It’s no surprise that technology is influencing and changing the business world as we know it. All companies, regardless of industry, can benefit from the many developments in tech.
While many modern startups can fully operate on standard devices like a smartphone and a laptop, there’s a lot more to startup tech than just the equipment you use. Here’s everything you need to know.
Building a website
An online presence is crucial in today’s digital world. To many consumers, if you don’t have a website, you might as well not exist. They often take to the internet for researching products, reading business reviews and more.
To get started on creating your business website, you’ll want to follow these five steps:
- Choose a domain name that accurately represents your company. You can do some research on any major web hosting provider to make sure the URL you want isn’t already in use. In choosing your domain, also try to stick with a .com extension, keep it short and avoid hyphens.
- Choose a hosting provider or website builder like WordPress, Squarespace or an e-commerce platform.
- Set up a business email address to help separate your business from your personal life. Most people use: email@example.com.
- Choose a template for your website if you don’t have the means to hire a web designer. This will provide you the framework while still allowing you to customize your colors, images, fonts and more.
- Create your website pages, like Homepage, About Us, Products and Services, Blog and Contact. Focus mostly on your About and Contact pages, as they contain valuable information for your customers.
For more tips on building a business website, check out our how-to piece on the topic.
Measuring your success
You won’t know where you’re going right (or wrong) if you don’t track your website traffic. This is where Google Analytics comes into play. It tracks visitors, clicked links, the webpages that brought visitors to your site and the time visitors spent on each page. The feedback will help you make improvements and leverage already successful areas of your site.
To get started, you’ll need to create an account and register your business site. You’ll then be provided with a tracking ID, which will be installed on each page. From there, you can create goals for your site’s performance and monitor each, so you know how you might adapt in order to achieve them.
Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Check out our beginner’s guide to tracking website traffic.
Protecting your data
Data protection is critical for business survival. The days of filing cabinets have been replaced with digital, cloud-based storage, which, like all storage options, have benefits and risks. Take steps to identify your business’s unique needs, familiarize yourself with the different types of cloud storage — including costs, security and management, and make your decision.
Common types of cloud computing to consider include:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which are applications accessed via internet.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which can include networking hardware, servers, storage and a data center.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which allows customers to develop, run and manage applications.
For more insight, check out our small business guide to cloud backup and storage.
As the owners of a growing startup, you’ll want to invest in a phone system for your business. The three main types to consider include:
- Virtual telephone system, which routes calls through a main number to remote workers through their mobile devices.
- Landline, which runs over the wiring of your local or regional telephone company.
- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which is the most dominant platform today, running voice over the same network that carries your data. These could be hosted or on-premise.
When deciding which system is right for your business, you’ll want to consider usability, voicemail, conference calling, call forwarding, missed call notifications, caller ID, extension dialing, call transferring, toll-free calling, call routing and more.
For more information on integration, check out our guide to choosing a business phone system.
To accept payments for your business, you’ll want to invest in a point-of-sale (POS) system, which helps streamline transactions, connect various business functions and increase payment security. These systems consist of hardware and software that work in tandem to process payments, manage inventory, handle accounting and track employee activity.
Some POS system software and hardware options include:
- Mobile, which is one of the most common and is optimized to display on both smartphones and tablets.
- Terminal, which also contains inventory tracking, accounting and employee metrics.
- Self-service, which is used for solutions like grocery stores’ self-checkout kiosks.
- Tablets and smartphones, which make it easy to attach and run peripherals to read credit cards.
- POS terminals, which simplify the purchasing process for both ends.
- Printers, as many customers prefer having a physical receipt.
For more information on choosing and installing your POS system, check out our buying guide.
Cyberattacks are on the rise today, and small businesses are particularly vulnerable. Hackers often see small businesses as easy targets, so follow these tips to better protect your company:
- Securely back up your systems. Figure out what information needs protecting and find ways to regularly back up that data. Make sure they’re stored offline and tested regularly.
- Reinforce basic cybersecurity awareness and training with employees. Train employees to identify and report suspicious behavior to your IT department. Email is an especially popular platform for phishing and other attacks.
- Develop and exercise incident response plans. Know ahead of time what you’ll do and who you’ll call in case of an attack. Having a plan in place and sharing it with your team will help mitigate any further damage.
For more tips on protecting your business from cyberattacks, check out our article on what small businesses need to know.
Choosing an IT service provider for your business is an important task. This is not a role you’ll want to neglect or attempt to handle on your own. Outsourcing your IT efforts will ensure your business’s security and productivity.
A few common responsibilities of IT service providers include:
- Managed IT service.
- On-demand IT.
- Network setup.
- Network security.
- Database management.
- Cloud computing.
- Software support.
- Data storage.
- VoIP service.
- Computer repair.
When you’re searching for an IT company for your business, you’ll want to know exactly what your business needs, from security to software support. Figure out what your priorities are and find a provider that can meet your standards.
Once you find a few qualified candidates, ask them the following questions to gauge their fit:
- Who works at your company, and what are their qualifications?
- What kind of support do you offer?
- What is your track record?
- What services do you provide?
- What are your rates?
Their responses to these questions should help you determine the best choice for your business.
For more tips, check out our guide for choosing the right IT service provider.
In today’s high-tech world, running a startup with a limited budget can be intimidating. However, with these basic tech needs listed above, you’ll be able to both protect and support your business development without breaking the bank.