Startups are more popular than ever before. With more individuals embracing their entrepreneurial spirits, and with the benefits of next-gen technology, launching your own business is easier than ever before. Unfortunately, the increased accessibility has done little for the success rates of new businesses. With more than 50% of all small businesses closing their doors within the first four years, profitability is never guaranteed.
But there are some tools and utilities you can use to increase your odds of success, maximize your profitability and lead the life you want to live.
- Embrace Social Media
Consumers across the world are embracing social media for personal use. It makes it easy to stay in contact with friends and family members from nearly anywhere in the world – and it simplifies the process of making new acquaintances, too. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to realize social media’s usefulness when it comes to launching a new endeavor, promoting your business and attracting new customers.
Some sites, like LinkedIn, focus specifically on professional networks. Other sites, such as Facebook, make it easy to promote your brand through running contextual advertisements, posting embedded banners and creating new posts on a regular basis.
- Utilize the Cloud
The cloud isn’t just the latest tech buzzword – it has real benefits for those who embrace the platform sooner rather than later. Although this technology is still in its infancy, the cloud has already shown tremendous potential regarding enhanced network security, data accessibility and big data analysis. It was only a few years ago when the cloud was reserved for the most tech-savvy of users and IT officials, but it won’t be long before the cloud is commonplace in nearly every business around the globe.
- Create a Backup Protocol
According to a recent study, 58% of small businesses are not prepared for a sudden loss of data. Even more troubling is the fact that 60% of respondents indicated their business would probably be forced to close its doors within six months of suffering from a catastrophic data loss. When you consider that 140,000 hard drives fail on a weekly basis in the United States alone, you can see how our country’s small business landscape is facing dire straits.
To mitigate the chance of data loss and bolster your ability to succeed as a small business owner, make sure to implement a backup protocol right from the start. Not only does this reduce your risk of losing mission-critical data, but a long-term archival plan might be necessary to maintain compliance with industry regulations, standards or laws.
- Reinforce Customer Service with Automated Chatbots
Customer service is the lifeblood of nearly any organization in the 21st century. With consumers placing more emphasis on their personal satisfaction than ever before, small businesses need to focus on customer service to compete with the larger, more prominent brands.
Traditionally, customer service is a trouble spot for many new startups and small businesses. With a limited staff, some entrepreneurs simply don’t have the resources for a dedicated customer support team – but next-gen artificial intelligence is changing that with automated chatbots. Instead of connecting to a live human being, these systems are programmed to answer the most frequently asked questions. Some are virtually indistinguishable from their human counterparts.
- Establish an IT Department
Your startup budget is probably already pushed to its limits, but it’s a good idea to try and establish a dedicated IT department as quickly as possible. Even if it only consists of one staff member, your IT department can help safeguard your system from unauthorized access, correct any technical issues as they occur and make sure you stay ahead of your competition with any new breakthroughs or innovations.
Embracing Technology and Everything It Has to Offer
Modern technology is a boon to young entrepreneurs and startup enterprises. What once was a lengthy, complicated and involved process of launching a new business can now be completed within the span of the average workday. As a result, many young professionals are realizing their dreams and achieving financial freedom much faster than ever before – and they have the technology to thank.
Byline: Nathan is a writer, blogger, techie living in Pittsburgh. He loves staying up to date on all things business tech. You can find more from Nathan at his blog, Finding an Outlet or follow him on Twitter @nathansykestech.