An unlikely role model for start-ups is NASA. Since the mid 1960’s, their budget has been shrinking. In some respects, it’s beginning to behave like a start-up, causing the best and brightest minds in the country to apply their intellect to cost analysis in addition to engineering form and function. Space exploration is being accomplished with ordinary off-the-shelf parts and surprisingly, their frugal technological advancements have exceeded expectations (i.e. Mars Rover program). NASA has since developed a reputation for being both effective and lean. So, with that example placed firmly in the foreground of your mind, let’s explore some technologies that are likely candidates for your business.
1) Mobile Technologies:
Sure. Everyone has a smartphone but, not everyone appreciates what can be done with them (maybe because they’re still being called “phones”).
The pace of innovation in smartphone technology is stunning, and incorporates the intellectual property of a quarter million patents. At the same time, an untold number (likely in the millions) of mobile applications are being written by individuals with modest, if not humble resources. Collectively, it’s matured to a point where the ratio between cost and capability makes it a brilliant tool for start-ups. When combined with (often free) online tools and services, it literally gives you the ability to address your day-to-day business operations from a shirt pocket, whether that’s interacting with people, analyzing your social media metrics, or getting a tally on the day’s manufacturing production.
2) Computer Technology:
The smartphone’s big brother can do things that requires more computing power and data storage. It’s more secure, and in a nutshell, more appropriate for some business operations. Computer technology is also benefiting from a wealth of intellectual property, which makes its cost vs. capability attractive.
And, let’s not forget that computers and mobile devices are able to play nice together. From the perspective of internal communications, it gives you a base of operations with mobile satellite (sales rep.) capability. We can also imagine local applications used to share information over Google Hangouts, for example. Finally, we should appreciate the fact that both mobile devices and computers don’t need to be purchased outright. Leasing and trade-in options for computers and smart phones (respectively) are becoming commonplace.
With regard to your website, social media campaigns, data mining, bookkeeping, and so on, we can look at each situation and examine how software affects your day-to-day deliverables. Evaluate them, whether they be locally installed or cloud-based in terms of something that requires zero down-time.
The reputation of your business depends on how quickly you can get information to B2B partners and company representatives. Let that drive your questions for each application. For example, ”Will my application continue to function if the cloud-based part of my system crashes?”
4) Internal and external operations (services):
The business of delivering products and services demands the same attention as any child. Being pulled away from those aspects of the business, at least in the beginning, is a huge distraction. Nevertheless, they are critically important. The good news is that solutions can all be found in three general areas, and can fit into most budgets.
- Installed application/one-time purchase with subscription renewals
- Online tools (with or without a subscription or member log-in)
- Cloud-based services which can be integrated into your office systems
These services don’t always fit neatly into the category of “software”, since they are often integrated software and service solutions (as in cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) or customer service); however, the vast majority of these technologies are low-cost, high performing tools for your start-up. They have a direct impact on real-time communications and data management and are a must for anyone concerned with how they project their business to others.
How do you use technology to boost YOUR company’s reputation? We’d love to know! Share in the comments below.
-Hilary Smith [Entrepreneur & Guest Blogger]
Hilary Loren Smith is an entrepreneur and online business journalist. In addition to covering how far technology has altered business operations, she also covers business communications, globalization, VoIP, and virtual technology. Follow her on Twitter to see more of her writing!
Image Souce: ShutterStock.com
Image Source: ShutterStock.com