There are very few businesses that can operate in today’s world without relying on IT. The IT tips for start-up business owners you need should enable your operations to function smoothly and accelerate your business growth.
However, IT is not always straightforward. And start-ups typically run into IT problems that can be time-consuming. It helps if you have IT professionals that can remove this burden for you without stretching your budget.
The IT technology tips our professionals in London offer are tailored towards your business needs and your budget. We appreciate that start-ups are typically strapped for cash and have to manage finances stringently.
Fortunately, there are a ton of cost-effective tools available – many of which are free or low-cost. What is important, however, is that you find the right combination of tools in order to avoid downtime.
This article offers IT tips for start-ups that enable you to be more productive by eliminating time-consuming tasks. It covers various IT technologies you should consider and strategies that enable you to enter the marketplace with a competitive advantage.
When entrepreneurs initially launch a new venture, IT risks are not usually at the forefront of their minds. Unless you’re well-versed in IT, you’re probably not aware of the issues you can encounter that harm your progress.
Risk management involves assessing your business objectives and defining which tools you will need. But IT tools can pose risks – such as vulnerabilities in the software that could provide gateways hackers can exploit.
But the most common risk is bugs in the software that cause your network to crash. Astonishingly, UK businesses lose £12.3 billion per year due to their IT systems crashing.
There are several reasons why an IT system might crash; human error, conflict between software programs and hardware/software failure. Or it could be that the software you have invested in doesn’t perform the function you need it to.
One of the first IT tips for start-ups our strategists recommend is to either use one piece of software (i.e Microsoft 365) or a selection of software that you know is compatible with your principle framework.
Devising a risk management document will enable you to identify potential risks and how you can react to them. The document should include assessing potential risks, how to mitigate risks and how you will respond if you experience downtime.
For more information about devising a risk management strategy, refer to our blog which explains how to create an effective disaster recovery plan.
Invest in Cloud-Productivity Tools
Cloud productivity tools are proving to be invaluable for businesses of all sizes. Our IT tips for start-up business owners have to include embracing the cloud because it’s the most cost-effective solution available and allows you to scale easily.
Cloud-based software is also central to the way people work today – or, the way people want to work. Since employees transitioned to remote working during the pandemic, most people adapted to the ‘new normal’ and want to continue working from home.
The capacity to offer remote working could also be crucial to hiring and retaining top talent. According to HR services, employees are actively seeking jobs that offer remote working – and they won’t accept jobs that do not offer the flexibility to work when they want, where they want.
Implementing cloud-based solutions facilitates document sharing, gives you ample storage space, enables teammates to collaborate easily, even from remote locations, and provides you with extra layers of security.
The cloud also makes managing projects easier for start-up business owners. If you’re out of the office for long periods of time to attend various meetings, cloud computing enables you to stay in touch with your team and organise workloads from your smartphone.
The ability to access documents and leave comments also means you don’t have to delay a project because you have to wait until you get back to the office before you can address a report, spreadsheet or presentation.
Implement Automation Tools
Every business gets bogged down with niggling administration or repetitive actions that can be time-consuming. They can also be extremely boring – and when employees are bored they concentrate less and are more likely to make errors.
Fortunately, automated software eliminates mundane day-to-day tasks that nobody wants to do. Subsequently, your staff is freed up to perform more important and engaging tasks rather than routine inputs that can be performed by a computer.
The type of automation you need largely depends on the nature of your business. However, automation can offer more benefits in addition to saving time.
Our IT tips for start-ups include installing automation software that also delivers analytics. With data on tap, you have greater visibility and improved forecasting that can enable you to make informed decisions with confidence.
For example, marketing automation tools can help you to generate high-quality leads and understand the needs of your target audience. With customer data and consumer behaviour insights, you marketing team is better equipped to build an audience, target campaigns and measure performance with more accuracy.
Accounting automation is another invaluable tool for start-ups, particularly if you don’t have the finances to take on an employee as a full-time member of your accounting team.
Don’t Ignore Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a growing concern for all types of businesses. Whilst many small businesses want to ignore cybersecurity, our IT tips for start-up business owners are to do as much as possible with a minimal budget.
We’ve previously written an article explaining that cybersecurity solutions do not have to be expensive. We recommend reading that to get some ideas of where to invest and where you can establish strong parameters without having to utilise any of your budgets.
At the same time, it is important to understand the risks – which you can discover in another of our articles that take an in-depth look at the impact of GDPR – which you can read here.
