You have conceived your own business with the goal to solve someone’s problem, whether it’s helping them make their coffee faster, use an app to locate the best restaurant to their taste, or put on a pair of quality shoes for an upcoming meeting. Since every business is in the problem-solving business, you know the value of finding shortcuts that increase your productivity and the quality of your work on a daily basis.
Technology has proven to be the go-to solution time and time again for helping young entrepreneurs succeed in this competitive world. If you are wondering how you can improve your chances of success and cut your daily to-do short, save time and energy, and allocate your time better with techy gadgets and clever software, this can serve as your checklist of the top five to consider in your everyday practice.
1. Data analytics front and center
Every aspect of every business is based on data, and the interpretation of it, so the importance of filtering through the useless piles of information and selecting the few bits and pieces that make a difference can make or break your entire business. Wasting your time and funds to analyze the wrong pool of data can lead to poor business decisions, where you spend thousands on developing a social media profile on a platform where a minor portion of your target audience spends their time, and the like.
To understand and sift through the noise of online data that floods your business every day, you need to start using tools such as Google Analytics that give you clear insight into the success of your web presence, the rate of its growth and pointers as to where you should make adjustments to see improvements. You can also use various free social media analytics tools that are designed to give you an in-depth look into your social engagement and overall quality of social communication.
2. Freelancers and remote workers
What started out as a trend in the US has become a global phenomenon that is slowly crushing the traditional setup of office-bound businesses. No more nine-to-five workdays, no more cubicles and blank desks with monotonous dress-codes – we’re entering a brave new world where technology has allowed us to work from anywhere, anytime, and make the most of our efforts, to our own benefit, as well as that of our clients.
As a startup, you cannot afford excess expenses and spending money you don’t have on renting office spaces, or buying too much equipment. Tapping into an almost infinite source of freelance workforce and their fulltime remote counterparts lets you cut costs without cutting corners at the expense of your quality or your budget. Regular Skype meetings and apps such as Slack that let you stay in touch with your remote staff make it easier to transition to a company without an office.
3. Cutting-edge hardware matters
Whether you’re a one-(wo)man show or a team of dedicated geeks working on an incredible new idea for your startup, you cannot possibly start a company without quality equipment where you can do, save, exchange, and protect your brainchild. After all, Skype, Slack, Google Analytics, or any other software of your choice cannot work properly without a hardware basis.
The key item in your ensemble should be a lightweight, low-maintenance but resilient piece of machinery such as an HP laptop with all the right features such as durability, safety and versatility that will suit any niche and any environment. As an owner of a startup, you want the flexibility to work on the go, from home, or your office, and without fretting that your battery will die when you need it most, or that your system will crash without any apparent reason.
4. PM tools to the rescue
No matter your expertise or experience, if this is your first startup, you have no clue how complex it can become for one person to manage a multitude of projects without it affecting your productivity and the quality of the job done. Especially if you have the ambition to further grow your business and expand your client base, you need to make sure that your day-to-day tasks, assignments and your entire year’s schedule are in the safe hands of a PM tool.
In time, it will become impossible to assign tasks and projects manually or to keep going without a unified system in place, as the sheer volume of work, the number of clients and employees will become too overwhelming. A real-time project management tool is a life-saver especially for remote teams, and a simple way to keep track on all your ongoing work.
5. Back up your data properly
From your analytics data, monthly and annual reports, to your most sensitive customer data, you have to find a reliable, safe way to keep your information within your reach at all times. For startups, it’s essential to start somewhere, and then you can build up towards more complex and pricy solutions when your business reaches that size.
There are various options that let you carry your data with you, such as external hard drives of different memory capacities, which can vary in size, and are fairly simple to use for years on end. On the other hand, you can always go for a cloud-based storage solution (Google Drive and Dropbox come to mind), and double your data-saving efforts without making excess investments.
Emma Miller is a Sydney based writer with a degree in marketing. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at BizzMark Blog.