Starting a business with no knowledge of technology can put you in a vulnerable situation. Even if you have a clear plan regarding your business goals, you still need to be able to understand the technical aspect of things. Learning how technology works and effects your business, can be very important to the success of your business.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide a blueprint that will tell you exactly what tools or technology suits your purpose best without knowing what your business is about. However, I can provide you with some good thoughts on where to look, and what to look out for when setting up the technical aspect of your business.
One of the most important things to think about when starting a business is the website. I have discussed in previous articles how to move forward with this, so I will not discuss it this time.
Instead, I am going to assist you in making solid decisions around the overall technical infrastructure of your business. I will cover topics such as, what would be an acceptable viable approach for setting it up, and, or what do you will need to look out for when it is time to upon expanding it.
Building your business from scratch
If you are building your business from scratch, you are actually better off. If you don’t have software platforms or apps in place yet, you have the freedom to have a good look around at what tools are available to you. Then you will be able to find tools that truly suit your needs.
The secret is to find one, or a few anchor apps, and build your technological infrastructure around it. We live in the age of business automation.
There are several cloud-based tools and integration platforms available, which can help you tie your applications together. These integration platforms can orchestrate your applications, synchronize data between your applications, or cause actions in one application to trigger actions in another application you’re using.
Choose carefully and wisely, and you can even set up your own technological ecosystem. You can create yourself an environment that is open to scalability and growth from the very beginning.
Scaling your business
If you have been running your business for some time, you may realize you are in a desperate need to level your business processes and find new tools to complete the task. If this is your situation, the process will be somewhat different for you. You probably already use various apps, cloud services, and platforms in your day-to-day work.
Some of these apps may or may not work very well with each other, leaving you with a lot of manual work.
Then, the main question for you is:
“How can you make your existing apps and platforms more efficient, so that you can spend more time working on your business instead in your business?”
Taking stock of where you are today
Instead of adding additional apps to the mix in an effort to keep on top of your workload, look for issues you haven’t yet addressed. Look for places that will add efficiency, get the work done, and push your business forward.
Find someone who helps you think through your processes. The task is to identify the process steps that make up your internal business systems, and subsystems.
Whether you run your business solo or have a few employees, business automation will be extremely beneficial for you. The goal is to streamline your operations so that you can save money, increase your profits, and propel your business forward.
There are several approaches possible:
- Consider using fewer apps
- Consider switching to one, (or a few) anchor app(s) that will be the hub of your technological infrastructure
- If you have any employees, it’s best to tie them in from the beginning. Integration drives employee adaption, so it would be beneficial to make this a priority.
To be honest, this process change can be challenging for a small business. It requires good preparation, as well as a good organization to select and integrate the tools that suit you best. However, if you want your business to have bigger profits and more growth, this is the way to go.
Picking an Anchor App
I mentioned before that choosing an anchor app that you like, and works well is a promising strategy. The idea behind this is that the choice of an application that is able to integrate and communicate with countless other software tools, can be a lucrative asset in the interconnectivity of the new age.
An anchor app is a cloud-based application that can run a multitude of tasks, which you would otherwise need a number of applications for. It does come with a price, but usually the wide array of features and integrational options justifies the price.
To assist you in your search, I am introducing a few tools to you that may very well be suitable for serving you as an anchor app for your business.
Every business has different IT requirements. However, depending on what your business is about, one anchor may be all you need. More often than not, you’ll probably need to connect two or more into your technological infrastructure.
- A well-developed CRM, like SalesForce or close.io
- A well-developed marketing allrounder, like Infusionsoft, Ontraport or Drip
- Team communication tools, like: Asana or Slack
- Calendar apps, like: 10to8 or YouCanBookMe
- Intercom – a platform that integrates 4 products: life chat, marketing automation, customer feedback, customer support
- Harvest – tool for time tracking, invoicing, estimates & expenses
- Osmosis – a project collaboration tool, that lets you gather project requirements, create winning proposals and collaborate with your clients more effectively
- Freshbooks – tool for accounting, invoicing, time tracking, reporting, expenses and payments
In an upcoming article I will guide you through the process of finding the tools that can potentially help you with your specific business needs. I know it’s too easy to say that there is a tool for each demand, even though I am not totally sure that’s true. Either way, I will show you a few ways to help you identify what you are looking for, as well as what to be aware of in your decision process.