But essentially, all you need to know about GDPR is that businesses that fall victim to a data breach will receive a penalty of up to 2% of your annual income. But you also have to report the breach to affected parties – and that could damage your reputation and prevent you from growing.
Reports show that 60% of small businesses fold following a data breach. When you consider that 70% of consumers are put off using businesses that have suffered a data breach, it becomes clear why businesses have to close their doors.
In the digital world, every business has a responsibility to protect the sensitive data of their customers. And if you fail your customers, there’s a high risk of a mass exodus. The reasoning is simple; fail your customers and your business fails.
Fortunately, there are effective IT tips for start-ups that enables you to put solutions and strategies in place – without excessive overheads. The crux of cybersecurity solutions is to ensure your staff is aware of where threats can occur, how to identify them and how to prevent infecting your system with malware.
Cybersecurity is essentially a collection of security measures – many of which are already built-in to cloud-based solutions. For example, Microsoft 365 comes ready-made with a host of security tools.
All you need to do is ensure your cloud software solutions are configured correctly. Features include permissions that prevent unauthorised access and verification strategies including multi-factor authentication.
BYOD v Company-Owned Devices
With hybrid models and remote working possibilities becoming more prevalent, one of the IT tips start-up business owners should consider is whether to allow your employees to access your business network using personal devices or whether you will supply company-owned devices.
The BYOD versus company-owned devices dilemma largely concerns mobile devices. Whilst supplying desktop computers are the norm for most businesses, finances are stretched if you need to supply mobile devices as well.
Start-ups that do encourage remote working should also expect employees to access business data via their smartphones. Reading emails at home or on the way to work is how modern workers help to manage their time more efficiently.
The problem is that mobile devices are more susceptible to being hacked. Apps always develop vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. And if bad actors infiltrate the personal device of one of your employees, they are one step away from gaining access to your business network.
The cost factor will undoubtedly play a key part in the BOYD or company-owned device debate. If you simply can’t afford to purchase multiple devices for your employees, handing out company-owned devices is not an option.
Whilst BYOD is cost-effective, there is also more security risk. You also have to question whether your employees will perform updates on software once a new security patch is released. We can’t stress enough how important it is to update security patches – find out why in this article.
Furthermore, other apps on a personal phone or laptop can also interfere with the software you use for work. Conflicting applications can cause downtime that impedes the productivity of your employees.
You then have the tricky decision to make as to restrictions. How far are you prepared to deny employees the right to use their own devices how they want to in their free time?
There is a way to mitigate security risks and keep the cost of company-owned devices to a minimum. One option is to buy a budget phone employees can use for accessing emails and messaging.
The other option is a “stipend”. In this scenario, you offer to contribute a lump sum towards the cost of a personal device on the proviso that the user does not use it for activities that fall outside cybersecurity protocols
Consider a Cloud-based CRM
Start-ups need to be able to deliver to customers early in the production cycle. Digital-based businesses should consider investing in a cloud-based customer relationship management system.
Cloud CRMs have a minimal upfront investment which startups find attractive. These systems are a good option to reduce financial risk but give you a platform to scale as your business grows.
But the reason CRMs make our top five tips for start-up business owners is that they enable you to understand your customers. CRMs, therefore, can help you to make informed decisions about the marketplace and what your target audience is looking for in a brand.
For businesses to be successful, you have to understand the needs of your audience – and what drives their purchasing behaviour. Cloud-based CRMs can be configured to retrieve information that enables you to optimise sales and marketing processes.
CRMs centralise customer information and give you access to critical information across the sales cycle. Valuable data can help to provide a personalised service to your customers and determine how to follow up with prospects.
However, like any piece of software, Cloud CRMS are prone to functional issues and could clash with other apps you have installed on your business network. Knowing how to avoid these issues or having the expertise to fix issues rapidly is advantageous.
IT Professionals in London
Installing the best IT infrastructure for your business plays a significant role in how your business functions. If you do not have the right system in place, or the backup team to ensure it functions at optimal performance, the performance of your business will suffer as well.
Building the right IT network requires planning. And for start-up business owners that can be time-consuming and confusing. If you’re not knowledgeable about IT, it will be a waste of time. If you need help, contact IT support specialists in London to discuss your requirements.
Micro Pro has been servicing companies of all sizes in London for over 20 years. In that time, we have worked with a number of start-up companies and helped them grow into established firms.
The IT tips for start-up business owners that we have mentioned in this article are merely the tip of the iceberg and won’t be the solution for everyone. We work with clients on a one-to-one basis and tailor solutions that work for you. On strategies are based on your needs and your budget – but we always find the best solutions.