5 Technologies Where a Start-up Should Spend Money
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As a founder of a start-up (entrepreneur) or a freelancer, you are always mindful of optimal utilisation of the capital. You are extremely careful about the expenditures as it is a limited resource.
Therefore, there is a tendency to avail free services or tools as much as possible. And the money saved can be utilised either somewhere else or it can help you to sustain for an extended period.
Limiting the expenditure is not a bad idea, but it comes with its challenges and limitations. There are certain areas which are more important than others, and you should not shy away from spending some bucks for it.
But for today, let us focus on those areas that need right fit technologies, where it is worth spending some money. Following lists down top 5 tech space where a start-up should spend money:
1. Online Presence - Needless to say, that every start-up would need a website. And you should strictly avoid using free web hosting sites. Spend money in buying the domain name & space. If you are familiar with website design or DIY website platforms, you can save some money but make sure the site has the professional user experience. A web site is the online face of your start-up, and hence you shouldn't shy away from spending a few bucks if need be. Apart from having a good website, you should have the right email, web-meetings and social presence. While one can argue that all of these can be picked up for free or freemium, IMO it is worthwhile spending some money in buying the domain, space, email address, online conference & communication services, mobile platform (if need be) and digital marketing.
2. Accounting & Budget Management - As your work grows, it becomes essential to manage the inflow and outflow of revenue. You might be taking services from vendors, maintaining the inventory, issuing credits, taking credits (loans), issuing payments and possibly paying salaries. While, your core work maybe not so dull as managing P&L or maintaining the books, but you should not ignore this crucial aspect. Any mistakes in keeping the budget or accounts can put you in financial or even legal issues. Therefore, buying the right software to manage the accounts and budget is super important. Of course, there are free software's that can do the job for you at this point of time (the infancy stage), but as the business grows you may not be able to use all the features or will have some limitations.
3. Asset & Workflow Management - Whether the work you are offering is in the field of IT or not, invariably, you would be creating a digital footprint. It could be in the form of emails, documents, presentations, excels, raw files (created by software such as Tally or others), etc. And making sure that these assets are stored securely and safely is vital. Further, your work's workflow can be automated or can be streamlined if managed using the right software. It makes your daily activities run smooth and follows the process which will reward the work in the long run. Investing in these software's and processes is like insurance. You may never see the value unless something breaks.
4. Customer Servicing - No business or work can grow if your customers are unhappy. And for right customer servicing, you would need the help of proper tools and processes. Whether it is CRM or Support Emails or Social Platforms, technology can help a lot. Investing in the right CRM that can handle campaigns, bulk emails, reminders, notices, marketing reach or conducting surveys can play a differentiator role. With evident applicability of machine learning and artificial intelligence & chat-bots, customer service can become much more personalised and specific. Technology-aided customer services ensure timely address of the needs, instead of being reactive. Therefore, given this being the most sensitive aspect of the business it is worth spending some money in picking the right technology.
5. Original Software - It is the least significant. Instead, this is one of the most crucial aspects. While you may also not like your work or offering being copied or pirated, we should also not rely on pirated software's. You can save a lot of money in doing so, but is it worth? Not only the software's you are using can be unstable & has no guarantee/warranty but would possibly get no updates. Further, it is illegal to be using pirated software's. Why would you want to risk your brand for such cheap tricks? Use limited software's if need be, but make sure you use only the licensed ones. You would be risking all your work and information on pirated software's which can crash one day putting your entire business in jeopardy. And believe me, this is not a hypothetical "what if" scenario but it is a real one.
You can always plan the spend and increase the spend as work demands but stay mindful of the above technologies where if not from day one, you may have to spend eventually.
Also, you can pick the right software's that are freemium to start. And as your work grows and realises the need, you can subscribe/buy full edition by paying. Make sure that any technology tool you adopt should be available in the form of a mobile app. It will help in increasing your efficiency, servicing availability and productivity.
This way, you are not risking by putting a lot of money from day one but are doing only when the need arises. But, make sure that you pick the right software or technology that supports well when you grow and scale.