We live in the age of the entrepreneur, where anyone can start up their own business as long as they have a great idea, an internet connection and a spirit of adventure. The online age has reduced barriers to entry and made new business startup costs negligible.
Of course, if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. The online world has brought us a wealth of opportunity, but the very technology that makes it possible to get a new business off the ground can also lead to its downfall. Every business needs an IT strategy, and according to research from Lloyds Bank, small businesses that have access to skilled IT support are 2.5 times more likely to increase their revenue.
Here are some points you need to keep in mind to ensure your new business thrives.
Fit the strategy to the business
Crafting a strategy that meets the demands of the business sounds like a no-brainer. Yet so many startups implement IT solutions in reaction to a specific problem, or to minimise spend. Your IT infrastructure is vitally important to your business’s survival so treat it that way from day one. You might be starting out as a lone individual working on a laptop from a coffee shop, but will your business always be that shape? Probably not, so have a strategy in mind now that will be able to evolve with the business, instead of trying to come up with something to react after the event.
Are you an IT person?
It’s not a trick question – many small businesses are IT based and the entrepreneurs at their hearts know the digital world inside out. However, even more are not. If you fall into the latter category, you might have a sinking feeling when you hear how important the IT infrastructure is. Relax, it is also important to have a roof over your head and a car parked outside, but you don’t have to be an architect or a mechanic. If IT is not your core skill, then choose a reputable company and outsource it.
Get the necessary communication tools in place
One of the most important functions of technology is to improve our ability to communicate with colleagues, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders. The G-suite of Google apps is a perfect example of what can be achieved with simple, low cost broadly accessible tools. If you will be working remotely from either your home or that famous coffee shop, you will spend large amounts of your day on calls, and chances are, others will not be wanting to listen in. Get the basic hardware, as well as software, in place – a decent set of wireless headphones could be the most important purchase you make.
Security is paramount
The new GDPR has put a spotlight on data security. The rules are neither complicated nor unreasonable, but one thing is certain – you cannot afford to ignore them or slip up. This is another advantage to outsourcing your IT function, as the partner you choose will already have the necessary expertise and the requisite controls in place.