Startups succeed or fail based on how quickly they can deliver industry-redefining innovations. It’s a cut-throat business, and a savvy CEO remains on the lookout for the next tech breakthrough which can give their company a needed edge.
Here are the current cutting-edge digital innovations which can bring your business to the next level.
Invest In Your Workers
If there’s anything 2020 taught us, it’s the critical importance of businesses being able to pivot their models quickly and efficiently. Companies that adapted to work from home survived; the ones which didn’t or couldn’t fail. And many workers who switched to working from home out of necessity now find they enjoy the freedom and flexibility.
Consider how much of your business’ work really needs to be done in an office, and explore work from home solutions. Allowing work from home ensures your company can attract top talent from anywhere and can be an appealing perk to workers. Furthermore, work from home allows you to keep costs down by allowing you to operate out of smaller spaces.
If your business doesn’t already use communication software, consider setting up a Slack or Microsoft Teams channel. You’ll also want to get a project management software such as Trello and collaboration tech like Google Drive or DropBox.
Invest In Your Data
To ensure your products get to the people who need them, you’ll need to understand the market. Sales data has become more sophisticated in recent years, with the Internet of Things profoundly transforming the type of customer data that businesses can collect. Imagine adding a sensor to your product which relays to your company a myriad of details about how your customers use your products. Knowing this data gives you an edge when deciding which new products to develop and how to market them.
The Internet of Things isn’t the only way to collect data. Consider investing in data collection and hire a firm, which uses surveys, customer observation, and other methods to understand who your customers really are and what they want. And don’t forget to invest in information security as well! All the data in the world won’t help you if a competitor or disgruntled employee can steal all your hard work.
Automate for Efficiency
The more you can streamline your business processes, the more time and money you’ll save. By turning your office into a smart office, you can increase productivity, security, and even employee satisfaction.
You don’t have to give your office the full overhaul, however. Consider individual business processes, like new hire onboarding or signing documents. Rather than onboard a new hire with a 1 on 1 discussion with your Human Resources department, what if you created onboarding materials yourself? Now your new hire can get comfortable at their own pace while your HR worker is freed up to complete his or her other tasks.
And when exchanging documents and contracts, consider investing in e-sign software, like eOriginal SmartSign or DocuSign. These programs automate the entire process. Workers, clients, and customers don’t need to print out, sign, scan, and return documents. Instead, they just use a securely encrypted key to attach a digital signature. Depending on how many agreements or contracts your business handles in a day, switching to digital signatures can free up valuable resources better used elsewhere.
Don’t forget payroll, either! While Excel macros can make processing payroll easier, you have more options. Look into investing in automated payroll software or outsourcing the process entirely. Automating prevents a human error from disrupting your pay schedule, and workers are always happy when their checks come correctly and on time.
Innovations and breakthroughs happen every day and change the business landscape in unforeseen ways. To ensure your business is ready to meet these challenges, don’t neglect paying attention to trends. While the standard advice of subscribing to magazines and attending conferences relevant to your industry still holds true, don’t forget social media.
Websites like Reddit or Twitter have millions of subscribers and are often the best places to go to learn what people are really saying in your industry. Subscribe to subreddits or hashtags relevant to your industry, and pay attention to the chatter. What you learn from these websites are often valuable insights into the state of your industry and where most people believe it’s headed.
In the end, the key to startup success is to stay flexible and responsive. Be willing to adapt, and invest in what really matters: your workers, your customer, and yourself.