and scanners? And should you even buy these items, or just lease them? There is obviously no one-size-fits-all answer, but they key is to map out what the needs of the organisation truly look like. For field workers, it might make sense to deploy heavy-duty mobile tablets rather than laptops. And instead of investing a large amount of money into a 3D-printer that may only be used occasionally, it could be worth sharing it with other businesses to make the cost more manageable.
    When it comes to hosting, most new startups choose cloud hosting over on-premise as it is overall more cost-effective to outsource the running, management, and security of servers.
  • Setting up IT security
    For any startup, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of all the latest potential cyber threats – unless that’s your area of specialism, of course. This is why many businesses choose to outsource their IT security, antivirus management and advisory services to a trusted external partner or consultant. It’s often a much better use of your time to focus on the core business instead of trying to solve security crises yourself.
    However, regardless of your approach to managing IT security, it is crucial to maintain a good level of internal awareness of security risks. Have a thorough IT security policy that outlines how employees should manage their devices, how often passwords should change, how to react to typical email scams, and more.

Making startup technology simple

Far from every startup is able to employ internal specialists to walk the business through its technology requirements. If the above technology challenges feel overwhelming, don’t ever hesitate to connect with suitable partners who can help you plan, address and implement the right technology in your business. It’s quite possibly the best investment you can make for your future success!