A new Mastercard report – ‘Striving to Thrive: The state of play for UK micro and small businesses’ from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), has highlighted a significant risk that the UK’s small and micro businesses could miss out on an estimated £827 billion growth opportunity over the next five years if they are not supported to digitise.
For your startup, the right technology can help you to manage your team properly, boost overall productivity, and ultimately get the most from every project, while saving time and money. Moreover, choosing the wrong tech stack could jeopardise your entire company’s success.
“How am I supposed to know which technology meets my business needs?”
Firstly, you need to make the distinction between the technology that can really help you grow your business and those cool emerging technologies that are more “nice to have” (especially for large corporations with more disposable budgets).
Here is what Sales for Startups recommend to the Seed to Series A startups we work with.
Find solutions for your individual pain points
The main purpose of technology is to help you to carry out tasks more efficiently and effectively. Talk to all members of your team and observe which tasks are performed successfully and which ones need to be improved.
Gain insights from customer feedback and find the gaps in their journey with you. Pay attention to competitor and industry trends but don’t solely focus on other businesses. This is about looking inward.
Identifying your company’s individual pain points can take some effort. While making assumptions is an easier way out, you need to know what your employees and customers are thinking to provide fitting solutions.
Understand the skills you have, and the ones you need
When we talk about skills we’re referring to both the skills of your team members and the skills of your existing tech stack. It can be more cost effective to implement new technology that can integrate with existing stacks when possible.
- Complete an employee performance review in order to identify skill gaps.
- Use this data to establish an employee strategy that incorporates training and development
- Commit to adapting and updating this strategy regularly as well as using it for recruiting.
This challenge is only growing as companies face increased competition for skilled workers in specific areas such as software development, cybersecurity and computer engineering.
Onboard and train your team
It’s human nature to be intimidated by new technologies and find the training quite daunting when we just want to get on with our roles. Prepare for some push back and expect a certain level of mistakes when implementing new technology into your startup.
Communicate with your employees to explain why you chose the technology, the benefits to them as individuals, as teams and company-wide. Explain how the new system works and which (if any) existing tech it replaces.
Most SaaS providers want to ensure you’re getting the most out of their technology and that it’s helping you to achieve your goals, so will probably offer support for onboarding but we would recommend you negotiate an ongoing training package and ask about access to their knowledge base.
Think about the future
While choosing the technology that supports your current pain points is important, you need to think about the longevity of your investment. Consider the impact of growth on your existing practices.
If employees are investing a lot of time managing repetitive tasks, how will this play out if you expand your operation or extend your customer reach?
Appoint a champion to be accountable when examining potential tech solutions with scalability in mind. Avoid blowing the budget on something overly sophisticated and currently unnecessary, it will likely be superseded by something better by the time you require it anyway.
Choosing the right technology for your startup requires you to have a clear understanding of your value proposition. You need to know your Plan A and Plan B budgets, complete a SWOT analysis and recognise your short and long term goals.
Ask your employees for opinions, consult specialists, trial tech solutions before you commit and go with ones that can support your startup’s growth.