When starting a business, you can’t afford too many mistakes. The technology you choose to spend money on can make—or break—your odds of success, so you’ll want to get it right.
“Without the right technology, a new business may struggle to operate efficiently, reach its target audience and stay competitive,” says Brenton Thomas, founder of Twibi, a Portland, Oregon-based digital marketing firm. “It’s essential for a new business to carefully consider its technology needs and invest in tools and resources that will enable it to succeed in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven business environment.”
So, how do you avoid common small business tech mistakes and set your business off on the right foot? Here are five best practices:
Create a technology plan.
Without a clear plan in place, it’s easy to overspend or underinvest in the right technology to support your new company, Thomas says. Here are five key steps he recommends when developing a tech plan for your new business:
- Identify your company’s current and future tech needs, including software, hardware and services.
- Set a budget.
- Research and compare technology options that provide the best value for your budget. (You can compare business software applications and their prices and read user reviews on sites like Capterra and G2.)
- Create a timeline for implementing and upgrading technology.
- Review and adjust your plan regularly.
Spend some time learning the types of technologies that businesses in your industry are investing in, as well as what tools businesses of your type or size are using overall.
There are plenty of free and affordable ways for business owners to stay up-to-date on business technology trends and tools, including following tech-focused publications (such as Spectrum Business Insights), attending webinars, or taking online courses through platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy.
Mind your cybersecurity.
Cyber attacks and data breaches are big, potentially very costly risks to small businesses—as cyber thieves often see those businesses as ripe targets. So it’s important for new business owners to focus on instilling strong security practices right as they’re starting their business, says Joshua Feinberg, CEO of SP Home Run, a business consulting and digital strategy firm in Boca Raton, Florida.
Beyond deploying the right cybersecurity tools, business owners should make sure to follow security best practices—such as keeping software updated with the latest versions, using password management tools that generate and store hard-to-crack passwords, and setting up multifactor authentication on all online accounts, he says.
Avoid the slowest internet plan.
Signing up for a lower-speed internet plan when you’re starting out may be tempting, but can be a big mistake. Especially if your business uses multiple internet-connected technologies and applications, you’ll want to have enough bandwidth and speed to support your tech usage without slowdowns or disruptions, says Shri Ganeshram, founder of San Francisco-based Awning, a real estate investing website.
“An inadequate internet plan can hinder your ability to communicate with clients and employees, and could ultimately cost you more in lost productivity,” he says. “Instead, invest in a reliable internet service provider that can meet the needs of your business.”
Instead, look for a plan that offers speeds of at least 300 megabits per second (Mbps), and possibly more if you use several technologies at once or have employees working at the same location. (Spectrum Business offers plans starting at 300 Mbps and up through gig-speed internet.)
As you adopt new applications and tools, consider the mobility of that technology. Can you use and access your data on mobile devices? How will mobile play into how you run your new business?
This should include making sure your business website is mobile-friendly, as about 60% of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices.
“Fewer people are accessing the web on big screens and everyone needs to tailor their site, message and content accordingly,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder of Mavens & Moguls, a marketing firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “You only get one chance to make a great first impression.”
Spectrum Business offers lightning-speed internet, business voice, business mobile, communication tools and other services that can support your business needs and goals—whether you’re just starting out or are well-established. To learn more, contact us at 855-299-9353.Print this article