How To Gradually Infuse Tech In Your Non-tech Startup?
Technology is an enabler of growth and the inclusion of tech in such businesses is anything but natural
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Technology or "tech" has played an indelible role in driving economic growth in the 21st century. Today, businesses in all sectors rely on tech innovations and tech-driven platforms to be smarter and grow faster. Particularly in the startup ecosystem, tech has had a mind-boggling effect, expediting not only the growth of tech companies but also providing the needed impetus to non-tech companies.
Tech That Stimulates Growth In Non-Tech Companies
For non-tech companies, however, technology is not the core competence. Rather, it is an enabler of growth. Therefore, the inclusion of tech in such businesses is anything but natural.
Furthermore, in the early days of your startup, it is hard to figure out what your customer wants. In such a scenario, it can be difficult to pin down your tech requirements, let alone build a full-blown product. As a result, the best approach is to gradually infuse tech with a keen eye on the future.
The word "gradually" is key here. Premature and hurried decisions can cause a lot of pain, with poorly built tech being bigger turn-offs for your clients than no tech at all. In this article, we help you chart out a plan to get this right.
Infusing Tech In A Gradual Fashion
Introduction of technology in your startup depends a lot on the growth phase that it is in - the phase decides the number of resources (money, manpower) you have at disposal and also your understanding of your customer.
Let's analyze each phase and document the best course of action:
1. Before Commercialization OR Ideation Phase - Purely Marketing
Successful ventures often start with a basic tech plan even in the ideation phase. At this stage, this would mean building a purely informational website, running it manually, and utilizing it for marketing and generating public awareness.
Since there are no customers in this stage, it is a good time for you to document any potential customer interactions and creating a plan for future tech.
2. Initial phase - Laying a foundation
In this phase, customers are few and growth is slow, but money has started to flow in. Startups now try to figure out the basics of the business - how to acquire more customers, what is the main problem we are solving for them, etc., i.e. how to make more money.
Hence, your focus should be to give your customers all the information they want from you in the best manner possible - an informational website continues to be the preferred choice. However, now more content needs to be added to address frequently encountered customer questions. Further, bolster your potential customer's confidence in you by adding customer testimonials.
Internally, for better coordination, you should start using popular online collaboration tools such as GSuite (Google docs and worksheets), Slack, etc.
3. Growth Phase - Integrating technology
This phase sees a period of rapid growth. Your company has now figured out its market and also the best way to serve it. Needless to say, you will have to add new tech and make your website more dynamic to suit the evolving needs of your customers. Direct your efforts to reducing your customer's biggest pain in the sale process. Also, gather enough information about your potential customers, to dedicate your time to the right clientele.
Not all of this tech needs to be built from scratch - integrate sales & operations with powerful CRM packs. By doing this, you not only automate processes but also leverage customer and industry data, to bring in more business.
4. Scale Phase - Aligning with hyper-growth
Eventually, the company reaches a period of steep growth and operates at scale. At this stage, all remaining manual processes need to be automated.
To suit the specific use cases of your startup, you may also have to set up your own tech team to build customized tech products. This doesn't mean that you discontinue the usage of powerful CRMs that have already formed the backbone of your firm. Those can be integrated into your products to maximize their impact. However, you would want to reduce your dependence on such external products over a period of time.
Growing Your Tech The Right Way
Gradually incorporating tech has borne fruit for many new businesses across the world. A measured approach, coupled with consistent monitoring and open communication with employees and other stakeholders, is a guaranteed way to ensure success.