Classic Tech Mistakes First-Time Entrepreneurs Make (And How To Avoid Them)
Anyone who is in the process of launching their own business will tell you that they don’t have a lot of spare time on their hands. It’s a constant hustle from the very first moment that you make that decision to turn your bright idea into a fully-fledged company. You’ll have been checking to make sure that there won’t be too much direct competition in the marketplace. You’ll have been talking to investors about why they should you with their hard-earned money.
And you’ll definitely have been keeping a close eye on the news, as the UK economy has been on what has felt like a never-ending nightmare rollercoaster of inflation. Bills have been going up, there have been supply chain disruptions and delays thanks to Brexit, and let’s not even get started on the property market. With so much to juggle, it’s easy for first-time entrepreneurs to make tech missteps that hinder efficiency, productivity, and security. Being aware of the most common tech pitfalls can help new business owners avoid falling into them.
Not Investing In Automation
Automating repetitive manual processes is one of the best ways for early-stage companies to work smarter with limited resources. Yet many don’t make it enough of a priority.
Tasks like data entry, customer service, reporting and more can be automated through chatbots, simple scripts, macros, and other tools. This frees up staff time for higher-value work.
The time and cost savings compound as the business grows. Start automating early to lay the foundations for efficiency.
Trying To Do It All With Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are invaluable, but attempting to run everything with Excel alone leads to chaos. Once businesses reach a certain scale, they need proper workflow systems.
Don’t wait until messy, dispersed spreadsheets create productivity bottlenecks. Introduce centralised systems for CRM, project and inventory management, HR and more when the needs emerge. Your staff will thank you!
Not Using Cloud Storage
Storing critical company data solely on local devices is just asking for disaster, isn’t it? Hardware failures, theft and accidents can instantly wipe out files. You don’t want to have weeks of work to be lost just because someone left their work bag on the train.
Cloud storage like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive ensures universal, secure access to essential data from anywhere. It also enables remote collaboration, which is absolutely crucial now that so many of us are working remotely. Cloud storage isn’t a luxury, it’s something that you can’t live without.
New businesses should make the cloud the default for storage, backup and sharing from day one.
Being Too Frugal With Software Spending
Trying to get by with the absolute bare minimum software to save money often backfires. Workarounds for missing features slow people down. You don’t want to be waiting for one of your team members to be frantically trying to google the best way to do something because they’re too scared to say that they’ve never had to do it without the relevant software before.
Smart software investment makes operations more efficient and people more productive. Of course, you don’t want to be spending recklessly on software that you’re never going to use. Do thorough cost-benefit analyses – the ROI on the right tools will justify the expense.
Not Having A Mobile Strategy
Assuming work will only be done from a desk is outdated thinking. Today’s workforce is mobile. Not enabling smartphone and tablet access to business systems hampers productivity.
Develop mobile apps, responsive web interfaces and cloud-based access to centralise company information and tools for on-the-go teams. Support “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies so that people can adapt easily.
Empowering mobility gives small companies an advantage in reaching, serving, and delighting customers. Don’t tie your team to their desks, let them achieve maximum productivity by taking their work with them where they need to be.
Cyberattacks can instantly cripple unprepared small businesses. It seemed like the 2020 pandemic opened the floodgates when it came to cybercrime, as everyone was forced to head online regardless of how well-prepared they were. Suddenly, we were seeing stories about everything from massive ransomware attacks on huge corporations to data breaches at healthcare institutions. Every company needs security essentials like firewalls, endpoint protection, access controls, VPNs for remote workers and backup solutions.
Provide cybersecurity training to employees. It’s not good enough to have shelled out a huge amount of cash on cybersecurity software only to have someone open a link when they shouldn’t have done, or not change their password. Have an incident response plan. Failing to prioritise cybersecurity puts customer data and company futures at risk, and your clients will demand it.
Trying To Do IT Yourself
While DIY scrappiness is admirable, first-time entrepreneurs can waste time and money trying to handle technology themselves. Know when to work with experienced IT/software providers.
They can objectively assess needs, implement best-in-class solutions, and manage technical projects end-to-end so you can focus on your core business. Don’t let IT become an obstacle due to stubborn self-reliance.
Ignoring Document Editing And Management Software
First-timers often underestimate the business impact of streamlining document processes with dedicated software tools. Reliance on basic Office suites decreases efficiency.
Tools tailored for documents like PDF editors, e-signature workflows, automated reporting and centralised online document management make work faster and less frustrating. It’s a basic step that can save you so much time and yet so many entrepreneurs decide that they can do just fine without it. But say you’re sending a huge number of PDF files back and forth for editing or approval. You need a PDF compressor that’s up to the task if you want to minimise lost time. Small PDF offers a compress PDF tool that won’t sacrifice quality. Visit their website to learn more about why so many prestigious businesses trust them with their files.
Not Maintaining Control Of Vendor Accounts
When adopting new software-as-a-service platforms, ensure company ownership and access aren’t isolated within one department or person. You don’t want to end up locked out.
Centralise credentials for core business applications. Create policies and procedures for managing accounts, security, and continuity during staff transitions.
Skimping On Training And Support
Deploying new technology tools without thorough training is a recipe for underutilisation and frustration. Employee adoption suffers without proper instruction.
Offer ample, ongoing training resources like videos, quick start guides, webinars and in-person walkthroughs tailored to different skill levels. Provide IT support channels for troubleshooting.
Not Considering Future Scalability
It’s easy for entrepreneurs to fixate on immediate needs. But it’s crucial to also evaluate how technology solutions will scale with rapid growth.
Short-sighted decisions can saddle you with expensive band-aid solutions as the business evolves. Ask vendors about capabilities to support increased users, locations, and workflows in the future.
Failing To Keep Up With Tech Advances
The fast pace of technology change means complacency will put your company behind the curve. Make continuing education and research into emerging tools part of your routines.
Attend tech conferences, read industry publications, take classes, and participate in peer groups to stay aware of relevant new solutions as they arise. Don’t let your company get stuck in the past due to inattention.
Avoiding common first-timer tech mistakes allows new businesses to build strong foundations for efficiency and innovation. Align technology strategy with long-term goals and growth plans. With the right strategic thinking and expert help, any small business can leverage technology to punch above its weight.