When you’re starting a new business, every penny counts. But as you’re selecting the technologies that you’ll be depending on to grow your company, a penny saved now could cost you a lot more in the long run.
Here are five common technology mistakes that startups make and how to avoid them:
1. Skimping on cybersecurity
Even if you don’t think you have enough data to worry about yet, a data breach can be devastating for a startup. A recent report from Accenture found that 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses, costing companies an average of $200,000.
Beyond having a firewall and antivirus software—which your internet provider may offer as part of its business plans—make sure to have other cybersecurity technologies in place, such as a password manager and virtual private network (VPN) that can shield your data while working off public WiFi networks.
2. Relying solely on a mobile phone
Your smartphone is probably an essential tool as you launch your new business. It keeps you constantly connected with the office and your customers while you’re running around trying to do everything yourself. At the same time, though, it severely limits your communication options because mobile phones don’t have the same functionality and reception quality as a business phone line. It can be harder to hear someone on a mobile phone than on a regular wired phone line.
“I was as guilty as anyone starting out, giving out my personal cell phone and home phone number,” says Trave Harmon, founder and CEO of Triton Technologies, an IT managed services provider in Worcester, Massachusetts. “But I learned very early on to get a standard business-class phone system.” The system lets Harmon add employees as needed and customize functions, such as call forwarding and voicemail, to ensure consistent customer service.
3. Not evaluating bandwidth needs carefully enough
Trying to build a business relying on a low-bandwidth internet connection—such as DSL, which typically provides speeds of only 50 Mbps or less—can be an expensive mistake. When choosing an internet service provider, don’t just think about what speed you need today, but also what you might need in the future. You want to make sure your provider offers plans that can scale with you.
For example, as you connect more devices and add more employees, you’ll likely need more bandwidth. And if you expect to use cloud-based services, work with large data and graphical files or stream video and use video conferencing, your bandwidth needs could be intense right off the bat.
Keep in mind: If your internet plan lacks the bandwidth you need, you could risk having slow service that drains your productivity and diminishes your customer experience.
4. Not getting a custom domain name
Having a website domain name and email address customized with your business name or something similar can give a startup the appearance of a more established business. And as your company grows, that domain will likely be central to your branding initiatives. Getting a custom domain name is inexpensive, and even free with some business internet plans. A custom domain “makes your company look incredibly good” and gives you credibility, Harmon says.
5. Not considering future technology needs and growth
As your company grows and acquires new customers or employees—and confronts new challenges—the technology solutions that will be the best fit may be different. So it’s important to think ahead about those potential future needs, or at least find solution providers that offer flexible options and the ability to scale up along with your business.
As a new business owner, you can’t afford to make too many mistakes. Make sure at least the technology you choose isn’t one of them.
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