When you start a new business, you may not immediately consider investing in technology. An exception might be a tech startup founder who needs a lot of digital resources to get started. But for a mom and dad gift shop or coffee shop, technology might not be on the front page of your business plan.
This is a mistake, as the right investment in technology can make any new company launch and run smoothly.
Almost every business today is dependent on technology, from hardware that boots up instantly to software that manages internal processes. Below are four technical solutions that new business owners should consider a worthy investment.
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1. Solutions for project management
A business is made up of many moving parts, including projects and products that require control.
New companies, in particular, can survive an initial burst of activity that can quickly lead to chaos. That is, if you don’t have good coordination and a way to keep track of how different activities are progressing.
Because new businesses typically start small, it’s tempting to organize workflows and projects using email and spreadsheets. While these tools can work in a team of two, they are often not enough for large groups.
As your company adds team members, you need something more complex. AND project management solution will get things done as teams can use it to centralize communications, strategic roadmaps and results.
Project management apps also have the ability to synchronize tasks across cross-functional teams. A product manager can collaborate with developers, marketing creatives, and billing staff with one tool.
There is increased clarity about who is responsible for what, and all employees can recognize their share in ensuring a successful product launch. Project management software is a scalable asset that a company can continue to use as it grows.
2. Cyber Security Applications
Once your business is online, it becomes a potential target for cybercriminals.
Anyone with access to your network and any connected devices is a potential source of attack or hacking. This includes vendors that service everything from HVAC equipment to servers and point of sale systems.
Need for cyber security technology investment is not something a startup or new company can ignore. Data leaks and network intrusions happen to small companies at an alarming rate. Sixty-seven percent of small businesses were the target of an attack, and 58% were leaked.
Cybercriminals usually want to get their hands on sensitive data or use ransomware as a means of extortion. They can also use your network to access connected systems from a larger partner.
Installing cybersecurity solutions from the start helps protect a startup’s sensitive information, including intellectual property and customer data. Cyber security software prevents attacks, isolates malware, and alerts you to suspicious network activity.
Many of these solutions extend to every connected device, strengthening a company’s defenses against all types of attacks. These include employee personal devices and vendor equipment.
3. Payment processing platforms
Depending on what your company sells and how it operates, customers may pay you upfront or after the fact. Customers can also send payments in installments.
But the payment methods that customers choose can vary, and having flexible options can make a difference to potential customers. For example, a cash-only store will turn off people who prefer credit or debit cards.
Not being able to accept multiple payment methods can hinder sales. Customers may contact a competitor if they experience inconvenience or suspect that their payment will not be secure.
If you run an online store, security issues are one of the main reasons why people won’t checkout. Near 20% of buyers abandon their carts if they can’t trust the site with their payment information.
Payment processing platforms help companies offer more secure solutions to customers. Instead of just accepting credit cards, other options are possible, such as digital wallets or peer-to-peer payments.
For new companies offering services, payment processing platforms send invoices to customers via email. Customers can view statements and click a secure link to send payments. They can also choose their preferred method and receive automatic confirmation.
4. Customer Relationship Management Software
Customer relationship management software is one of the most important investments in technology for many reasons.
Almost every business interacts with potential customers before they become customers. But if reps don’t keep track of what brought those leads, they’ll have trouble converting them.
CRM applications help keep track of which prospects are qualified in sales or marketing. The team can also document messages and how leads respond to them.
Once you have customers in the database, CRM solutions give you the ability to segment or classify them. You can categorize customers by account type, product or service purchased, location, and so on. This can be useful if you want to send a marketing message to customers in a specific area.
In addition, CRM software comes with communication and outreach tools. These include email templates, automation options, and integration options with survey software.
Built-in analytics will also show you which customers or leads interact best with emails or other messages. Sales and marketing teams can use this data to further understand customer needs and target inactive mailing list subscribers.
Technologies for new enterprises
Technology investment decisions can seem overwhelming for new business owners. You may be thinking about other things, like hiring the right people and making sure you have enough cash flow.
However, technology often plays an important role in a company’s operations as it facilitates everything from customer service to finances. Choosing core technical tools like project management and CRM applications will help support your business goals for years to come.