By Riaan Lombard - 06 May 2021
The pandemic produces new entrepreneurs daily with people facing retrenchment and company closures. This article is not a recipe for success, but it will share some ideas on technology aspects that you need to consider in your business plan. Don’t be discouraged by the dollar signs around it: the aim is grow it big.
Use existing systems - One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is to spend a lot of money on buying servers, laptops, networks, and other “google said this will boost my business” technology. Avoid the big bang approach and start by using hosted infrastructure to test your solution. These infrastructures are very cost effective as you can rent the server space and processing power. Another great advantage to these solutions is scalability allowing you to add more resources, or scale down on existing resources to meet your business needs.
Tip 2: Test and test again - Our dream is that we will have phones ringing off the hook on day one, with orders being placed to keep us busy for the next three months. The reality is that you might spend more time waiting for clients during the first couple of months than servicing clients. This is valuable time. Spend it wisely by testing your service or solution. Ask friends and family to make use of your systems whether it be online shopping, booking a service, or walking into your store and buying an item. The best outcome would be if they manage to break the system. Family and friends are much more forgiving than the general public. They will tell you if it doesn’t work.
Tip 3: Marketing is key - Use the power of the Internet to market your business. There are several free services available to get you started. A very important aspect in marketing is to know your audience. Selling motor vehicle insurance to a blind person would be missing the target completely. Facebook and Google have options to allow targeted marketing to audiences based on their online shopping portfolios, gender, age, geographic location, and interests. Use this technology to your advantage to ensure that you reach the right people.
Tip 4: Register the domain - We have seen this time and time again. Great ideas are turned into even better businesses under a name that belongs to someone else. Registering a domain to match your company name is a must. While you are at it, spend some money on email and a website linked to your domain. This will immediately add value and credibility to your organisation, and is something you could do yourself with a little bit of reading. A word of advice here is to use a paid service as free services often require shared advertising space on your website which might steer clients in a different direction. Paid solutions will also allow for advertising integrations.
Tip 5: Get to “know a guy” - One of the most valuable lessons learned from successful business owners is that you do not need to know how everything works. Instead of appointing a staff component of people (who will sit next to you for the first couple of months waiting for customers) to run the different departments in your business, get to know people who are experts in their respective fields and make use of them on a per hour bases. Share your business plan with them to make sure that all parties are on the same page as to what is expected. This will allow you to focus on the dream: your initial passion that was the driving force behind starting the business.