You have already got the idea, the business plan, you know how you want to make money and in what direction you want to develop? Wonderful! However, the real obstacles are still ahead of you. One of the greatest challenges you will have to face is the great deal of tasks to perform on a very tight budget and with only a few people at your disposal. In order to overcome such limited resources, think of some very good tools that will allow you to operate as quickly and effectively as possible from the very beginning, and will give you a chance to gain advantage over your competition.
But how to choose them when the number of programs and applications dedicated to companies can make your head spin? What makes your choice even more difficult is the fact that many of them seem to be useless, whereas the truth is that they hide an enormous potential to change the quality of the start-up life. There are also applications which, quite to the opposite, seem to be indispensable, but turn out to be an unnecessary addition over time.
The key to selection of proper technical tools is accurate definition of your needs. Despite some challenges and issues that differ depending on the industry, there is obviously a broad range of those shared by the majority of start-ups. Let’s have a closer look at those of them which can be facilitated by selection of proper IT tools.
Probably everybody will agree that the basis of good cooperation in a company is communication. It has a significant impact on the working environment, it translates into motivation to take action, effective cooperation and, thus, results of the entire team. Nowadays, the exchange of tasks, in addition to face-to-face meetings and telephone calls, is usually performed using a computer. Those who happen to dig through their inbox in search for a specific message know that e-mail is not the best solution for this purpose.
A useful tool that you should equip your employees with is a reliable messenger, providing not only a means of communication, but also a place for storage of all files, archives and information in one place. How to choose it? Certainly, this decision cannot be left to a chance since its replacement at a later date is connected with both extra costs and often great resistance of team members. The richness of functions (e.g. real-time conversion and option of sending multimedia files) and, at the same time, a simple and user-friendly form and intuitive use are the features you should consider. It is also beneficial if such a tool is integrated with tasks or projects around which the communication is built. With this, the context does not get lost and you can focus fully on the given task or project.
Back in the day, a calendar and telephone were sufficient tools for marketers. And now? You can hardly imagine management of customer relations without the right tool. Start-ups are no exception here. Of course, contrary to large corporations, they are not able to implement and use all possibilities offered by real sales “harvesters” the best CRM systems are. Nevertheless, they will certainly benefit from an intuitive software that has the most important CRM functionalities.
How can they benefit from it? They can sort and update contacts, check the status (e.g. date and form of last contact), facilitate planning of cross- or up-selling actions. Most of all, however, the software makes customer data available to many employees at the same time, and finding a particular telephone number will no longer be a problem. It would be ideal if such a tool could do more than allow you to view the contact list. E-mail or real-time communication has practically become out every-day reality, therefore the possibility to contact the customers or add them to the projects seems to be a perfect solution. It enables us to implement the project together with the customer, without worrying about reporting work progress.
The start-up reality, composed of projects implemented internally or together with customers, can be unpredictable. The course of events can suddenly turn upside down and the need to put out a fire is an almost everyday situation. How to manage this chaos? It is best to do it with technical solutions that automate certain processes and allow to control every single stage of project execution, ensuring that no element gets out of control.
Imagine that you have a tool at your disposal which enables you to divide a project into specific tasks and then, with a few clicks, assign persons from your team or outside it, whereas the completion date is recorded in your calendar. That’s not all. You are reminded about the approaching deadline with a special message. You can also easily view the project status. In a glance, you can see tasks that have been completed successfully, tasks in progress and tasks still in the to-do list. Convenient? These are only some examples of improvements made possible by new technologies.
Work time registration
The saying that time is money has a literal meaning in the world of business. Especially with a limited budget. For this reason, a tool measuring and recording time performance of specific tasks takes is a “must-have” in a start-up. What benefits can this bring?
The awareness of the fact that work time is monitored contributes to self-discipline, reduces the time spent on distractions, allows to focus on the specific task and, in effect, complete it faster. Higher efficiency, both yours and your employees’, is, however, not all. Registration of time needed for completion of particular tasks facilitates also management of the financial aspect of your start-up or given project. With this information, you can control the use of budget, verify the order profitability as well as plan the costs of new projects.
We all differ, also in the way we work. The same thing applies to work methods used in various companies. Some focus on a single task and do not start another one until the previous one is in the “Completed” column, others, in turn, prefer to work on multiple tasks at the same time and cannot imagine not completing a simple task suddenly added to the to-do list. A perfect tool for the former and the latter is one which allows everyone to choose their favourite way to report work time.
Remote team management
More and more start-ups are partially or fully composed of remote employees. Lack of territorial limitations allows to reach good specialists at affordable prices in any part of the world. In addition, you avoid costs connected with office rent and maintenance of infrastructure or provision of proper – often expensive – work tools. Everyone knows how significant it from the point of view of a start-up on a tight budget.
Despite numerous advantages arising from possessing a remote team, its management can be a real challenge. For this reason, introducing the right tool that will facilitate operation in such areas as communication, task assignment and control of their status, remote transfer and sharing of files or virtual meetings is definitely worth it. Cloud-based solutions have additional advantages. The speed, possibility to manage both the project and team from any place and any device with access to the Internet are functionalities that will be appreciated by any start-up.
Operating a start-up, although often associated only with good fun, is undoubtedly connected with hard work. Even if some may manage to face all the challenges and problems with just a planner and pen in their hand, is it worth making your life more difficult if new technologies offer ready solutions and most of them is at your fingertips? Therefore, since you know your needs and expectations already, it is high you built own toolbox.